A state religion
(also called an established religion
or official religion
) is a religious
body or creed
officially endorsed by the state
. A state with an official religion, while not secular
, is not necessarily a theocracy, a country whose rulers have both secular and spiritual authority. State religions are official or government-sanctioned establishments of a religion, but the state does not need be under the control of the religion (as in a theocracy) nor is the state-sanctioned religion necessarily under the control of the state.
Official religions have been known throughout human history
in almost all types of cultures, reaching into the Ancient Near East
and prehistory. The relation of religious cult
and the state was discussed by Varro
, under the term of theologia civilis
("civic theology"). The first state-sponsored Christian church
was the Armenian Apostolic Church
, established in 301 CE.
, as the term church
is typically applied to a Christian place of worship or organisations incorporating such ones, the term state church
is associated with Christianity as sanctioned by the government, historically the state church of the Roman Empire
in the last centuries of the Empire's existence, and is sometimes used to denote a specific modern national branch of Christianity. Closely related to state churches are ecclesiae
, which are similar but carry a more minor connotation.
In the Middle East
, many states with primarily Islamic population have Islam
as their state religion, though the degree of religious restrictions on the citizen's everyday life varies by country. Rulers
of Saudi Arabia use both secular and religious power, while Iran's secular presidents
are supposed to follow the decisions of religious authorities
since the revolution of 1979
. Turkey, which also has a primarily Muslim population, became a secular country after Atatürk's Reforms
, although unlike the Russian Revolution
of the same time period, it did not result in the adoption of state atheism
The degree to which an official national religion is imposed upon citizens by the state in contemporary society varies considerably; from high as in Saudi Arabia
to minimal or none at all as in Denmark
, and Greece
The degree and nature of state backing for denomination or creed designated as a state religion can vary. It can range from mere endorsement (with or without financial support) with freedom for other faiths to practice, to prohibiting any competing religious body from operating and to persecuting the followers of other sects. In Europe, competition between Catholic
denominations for state sponsorship in the 16th century evolved the principle Cuius regio, eius religio
(states follow the religion of the ruler) embodied in the text of the treaty that marked the Peace of Augsburg
, 1555. In England
, Henry VIII
broke with Rome in 1534, being declared the Supreme Head of the Church of England
the official religion of England continued to be "Catholicism without the Pope" until after his death in 1547,
while in Scotland
the Church of Scotland
opposed the religion of the ruler.
In some cases, an administrative region may sponsor and fund a set of religious denominations; such is the case in Alsace-Moselle
under its local law
, following the pre-1905 French concordatory legal system and patterns in Germany
In some communist states
, notably in North Korea
, the state sponsors religious organizations, and activities outside those state-sponsored religious organizations are met with various degrees of official disapproval. In these cases, state religions are widely seen as efforts by the state to prevent alternate sources of authority.
There is also a difference between a "state church" and the broader term of "state religion".
A "state church" is a state religion created by a state for use exclusively by that state.[clarification needed]
An example of a "state religion" that is not also a "state church" is Roman Catholicism
in Costa Rica, which was accepted as the state religion in the 1949 Constitution, despite the lack of a national church
. In the case of a "state church", the state has absolute control over the church,
but in the case of a "state religion", the church is ruled by an exterior body; in the case of Catholicism, the Vatican
has control over the church. In either case, the official state religion has some influence over the ruling of the state.
As of 2012, there are only five state churches left,[clarification needed]
as most countries that once featured state churches have separated the church from their government
Disestablishment is the process of repealing a church's status as an organ of the state. In a state where an established church is in place, those opposed to such a move may be described as antidisestablishmentarians
. This word is, however, most usually associated with the debate on the position of the Anglican churches in the British Isles
: the Church of Ireland
(disestablished in 1871
), the Church of England
(disestablished in 1920
), and the Church of England itself (which remains established in England).
Current state religions
Governments where Buddhism
, either a specific form of it, or Buddhism as a whole, has been established as an official religion:
- Bhutan: The Constitution defines Buddhism as the "spiritual heritage of Bhutan". The Constitution of Bhutan is based on Buddhist philosophy. It also mandates that the Druk Gyalpo (King) should appoint the Je Khenpo and Dratshang Lhentshog (The Commission for Monastic Affairs).
