Richard Traunmüller, Markus Freitag
State Support of Religion: Making or Breaking Faith-Based Social Capital?

Comparative Politics, 2011: 43, Heft 3 , S. 253-269
ISSN: 0010-4159

Two views on the impact of church-state relations on civil society draw competing conclusions. According to the first view, state support of religion encourages faith-based social capital by providing vital resources for religious organizations. In contrast, the competing view holds that state support of religion crowds out religious civic engagement, as responsibilities are transferred from citizens to the state. Based on a sample of twenty-four European countries and combining a wide range of church-state indicators with survey data, it is evident that state support of religion does not foster faith-based social capital. Rather, overwhelming evidence shows that government involvement in religion weakens religious membership, volunteering, and donations.