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The concept of separation has been adopted in a number of countries, to varying degrees depending on the applicable legal structures and prevalent views toward the proper role of religion in society. A similar but typically stricter principle of laïcité has been applied in France and Turkey, while some socially secularized countries such as Norway, Denmark and the UK have maintained constitutional recognition of an official state religion. The concept parallels various other international social and political ideas, including secularism, disestablishment, religious liberty, and religious pluralism. Whitman (2009) observes that in many European countries, the state has, over the centuries, taken over the social roles of the church, leading to a generally secularized public sphere.
Ancient history is replete with examples of the mixing and melding of Church and state. Typically a successful ruler or king would assume various "priestly" titles, in addition to the "temporal" titles that such a position tended to confer. Some examples of this certain Church-state mixing and melding are: the execution of Socrates, whereby Socrates was sentenced to death by the Athenian state for among other things, "his disrespect for the gods", the claim of many of the ancient Judean kings to rule with a mandate from Heaven, or the Edict of Thessalonica, whereby Christianity was officially made the state religion of the Roman Empire.
One of the first important contributors to the discussion concerning the proper relationship between Church and state was St. Augustine, who in The City of God, Book XIX, Chapter 17, began an examination of the ideal relationship between the "earthly city" and the "city of God". In this work, Augustine posited that major points of overlap were to be found between the "earthly city" and the "city of God", especially as people need to live together and get along on earth. Thus Augustine held that it was the work of the "temporal city" to make it possible for a "heavenly city" to be established on earth.
For centuries, monarchs ruled by the idea of divine right. Sometimes this began to be used by a monarch to support the notion that the king ruled both his own kingdom and Church within its boundaries, a theory known as caesaropapism. On the other side was the Catholic doctrine that the Pope, as the Vicar of Christ on earth, should have the ultimate authority over the Church, and indirectly over the state. Moreover, throughout the Middle Ages the Pope claimed the right to depose the Catholic kings of Western Europe and tried to exercise it, sometimes successfully (see the investiture controversy, below), sometimes not, such as was the case with Henry VIII of England and Henry III of Navarre.
In the West, the issue of the separation of church and state during the medieval period centered on monarchs who ruled in the secular sphere but encroached on the Church's rule of the spiritual sphere. This unresolved contradiction in ultimate control of the Church led to power struggles and crises of leadership, notably in the Investiture Controversy, which was resolved in the Concordat of Worms in 1122. By this concordat, the Emperor renounced the right to invest ecclesiastics with ring and crosier, the symbols of their spiritual power, and guaranteed election by the canons of cathedral or abbey and free consecration.
At the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther articulated a doctrine of the two kingdoms. According to James Madison, perhaps one of the most important modern proponents of the separation of church and state, Luther's doctrine of the two kingdoms marked the beginning of the modern conception of separation of church and state.
In the 1530s Henry VIII, angered by the Catholic Church's refusal (Pope Clement VII) to annul his marriage with his wife Catherine of Aragon, decided to break with the Church and set himself as ruler of the new Church of England, the Anglican Church, ending the separation that had existed between Church and State in England.
In the United States, the term is an offshoot of the phrase, "wall of separation between church and state," as written in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. The original text reads: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." Jefferson reflected his frequent speaking theme that the government is not to interfere with religion. The phrase was quoted by the United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1947. The phrase "separation of church and state" itself does not appear in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The Supreme Court did not consider the question of how this applied to the states until 1947; when they did, in Everson v. Board of Education, the court determined that the first amendment applied to the states and that a law enabling reimbursement for busing to all schools (including parochial schools) was constitutional.
Prior to 1947, however, these provisions were not considered to apply at the state level;[dubious ] indeed in the 1870s and 1890s unsuccessful attempts were made to amend the constitution to accomplish this, but it was accomplished by judicial decision in 1947.[not in citation given]
The concept of separating church and state is often credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704). According to his principle of the social contract, Locke argued that the government lacked authority in the realm of individual conscience, as this was something rational people could not cede to the government for it or others to control. For Locke, this created a natural right in the liberty of conscience, which he argued must therefore remain protected from any government authority. These views on religious tolerance and the importance of individual conscience, along with his social contract, became particularly influential in the American colonies and the drafting of the United States Constitution.