- Cambodia: The Constitution declared Buddhism as the official religion of the country. About 98% of the Cambodia's population is Buddhist.
- Sri Lanka: The constitution of Sri Lanka states under Chapter II, Article 9, "The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the high place in hierarchy and accordingly it shall be the duty of the Head of State and Head of Government to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana. It is regarded by the Supreme Court as having Buddhism as a state religion.
- Thailand: According to the Thai constitution the country's state religion is Buddhism, since the government supports and protects Buddhism as the majority religion practised by local Thais, in addition to providing financial support for the building Buddhist temples.
- Myanmar: Section 361 of the Constitution states that "The Union recognizes Buddhism as the state religion."
- Laos: According to the Lao Constitution, Buddhism is given special privilege in the country. The state respects and protects all the lawful activities of Buddhism.
In some countries, Buddhism is not recognized as a state religion, but holds special status:
- Mongolia: Government supports the re-emergence of Buddhism after 70 years of Communist Rule, as it is described as the traditional religion of the Mongols. Buddhist traditions are encouraged among the citizens. The Government contributed to the restoration of several Buddhist sites that are important religious, historical, and cultural centers. Ethnic Mongolian traditionalists declared that Buddhism is the "natural religion" of the country, followed by more than 93% of the population in various forms.
- Kalmykia is called the Buddhist Republic. Government supports the Buddhism and also encourages Buddhist teachings and traditions. Government builds various Buddhist temples and sites. Various efforts are taken by Government for revival the Buddhism
The following states recognize some form of Christianity
as their state or official religion or recognize a special status for it (by denomination):
Jurisdictions where Catholicism
has been established as a state or official religion:
Jurisdictions that give various degrees of recognition in their constitutions to Roman Catholicism without establishing it as the state religion:
- Argentina: Article 2 of the Constitution of Argentina explicitly states that the government supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic Faith, but the constitution does not establish a state religion. Before its 1994 amendment, the Constitution stated that the President of the Republic must be a Roman Catholic.
- East Timor: While the Constitution of East Timor enshrines the principles of freedom of religion and separation of church and state in Section 45 Comma 1, it also acknowledges "the participation of the Catholic Church in the process of national liberation" in its preamble (although this has no legal value).
- El Salvador: Although Article 3 of the Constitution of El Salvador states that "no restrictions shall be established that are based on differences of nationality, race, sex or religion", Article 26 states that the state recognizes the Catholic Church and gives it legal preference.
- Guatemala: The Constitution of Guatemala recognises the juridical personality of the Catholic Church. Other churches, cults, entities, and associations of religious character will obtain the recognition of their juridical personality in accordance with the rules of their institution.
- Italy: The Constitution of Italy does not establish a state religion, but recognizes the state and the Catholic Church as "independent and sovereign, each within its own sphere".
- Panama: The Constitution of Panama recognizes Catholicism as "the religion of the majority" of citizens but does not designate it as the official state religion.
- Paraguay: The Constitution of Paraguay recognizes the Catholic Church's role in the nation's historical and cultural formation.
- Peru: The Constitution of Peru recognizes the Catholic Church as an important element in the historical, cultural, and moral formation of Peru and lends it its cooperation.
- Spain: The Constitution of Spain of 1978 abolished Catholicism as the official state religion, while recognizing the role it plays in Spanish society.
: The Church of Greece
is recognized by the Greek Constitution as the prevailing religion in Greece
and is the only country in the world where Eastern Orthodoxy is clearly recognized as a state religion.
However, this provision does not give exclusivity of worship to the Church of Greece, while all other religions are recognized as equal and may be practised freely.
The jurisdictions below give various degrees of recognition in their constitutions to Eastern Orthodoxy
, but without establishing it as the state
The following states recognize some form of Protestantism
as their state or official religion:
- Scotland: Scotland The Church of Scotland is the national church of Scotland, but not the United Kingdom as a whole. Whilst it is the national church, it 'is not State controlled' and the monarch is not the 'supreme governor' as in the Church of England.
