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Non-subventionnement public et principe de laïcité

With the introduction and constitutionalization of the principle of secularity within the contemporary legal order, the secular state finds itself faced with two imperatives : that of implementing religious freedom and that of equality between the faiths, which derives from the principle of neutrality. The constitutional principle of secularity thus refers at first glance to an equilibrium that is not in principle opposed to financial intervention by public authorities ; rather, it should, as appropriate, merge with it. Consequently, we find several interpretations in case law.

The decision by the Council of State of 15 February 2013 that “a ban on subsidising faiths, which cannot be compared to a cultural practice, has for over a century sought to guarantee - taking into account the history of the relationship between faiths and the French State - the neutrality of public persons with regard to faiths” (no. 347049). However, it should be noted that the Council of State had decided in March 2005 that “the constitutional principle of secularity which applies in French Polynesia and implies neutrality of the state and local authorities in the Republic and equal treatment for the different faiths, does not in itself forbid granting - in the public interest and under the conditions defined by law - certain subsidies for activities or equipment required by the faiths”. As for the Constitutional Council, it proposes a definition of the principle of secularity, from which it follows that the Republic does not recognize and pay the salaries of any faith... but it does not address the question of subsidies (21 Feb. 2013, no. 2012-297 QPC).

D 16 avril 2013    AAnne Fornerod

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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