The concept was implicit in the flight of Roger Williams from religious oppression in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to found the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations on the principle of state neutrality in matters of faith.
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
According to Frank Lambert, Professor of History at Purdue University, the assurances in Article 11 were "intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. President John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers."
Supporters of the separation of church and state argue that this treaty, which was ratified by the Senate, confirms that the government of the United States was specifically intended to be religiously neutral. The treaty was submitted by President Adams and unanimously ratified by the Senate.
The phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists from Danbury, Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper soon thereafter. In that letter, referencing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Jefferson writes:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
Another early user of the term was James Madison, the principal drafter of the United States Bill of Rights. In a 1789 debate in the House of Representatives regarding the draft of the First Amendment, the following was said:
August 15, 1789. Mr. [Peter] Sylvester [of New York] had some doubts...He feared it [the First Amendment] might be thought to have a tendency to abolish religion altogether...Mr. [Elbridge] Gerry [of Massachusetts] said it would read better if it was that "no religious doctrine shall be established by law."...Mr. [James] Madison [of Virginia] said he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that "Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law."...[T]he State[s]...seemed to entertain an opinion that under the clause of the Constitution...it enabled them [Congress] to make laws of such a nature as might...establish a national religion; to prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended...Mr. Madison thought if the word "National" was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen...He thought if the word "national" was introduced, it would point the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent.
Madison contended "Because if Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body." Several years later he wrote of "total separation of the church from the state." "Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States", Madison wrote, and he declared, "practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government is essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States." In a letter to Edward Livingston Madison further expanded, "We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt." This attitude is further reflected in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, originally authored by Jefferson and championed by Madison, and guaranteeing that no one may be compelled to finance any religion or denomination.
... no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
Under the United States Constitution, the treatment of religion by the government is broken into two clauses: the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. Both are discussed in regard to whether certain state actions would amount to an impermissible government establishment of religion.
The phrase was also mentioned in an eloquent letter written by President John Tyler on July 10, 1843. During the 1960 presidential campaign the potential influence of the Catholic Church on John F. Kennedy's presidency was raised. If elected, it would be the first time that a Catholic would occupy the highest office in the United States. John F. Kennedy, in his Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on 12 September 1960, addressed the question directly, saying,
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishoners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him. I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish—where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source—where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials—and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all. [...] I do not speak for my church on public matters—and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as President—on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject—I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise. But if the time should ever come—and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible—when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.
The United States Supreme Court has referenced the separation of church and state metaphor more than 25 times, though not always fully embracing the principle. In Reynolds, the Court denied the free exercise claims of Mormons in the Utah territory who claimed polygamy was an aspect of their religious freedom. The Court used the phrase again by Justice Hugo Black in 1947 in Everson. The term has been used and defended heavily by the Court, but is not unanimously held. In a minority opinion in Wallace v. Jaffree, Justice Rehnquist presented the view that the establishment clause was intended to protect local establishments of religion from federal interference. Rehnquist made numerous citations of cases that rebutted the idea of a total wall of separation between Church and State. A result of such reasoning was Supreme Court support for government payments to faith-based community projects. Justice Scalia has criticized the metaphor as a bulldozer removing religion from American public life.
Countries have varying degrees of separation between government and religious institutions. Since the 1780s a number of countries have set up explicit barriers between church and state. The degree of actual separation between government and religion or religious institutions varies widely. In some countries the two institutions remain heavily interconnected. There are new conflicts in the post-Communist world.[clarification needed]
The many variations on separation can be seen in some countries with high degrees of religious freedom and tolerance combined with strongly secular political cultures which have still maintained state churches or financial ties with certain religious organizations into the 21st century. In England, there is a constitutionally established state religion but other faiths are tolerated. The British monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and 26 bishops (Lords Spiritual) sit in the upper house of government, the House of Lords.
In other kingdoms, the head of government or head of state or other high-ranking official figures may be legally required to be a member of a given faith. Powers to appoint high-ranking members of the state churches are also often still vested in the worldly governments. These powers may be slightly anachronistic or superficial, however, and disguise the true level of religious freedom the nation possesses. In the case of Andorra there are two heads of state, neither of them native Andorrans. One is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Seu d'Urgell, a town located in Catalunya/Spain. He has the title of Episcopalian Coprince (the other Coprince being the French Head of State). Coprinces enjoy political power in terms of law ratification and constitutional court designation, among others.