- Tuvalu: The Church of Tuvalu is the state religion, although in practice this merely entitles it to "the privilege of performing special services on major national events". The Constitution of Tuvalu guarantees freedom of religion, including the freedom to practice, the freedom to change religion, the right not to receive religious instruction at school or to attend religious ceremonies at school, and the right not to "take an oath or make an affirmation that is contrary to his religion or belief".
- Denmark: Section 4 of the Constitution of Denmark confirms the Church of Denmark as the established church.
- Finland: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has a special relationship with the Finnish state, its internal structure being described in a special law, the Church Act. The Church Act can be amended only by a decision of the synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and subsequent ratification by the Parliament of Finland. The Church Act is protected by the Constitution of Finland and the state cannot change the Church Act without changing the constitution. The church has the power to tax its members. The state collects these taxes for the church, for a fee. On the other hand, the church is required to give a burial place for everyone in its graveyards. The President of Finland also decides the themes for intercession days. The church does not consider itself a state church, as the Finnish state does not have the power to influence its internal workings or its theology, although it has a veto in those changes of the internal structure which require changing the Church Act. Neither does the Finnish state accord any precedence to Lutherans or the Lutheran faith in its own acts.
- Norway: The Church of Norway is described in the English version of the Norwegian Constitution as the "Established Church" in Article 16. The Norwegian translation uses the term folkekirke or "people's church" which is the same term used for the Church of Denmark in the Danish Constitution. Since 2017, the Church of Norway has been fully independent of any state control. Lutheranism is not deemed the 'state religion'. However, article 16 of the Constitution requires that the state support the Church of Norway and Article 4 requires that the Norwegian monarch be a member of it.
- Sweden: The Church of Sweden was the state church of Sweden between 1527 when king Gustav Vasa broke all ties with Rome and 2000 when the state officially became secular. Much like in Finland, it does have a special relation to the Swedish state unlike any other religious organizations. For example, there is a special law that regulates certain aspects of the church and the members of the royal family are required to belong to it in order to have a claim to the line of succession. A majority of the population still belongs to the church of Sweden.
- Iceland: The Constitution of Iceland confirms the Church of Iceland as the state church of Iceland.
- Armenia: The Armenian Apostolic Church has a constitutional agreement with the State: "The Republic of Armenia shall recognise the exclusive mission of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church, as a national church, in the spiritual life of the Armenian people, in the development of their national culture and preservation of their national identity."
- Dominican Republic: The constitution of the Dominican Republic specifies that there is no state church and provides for freedom of religion and belief. A concordat with the Vatican designates Catholicism as the official religion and extends special privileges to the Catholic Church not granted to other religious groups. These include the legal recognition of church law, use of public funds to underwrite some church expenses, and complete exoneration from customs duties.
- France: The local law in Alsace-Moselle accords official status to four religions in this specific region of France: Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism and Calvinism. The law is a remnant of the Napoleonic Concordat of 1801, which was abrogated in the rest of France by the law of 1905 on the separation of church and state. However, at the time, Alsace-Moselle had been annexed by Germany. The Concordat, therefore, remained in force in these areas, and it was not abrogated when France regained control of the region in 1918. Therefore, the separation of church and state, part of the French concept of Laïcité, does not apply in this region.
- Haiti: While Catholicism has not been the state religion since 1987, a 19th-century concordat with the Holy See continues to confer preferential treatment to the Catholic Church, in the form of stipends for clergy and financial support to churches and religious schools. The Catholic Church also retains the right to appoint certain amounts of clergy in Haiti without the government's consent.
- Hungary: The preamble to the Hungarian Constitution of 2011 describes Hungary as "part of Christian Europe" and acknowledges "the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood", while Article VII provides that "the State shall cooperate with the Churches for community goals." However, the constitution also guarantees freedom of religion and separation of church and state.
- Portugal: Although Church and State are formally separate, the Catholic Church in Portugal still receives certain privileges.
- Samoa: In June 2017, Parliament voted to amend the wording of Article 1 of the constitution, thereby making Christianity the state religion. The status of the religion had previously only been mentioned in the preamble, which Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi considered legally inadequate.
- Zambia: The preamble to the Zambian Constitution of 1991 declares Zambia to be "a Christian nation", while also guaranteeing freedom of religion.
- Afghanistan: Article 2 of the Afghan constitution: "The sacred religion of Islam is the religion of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan." Officially, Afghanistan has continuously been an Islamic state under various constitutions since at least 1987.
