The existing models of religious instruction in the countries in the region continue to evoke opposing views, grounded first and foremost on arguments of principle character. There is a lack of comprehensive empirical researches which would clarify the dilemma on the effects and consequences of introducing religious instruction in the post socialist period. As a result, arguments on the validity of introducing religious instruction in the public schools are often based on randomly introduced half-truths.
Regardless of the fact that there is a large list of reasons given, there are two arguments which are main with respect to the legitimacy of introducing religious instruction into the public schools. The first reason being righteousness, and the thesis that religious instruction is not being introduced, but that it is being reintroduced into the public schools after it was forcefully eliminated following the Second World War. Secondly, the introduction of religious instruction is justified with the thesis that it is a fundamental human right and that the state should enable its fulfillment.
Both arguments can be relativized and invalidated. Religious instruction was not eliminated following the Second World War, but was in fact transferred out of the public schools into the jurisdiction of the church and religious communities, which continued to implement it. Aside from that, uncritical implementation of the principle of restitution overrides all other social factors and the incommensurability of the circumstances from the middle of the 20th century and four or more decades thereafter. With respect to the argument which is based on the obligation of the state to enable the effectuation of the right to religious instruction the disregarded fact is that there is no unified international standards when it comes to effectuating this aspect of the right to religion. Within the European milieu there are various models of religious instruction, and there also exist states which do not foresee religious instruction in the public schools.
The introduction of religious instruction in the region, first and foremost is a consequence of the strong social position of the dominant churches and an increasing presence of the repoliticization of religion. As a result, the introduction of religious instruction in the public schools in the region cannot be considered exclusively a human rights matter. It is necessary to consider this problem from the aspect of potential consequences which religious studies of confessional type can result in a transitional society.
In the former Yugoslavia, the religious feelings of the people have been political abused with continuous reminders of negative historical memories. The national identities have been built on dominant religious affiliations, and the strengthened religious remembrance contributed to the political homogenization of nations. Although it was in essence motivated by the creation of national states, the war had characteristics of a religious war. Instigation of religious intolerance in the actual war had as a consequence the creation of a great ethnical distance which continues to represent a serious conflict potential. Simultaneously, instead of affirming humane values at whose foundation lies the respect of human dignity and development of tolerance toward all differences, the dominant churches significantly facilitate the development of conservative and retrograde cultural identity which is often in discord with the modern concept of human rights. Those are after all key reasons why a confessional form of religious instruction is the wrong choice in a unconsolidated transitional society in which the conflict potential is founded on national and religious affiliation is still high. Religious instruction in a multi-confessional state cannot effectuate its positive mission if it divides children based on the religious beliefs of their parents. The formation of a religious identity and socia-lization of that type should in fact take place in an environment of religious diversity. Religious instruction must be of a non-confessional and cognitive character.
The lack of knowledge of the legal regulation of religious freedoms contributed to themarginalization of the State-Church Law as a scientific discipline following the Second World War. Hence the need for developing this scientific discipline and this edition of the Public Law Volumes provides a number of papers whose precise goal is to facilitate the increase in knowledge in this field.