The Constitution of Australia prevents the Commonwealth from establishing any religion or requiring a religious test for any office:—
The language is derived from the United States' constitution, but has been altered. Following the usual practice of the High Court, it has been interpreted far more narrowly than the equivalent US sections and no law has ever been struck down for contravening the section. Today, the Commonwealth Government provides broad-based funding to religious schools and also funds school chaplains for public and private schools. All Australian parliaments are opened with a Christian prayer, and the preamble to the Australian Constitution refers to a "humbl[e] rel[iance] on the blessing of Almighty God."
Although the Australian monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, also British monarch and Governor of the Church of England, her Australian title is unrelated to her religious office and she has no role in the Anglican Church of Australia. The prohibition against religious tests has allowed former Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Peter Hollingworth to be appointed Governor-General, the highest domestic constitutional officer; however, this was criticized.
Despite inclusion in the "States" chapter, Section 116 does not apply to states because of changes during drafting, and they are free to establish their own religions. Although no state has ever introduced a state church (NSW restricted religious groups during the early colonial period), the legal body corresponding to many religious organisations is established by state legislation. There have been two referenda to extend Section 116 to states, but both failed. In each case the changes were grouped with other changes and voters did not have the opportunity to expressly accept only one change. Most states permit broad exemptions to religious groups from anti-discrimination legislation; for example, the NSW act allowing same-sex couples to adopt permits religious adoption agencies to refuse them.
The current situation, described as a "principle of state neutrality" rather than "separation of church and state", has been criticised by both secularists and religious groups. On the one hand, secularists have argued that government neutrality to religions leads to a "flawed democrac[y]" or even a "pluralistic theocracy" as the government cannot be neutral towards the religion of people who do not have one. On the other hand, religious groups and others have been concerned that state governments are restricting them from exercising their religion by preventing them from criticising other groups and forcing them to do unconscionable acts.
Brazil was a colony of the Portuguese Empire from 1500 until the nation's independence from Portugal, in 1822, during which time Roman Catholicism was the official state religion. With the rise of the Empire of Brazil, although Catholicism retained its status as the official creed, subsidized by the state, other religions were allowed to flourish, as the 1824 Constitution secured religious freedom. The fall of the Empire, in 1889, gave way to a Republican regime, and a Constitution was enacted in 1891, which severed the ties between church and state; Republican ideologues such as Benjamin Constant and Ruy Barbosa were influenced by laïcité in France and the United States. The 1891 Constitutional separation of Church and State has been maintained ever since. The current Constitution of Brazil, in force since 1988, ensures the right to religious freedom, bans the establishment of state churches and any relationship of "dependence or alliance" of officials with religious leaders, except for "collaboration in the public interest, defined by law".
Laïcité, a particular product of French history and philosophy, was formalized in the 1905 law providing for the separation of church and state, that is, the separation of religion from political power. But the concept of removing religion to the private space as opposed to the public space of politics and the civil sphere is currently fiercely contested in France, driven, especially, by reactions to various manifestations of Islam, such as wearing the headscarf in schools.
The French version of separation is called laïcité. This model of a secularist state protects the religious institutions from some types of state interference, but with public religious expression also to some extent limited. This aims to protect the public power from the influences of religious institutions, especially in public office. Religious views which contain no idea of public responsibility, or which consider religious opinion irrelevant to politics, are less impinged upon by this type of secularization of public discourse.
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy has criticised "negative laicite" (as in Spain) and wants to develop a "positive laicite" that recognizes the contribution of faith to French culture, history and society, allows for faith in the public discourse and for government subsidies for faith-based groups. Sarkozy sees France's main religions as positive contributions to French society. He was elected on a platform proposing a modernisation of the Republic's century-old principle of laicite.[not in citation given] He visited the Pope in December 2007 and publicly acknowledged France's Christian roots, while highlighting the importance of freedom of thought, hinting that faith should come back into the public sphere.