- Bangladesh: In the Constitution of Bangladesh, Islam is referred to twice in the introduction and Part I of the constitution. The document begins with the Islamic phrase بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ which in English is translated as “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful” and article (2A) declares that :"Islam is the state religion of the republic". Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has stated that Bangladesh will be governed in line with the spirit of the Constitution of Medina. However, Secularism is one of the four fundamental principles according to the original 1972 Constitution of Bangladesh and in 2010, Bangladesh Supreme Court have restored it, but it has upheld Islam as the state religion.
- Algeria: Article 2 of the Algerian Constitution of 2016: "Islam shall be the religion of the State."
- Bahrain: Article 2 of the Constitution of Bahrain: "The religion of the State is Islam."
- Brunei: Article 3 of the Constitution of Brunei: "The official religion of Brunei Darussalam shall be the Islamic Religion ..."
- Comoros: Preamble to the 2001 Constitution of the Comoros: "... to draw from Islam, the religion of the state ..."
- Djibouti: Article 1 of the Constitution of Djibouti: "Islam is the Religion of the State."
- Egypt: Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution of 2014: "Islam is the religion of the State".
- Iran: Article 12 of the Constitution of Iran: "The official religion of Iran is Islam and the Twelver Ja'farî school [in usul al-Dîn and fiqh], and this principle will remain eternally immutable." Islam has been Iran's state religion since 1501 dating back to the Safavid dynasty and has continued ever since, excluding the period of breaks in the Pahlavi dynasty.
- Iraq: Article 2 of the Constitution of Iraq: "Islam is the official religion of the State and is a foundation source of legislation ..."
- Jordan: Article 2 of the Constitution of Jordan: "Islam is the religion of the State and Arabic is its official language."
- Kuwait: Article 2 of the Constitution of Kuwait: "The religion of the State is Islam and Islamic Law shall be a main source of legislation."
- Libya: Article 1 of the Libyan interim Constitutional Declaration: "Islam is the Religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Shari'a)."
- Maldives: Article 10 of the Maldives's Constitution of 2008: "The religion of the State of the Maldives is Islam. Islam shall be the one of the bases of all the laws of the Maldives."
- Malaysia: Article 3 of the Constitution of Malaysia: "Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation."
- Mauritania: Article 5 of the Constitution of Mauritania: "Islam is the religion of the people and of the State."
- Morocco: Article 3 of the Constitution of Morocco: "Islam is the religion of the State, which guarantees to all the free exercise of beliefs [cultes]."
- Oman: Article 2 of the Constitution of Oman: "The religion of the State is Islam and Islamic Sharia is the basis for legislation."
- Pakistan: Article 2 of the Constitution of Pakistan: "Islam shall be the State religion of Pakistan."
- Palestine: Article 4 of the Basic Law of the State of Palestine: "Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Respect and sanctity of all other heavenly religions shall be maintained."
- Qatar: Article 1 of the Constitution of Qatar: "Qatar is an independent sovereign Arab State. Its religion is Islam and Shari'a law shall be a main source of its legislations."
- Saudi Arabia: Article 1 of the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic State. Its religion is Islam."
- Sahrawi Republic: Article 2 of Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic declares that Islam is the state religion and law origin.[circular reference]
- Somalia: Article 2 of the Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia: "Islam is the religion of the State."
- Tunisia: Article 1 and 6 of the Tunisian Constitution of 2014: "Tunisia is a free, independent, sovereign state; its religion is Islam (...) The state is the guardian of religion. It guarantees freedom of conscience and belief, the free exercise of religious practices and the neutrality of mosques and places of worship from all partisan instrumentalisation."
- Turkey: Turkey is a secular state, but sometimes Islam is de facto expressed as the religion of the state by the conservativeIslamist government of Justice and Development Party. For example, in a tweet of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Islam has been referred as "country's religion".
- Turkmenistan: The Constitution claims to uphold a secular system in which religious and state institutions are separate. However, in Turkmenistan, the state actively privileges a form of traditional Islam. The culture, including Islam, is a key facet, contributes to the Turkmen national identity. The state encourages the conceptualization of “Turkmen Islam,”.
