On paper, there is considerable religious freedom in Eastern Europe. Freedom to congregate for worship and to observe religious ritual is enshrined in most of the state constitutions of the region. Though there is a constitutional separation of Church and State, and dominance is conferred upon atheistic propaganda, religious belief per se is not outlawed. In practice, however, laity and clergy are strictly circumscribed by secular law. Seen through the prism of official Communist ideology, religion is essentially an atavistic pursuit doomed to irrelevance in an "advanced socialist" state. Religious leaders and religious institutions are, with varying degrees of success, subjugated to the Communist Party's "leading role" in society and politics.