Nevertheless, there are certain entanglements in France which include:
Turkey, whose population is overwhelmingly Muslim, is also considered to have practiced the laïcité school of secularism since 1928. Like laïcité in France, there are some notable entanglements in Turkey:
Shinto was closely associated with the state and the Emperor, especially during the time between the Meiji Restoration and the end of World War II. Under the American military occupation (1945–52) separation of religion and state became a major priority.
China, during the era of the Han Dynasty, had established Confucianism as the official state ideology over that of Legalism of the preceding Qin Dynasty over two millennium ago. In post-1949 modern-day China, owing to such historic experiences as the Taiping Rebellion, the Chinese Communist Party had no diplomatic relations with the Vatican for over half a century, and maintained separation of the church from state affairs, and although the Chinese government's methods are disputed by the Vatican, Pope Benedict[disambiguation needed] had accepted the ordination of a bishop who was pre-selected by the government for the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association in 2007, however a new ordination of a Catholic bishop in November 2010 according to BBC News, has threatened to "damage ties" between China and the Vatican.
The issue of the role of the Catholic Church in Mexico has been highly divisive since the 1820s. Its large land holdings were especially a point of contention. Mexico was guided toward what was proclaimed a separation of church and state by Benito Juárez who, in 1859, attempted to eliminate the role of the Roman Catholic Church in the nation by appropriating its land and prerogatives. In 1859 the Ley Lerdo was issued - purportedly separating church and state, but actually involving state intervention in Church matters by abolishing monastic orders, and nationalizing church property. In 1926, after several years of the revolutionary war and insecurity, President Plutarco Elias Calles, an atheist, enacted the Calles Law, which eradicated all the personal property of the churches, closed churches that were not registered with the State, and prohibited clerics from holding a public office. The law was unpopular; and several protesters from rural areas, fought against federal troops in what became known as the Cristero War. After the war's end in 1929, President Emilio Portes Gil upheld a previous truce where the law would remain enacted, but not enforced, in exchange for the hostilities to end. Ever since, the Catholic Church has remained active through the National Action Party (Mexico). The party gained a major foothold in 2000 when President Vicente Fox was elected, ending 70 years of unbroken rule from the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
In Norway, the King is also the leader of the state church, and the 12th article of the Constitution of Norway requires more than half of the members of the Norwegian Council of State to be members of the state church. Yet, the second article guarantees freedom of religion, while also stating that Evangelical Lutheranism is the official state religion.[not in citation given] On May 15. 2012 the Norwegian Parliament informed the public that they are going to abolish the state church when the new constitutional amendments are passed on May 21, 2012. This will officially separate the Church of Norway from the state, however little will change except more freedom to the church.
The German constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but there is not a complete separation of church and state in Germany. Officially recognized churches operate as Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts (corporations of public, as opposed to private law). For recognized religious communities, some taxes are collected by the state; this is at the request of the religious community and a fee is charged for the service. Religious instruction is a normal school subject in Germany. The German State understands itself as neutral in matters of religious beliefs, so no teacher can be forced to teach religion. But on the other hand, all who do teach religious instruction need an official permission by their religious community. The treaties with the Holy See are referred to as concordats. They are the legal framework for the cooperation of church and state in Germany.
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In Article 2 "Declaration of Principles and State Policies", Section VI, the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines repeats the phrase from the 1973 constitution, "The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable." In practise, the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines still exerts considerable influence on Filipino politics and public opinion. This arrangement is a vestige of the Spanish-era "frialocracy," a derisive local term referring to how Catholic clergymen once held varying degrees of temporal power and control over the secular economy. Recent examples of the Church's continued presence in public life are the 1986 People Power Revolution and the current debate over the Reproductive Health Bill.
In Spain , Commentators have posited that the form of church-state separation enacted in France in 1905 and found in the Spanish Constitution of 1931 are of a "hostile" variety, noting that the hostility of the state toward the church was a cause of the breakdown of democracy and the onset of the Spanish Civil War.