- United Arab Emirates: Article 7 of the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates: "Islam shall be the official religion of the Union."
- Yemen: Article 2 of the Constitution of Yemen: "Islam is the religion of the state, and Arabic is its official language."
- Uzbekistan: Since independence, Islam has taken on an altogether new role in the nation-building process in Uzbekistan. The government affords Islam special status and declared it as a national heritage and a moral guideline.
- Tajikistan: Although there is a separation of religion from politics, certain aspects of law also privilege Islam. One such law declares "Islam to be a traditional religion of Tajikistan, with more rights and privileges given to Islamic organizations than to religious groups of non-Muslim origin".
Status of religion in Israel
is defined in several of its laws as a "Jewish and democratic state
" (medina yehudit ve-demokratit
). However, the term "Jewish
" is a polyseme
that can describe the Jewish people as either an ethnic or a religious group
. The debate about the meaning of the term "Jewish" and its legal and social applications is one of the most profound issues with which Israeli society deals. The problem of the status of religion in Israel, even though it is relevant to all religions, usually refers to the status of Judaism
in Israeli society. Thus, even though from a constitutional point of view Judaism is not the state religion in Israel, its status nevertheless determines relations between religion and state and the extent to which religion influences the political centre.
The State of Israel supports religious institutions, particularly Orthodox Jewish
ones, and recognizes the "religious communities" as carried over from those recognized under the British Mandate—in turn derived from the pre-1917 Ottoman system of millets
. These are Jewish and Christian (Eastern Orthodox
, Latin Catholic
, Syriac Catholic
, Greek Melkite
, and Syriac Orthodox
). The fact that the Muslim population was not defined as a religious community does not affect the rights of the Muslim community to practice their faith. At the end of the period covered by the 2009 U.S. International Religious Freedom Report, several of these denominations were pending official government recognition; however, the Government has allowed adherents of not officially recognized groups the freedom to practice. In 1961, legislation gave Muslim Shari'a courts exclusive jurisdiction in matters of personal status. Three additional religious communities have subsequently been recognized by Israeli law: the Druze
(prior under Islamic jurisdiction), the Evangelical Episcopal Church, and followers of the Baháʼí Faith
These groups have their own religious courts as official state courts for personal status matters (see millet system
The structure and goals of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel
are governed by Israeli law, but the law does not say explicitly that it is a state Rabbinate. However, outspoken Israeli secularists such as Shulamit Aloni
and Uri Avnery
have long maintained that it is that in practice. Non-recognition of other streams of Judaism such as Reform Judaism
and Conservative Judaism
is the cause of some controversy; rabbis belonging to these currents are not recognized as such by state institutions and marriages performed by them are not recognized as valid. As pointed out by Avnery and Aloni, the essential problem is that Israel carries on the top-down Ottoman millet
system, under which the government reserves the complete discretion of recognizing some religious groups and not recognizing others. As of 2015 marriage in Israel
provides no provision for civil marriage
, marriage between people of different religions, marriages by people who do not belong to one of nine recognised religious communities, or same-sex marriages
, although there is recognition of marriages performed abroad.
has promulgated Juche
as a political alternative to traditional religion. The doctrine advocates a strong nationalist propaganda basis and it is fundamentally opposed to Christianity
, the two largest religions on the Korean peninsula. Juche
theoreticians have, however, incorporated religious ideas into the state ideology. According to government figures, Juche
is the largest political religion in North Korea
. The public practice of all other religions is overseen and subject to heavy surveillance by the state.
- China: The government of China officially espouses state atheism, and officially recognizes only five religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. Despite limitations on certain forms of religious expression and assembly, religion is not banned, and religious freedom is nominally protected under the Chinese constitution. Among the general Chinese population, there are a wide variety of religious practices. The Chinese government's attitude to religion is one of skepticism and non-promotion.
- Indonesia does not declare or designate a state religion. However, the government only recognizes six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. The Constitution of Indonesia guarantees freedom of religion and the practice of other religions and beliefs, including the animistic indigenous ones, is not prohibited by any laws. Indonesians who are practicing traditional polytheistic and animists as well as Sikhs and Jains are often counted as "Hindu" for governmental purposes.Atheism, although not prosecuted, is discouraged by the state ideology of Pancasila. In addition, the province of Aceh receives a special status and a higher degree of autonomy, in which it may enact laws (qanuns) based on the Sharia and enforce it, especially to its Muslim residents.
