A MAJORITY of Slovaks are dissatisfied with the relationship between church and state, the latest survey of the Institute of Sociology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) showed.

The survey, titled Democracy and Citizens in Slovakia 2014, showed that 31.4 percent of the respondents support total separation of church and state, while 26.24 percent want the state to support the church only in some areas of the public interest. Only 5.26 percent of respondents support the current model, the TASR newswire reported on August 11.

The results showed that the public perceives the relationship between church and state differently from religious and political representatives, said Miroslav Tížik, sociologist with SAV. The churches and the politicians, however, are aware of this and know that people are dissatisfied with the situation, he added.

Churches, according Tížik, want to keep the current model, as it is advantageous for them. Even politicians are not especially interested in changing it, since they cannot get any big support for it.

The survey also showed that 46.51 percent of respondents support imposing a church tax, while 27.52 percent were against it and 26 percent were undecided or did not answer the question, TASR reported.

Moreover, nearly 80 percent of respondents assume that the clergy should conduct only religious activities. More than half of the respondents support changes in teaching religion subjects in schools, with 13.4 percent supporting the abolishment of religious education, 20.84 percent wanting to keep the courses only at religious schools, and 19.34 percent supporting the lectures, but to a lesser extent.

The SAV survey also showed that more than one half of the respondents believe priests should be allowed to marry. About 33.6 percent absolutely support this, while 28.4 percent partially support the idea. More than half of the respondents also support a more favourable approach to contraception, and permission for divorced couples to re-marry in the church, TASR wrote.

On the other hand, only 14.4 percent of the respondents support the idea of women becoming priests, while 18.6 percent support it partially.

The survey was carried out in cooperation with the Institute of Political Science of the SAV and the Faculty of Philosophy of Comenius University in Bratislava. It was conducted by the Focus polling agency at the turn of May and June on 1,215 respondents, TASR reported.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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