The Church of England (Anglican church) is still nominally an established church, and the British monarch is the titular head of the Anglican church, and cannot be a Catholic. They are unable to marry a Catholic as well, but there are proposals to change this. In England, Church appointments are Crown appointments, the Church carries out important state functions such as coronations, and a number of high Church officials have seats in the House of Lords (26 out of a total of 789 members), and are known as the Lords Spiritual as opposed to the Lords Temporal. The links between church and state in the UK are, nowadays, mostly a formality and the governance of the UK is relatively secular, although the Lords Spiritual have a significant influence when they vote as a bloc on certain issues, notably abortion and assisted dying. The Church of England however holds no jurisdiction in Scotland. The Church of Scotland is the largest religious denomination in Scotland, however, unlike the Church of England it is Presbyterian and separate from the state, with the Sovereign holding no formal role.
As there is no written constitution, there is no constitutional principle of freedom of religious exercise as there is in other countries, such as Germany and the United States. However, under various laws, such as the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010, religious groups are free to associate, worship, promote and publish their views alongside the established churches.
Beyond law and philosophy, some Christians refuse to vote, carry arms, or participate in civil government in any way, often leading to their persecution, as happened to Anabaptists, their descendants including the Amish and Mennonites, Quakers, and, in the 20th Century, Jehovah's Witnesses in many countries, believing by not participating they are closer to the Kingdom of God, since "Jesus answered (Pilate), 'My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight (to defend him).' " - John 18:36. For them, the term "Christian nation" cannot be a valid governmental position, leaving only Christian people, possibly in Christian communities, beyond which are the "things which are Caesar's" - Matthew 22:21.
According to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's understanding of Islam, Islamic principles state that the politics of government should be separate from the doctrine of religion. Special preference should not be given to a Muslim over a non-Muslim.
The Catholic Church teaches, in Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom, that all people are entitled to religious freedom and that such freedom should be recognized in constitutional law. While the Church teaches that church-state separation is permissible, it does not endorse a separation of religion and politics, as it is the position of the Church that the proper role for religion, and the Church in particular, to guide and inform consciences, thereby serving as check and balance to the power of the state. The Church teaches that the right of religious freedom (enshrined in the U.S.'s "free exercise clause") is doctrinal, while the question of the degree of separation of church from the state such as a prohibition on an established religion (enshrined in the U.S.'s "establishment clause") is variable, depending upon the history of a nation; hence it is acceptable and consistent with religious freedom for countries such as England, Malta, Costa Rica, and Denmark to have an established religion as long as they grant religious freedom to all:
If, under consideration of historical circumstances among peoples, special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional order of a society, it is necessary at the same time that the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom should be acknowledged and maintained. 
The Catholic Church takes views on political issues, and tries to influence legislation (affecting all the residents of a country, not just Catholics) on matters it considers relevant. for example, the Catholic bishops in the United States adopted a plan in the 1970s calling for efforts aimed at a constitutional amendment providing "protection for the unborn child to the maximum degree possible".
Scholars have distinguished between what can be called "friendly" and "hostile" separations of church and state. The friendly type limits the interference of the church in matters of the state but also limits the interference of the state in church matters. The hostile variety, by contrast, seeks to confine religion purely to the home or church and limits religious education, religious rites of passage and public displays of faith.
The hostile model of secularism arose with the French Revolution and is typified in the Mexican Revolution, its resulting Constitution and the Spanish Constitution of 1931. The hostile model exhibited during these events can be seen as approaching the type of political religion seen in totalitarian states.
The French separation of 1905 and the Spanish separation of 1931 have been characterized as the two most hostile of the twentieth century, although the current schemes in both countries are considered generally friendly. France's President Nicolas Sarkozy at the beginning of his term, however, considered the current scheme a "negative laicite" and wanted to develop a "positive laicite" more open to religion. The concerns of the state toward religion have been seen by some as one cause of the civil war in Spain and Mexico.
The French philosopher and Universal Declaration of Human Rights drafter Jacques Maritain noted the distinction between the models found in France and in the mid-twentieth century United States. He considered the US model of that time to be more amicable because it had both "sharp distinction and actual cooperation" between church and state, what he called "an historical treasure" and admonished the United States, "Please to God that you keep it carefully, and do not let your concept of separation veer round to the European one." Alexis de Tocqueville, another French observer tended to make the same distinction, “In the U.S., from the beginning, politics and religion were in accord, and they have not ceased to be so since." 
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