- Lebanon: There are 18 officially recognized religious groups in Lebanon, each with its own family law legislation and set of religious courts. Under the terms of an agreement known as the National Pact between the various political and religious leaders of Lebanon, the president of the country must be a Maronite, the Prime Minister must be a Sunni, and the Speaker of Parliament must be a Shia.
- Luxembourg is a secular state, but the Grand Duchy recognises and supports several denominations, including the Catholic Church, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Anglican and some Protestant denominations as well as to Jewish congregations.
- Nepal: While there are no countries where Hinduism is officially declared state religion after the fall of the Nepalese monarchy in 2006, the constitution of Nepal affords some special rights to Hindu practice. In the constitution, the republic of Nepal is officially defined as a secular nation but secularism is defined as "protection of age old religion and culture" which in Nepali translates to Sanātana Dharma or Hinduism. Further pro-Hindu laws exist such as national ban on cow slaughter and laws prohibiting proselytization.
- Russia: Though a secular state under the constitution, Russia is often said to have Russian Orthodoxy as the de facto national religion, despite other minorities: "The Russian Orthodox Church is de facto privileged religion of the state, claiming the right to decide which other religions or denominations are to be granted the right of registration".
- Singapore is officially a secular country and does not have a state religion, and has been named in one study as the "most religiously diverse nation in the world", with no religious group forming a majority. However, the government gives official recognition to ten different religions, namely Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, Sikhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism and the Baháʼí Faith, and Singapore's penal code explicitly prohibits "wounding religious feelings". The Jehovah's Witnesses and Unification Church are also banned in Singapore, as the government deems them to be a threat to national security.
- Switzerland is officially secular at the federal level but 24 of the 26 cantons support both the Swiss Reformed Church and the Roman Catholic Church in various ways.
- Turkey is officially secular according to its constitution; in practice there is a close connection between state and Sunni Islam. The Directorate of Religious Affairs, an official state institution directly subjected to the president of the republic, exercises state oversight over religious affairs and is responsible for all administration of the Sunni institutions.
- Vietnam is officially atheist (although sometimes also referred as atheist-Buddhist), but recognizes only 38 religious organization and one dharma practice.
Former state religions
Egypt and Sumer
The concept of state religions was known as long ago as the empires of Egypt and Sumer
, when every city state or people had its own god or gods. Many of the early Sumerian rulers were priests of their patron city god. Some of the earliest semi-mythological kings may have passed into the pantheon, like Dumuzid
, and some later kings came to be viewed as divine soon after their reigns, like Sargon the Great
. One of the first rulers to be proclaimed a god during his actual reign was Gudea
, followed by some later kings of Ur
, such as Shulgi
. Often, the state religion was integral to the power base of the reigning government, such as in Egypt, where Pharaohs were often thought of as embodiments of the god Horus.
Many of the Greek city-states also had a favored national god
or goddess associated with that city. This would not be its only god or goddess, but the one that received special honors. In ancient Greece, the cities of
Roman religion and Christianity
In Rome, the office of Pontifex Maximus
came to be reserved for the Emperor, who was occasionally declared a god
posthumously, or sometimes during his reign. Failure to worship the Emperor as a god was at times punishable by death, as the Roman government sought to link emperor worship with loyalty to the Empire. Many Christians and Jews were subject to persecution, torture and death in the Roman Empire because it was against their beliefs to worship the Emperor.
In 311, Emperor Galerius
, on his deathbed, declared a religious indulgence to Christians throughout the Roman Empire, focusing on the ending of anti-Christian persecution. Constantine I
, the two Augusti
, by the Edict of Milan
of 313, enacted a law allowing religious freedom to everyone within the Roman Empire. Furthermore, the Edict of Milan cited that Christians may openly practice their religion unmolested and unrestricted, and provided that properties taken from Christians be returned to them unconditionally. Although the Edict of Milan allowed religious freedom throughout the Empire, it did not abolish nor disestablish the Roman state cult (Roman polytheistic paganism). The Edict of Milan was written in such a way as to implore the blessings of the deity.
Constantine called up the First Council of Nicaea
in 325, although he was not a baptised Christian until years later. Despite enjoying considerable popular support, Christianity was still not the official state religion in Rome, although it was in some neighbouring states such as Armenia
, and Aksum
Han dynasty Confucianism
In China, the Han dynasty
(206 BCE – 220 CE) advocated Confucianism
as the de facto
state religion, establishing tests based on Confucian texts as an entrance requirement into government service—although, in fact, the "Confucianism" advocated by the Han emperors may be more properly termed a sort of Confucian Legalism
or "State Confucianism". This sort of Confucianism continued to be regarded by the emperors, with a few notable exceptions, as a form of state religion from this time until the collapse
of the Chinese monarchy
in 1912. Note, however, there is a debate over whether Confucianism (including Neo-Confucianism
) is a religion or purely a philosophical system.
Yuan dynasty Buddhism
Golden Horde and Ilkhanate
were once the dominant religions among the ruling class of the Mongol khanates of Golden Horde
, the two western khanates of the Mongol Empire
. In the early days, the rulers of both khanates increasingly adopted Tibetan Buddhism
, similar to the Yuan dynasty
at that time. However, the Mongol rulers Ghazan
of Ilkhanate and Uzbeg
of Golden Horde converted to Islam
in 1295 CE because of the Muslim Mongol emir Nawruz
and in 1313 CE because of Sufi Bukharan sayyid
and sheikh Ibn Abdul Hamid
respectively. Their official favoring of Islam as the state religion coincided with a marked attempt to bring the regime closer to the non-Mongol majority of the regions they ruled. In Ilkhanate, Christian
subjects lost their equal status with Muslims and again had to pay the poll tax; Buddhists
had the starker choice of conversion or expulsion.
In Golden Horde, Buddhism and Shamanism among the Mongols were proscribed, and by 1315, Uzbeg had successfully Islamicized the Horde, killing Jochid princes and Buddhist lamas
who opposed his religious policy and succession of the throne.
Former state churches in British North America
- The colonies of Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, New Haven, and New Hampshire were founded by Puritan Calvinist Protestants, and had Congregational established churches.
- The colonies of New York, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia maintained the Church of England as the established church.
- The Colony of Maryland was founded by a charter granted in 1632 to George Calvert, secretary of state to Charles I, and his son Cecil, both recent converts to Roman Catholicism. Under their leadership, many English Catholic gentry families settled in Maryland. However, the colonial government was officially neutral in religious affairs, granting toleration to all Christian groups and enjoining them to avoid actions which antagonized the others. On several occasions, low-church dissenters led insurrections which temporarily overthrew the Calvert rule. In 1689, when William and Mary came to the English throne, they acceded to demands to revoke the original royal charter. In 1701, the Church of England was proclaimed, and in the course of the 18th century Maryland Catholics were first barred from public office, then disenfranchised, although not all of the laws passed against them (notably laws restricting property rights and imposing penalties for sending children to be educated in foreign Catholic institutions) were enforced, and some Catholics even continued to hold public office.
- When Spanish Florida was ceded to Great Britain in 1763, the British divided Florida into two colonies, East and West Florida, which both continued a policy of toleration for the Catholic residents, but established the Church of England as the state church.
- When New France was transferred to Great Britain in 1763, the Roman Catholic Church remained under toleration, but Huguenots were allowed entrance where they had formerly been banned from settlement by Parisian authorities.
Colonies with no established church
- The Province of Pennsylvania was founded by Quakers, but the colony never had an established church.
- The Province of New Jersey, without official religion, had a significant Quaker lobby, but Calvinists of all types also had a presence.
- Delaware Colony had no established church, but was contested between Catholics and Quakers.
- The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, founded by religious dissenters forced to flee the Massachusetts Bay colony, is widely regarded as the first polity to grant religious freedom to all its citizens, although Catholics were barred intermittently. Baptists, Seekers/Quakers and Jews made this colony their home. The King Charles Charter of 1663 guaranteed "full liberty in religious concernments".
- ^ In several colonies, the establishment ceased to exist in practice at the Revolution, about 1776; this is the date of permanent legal abolition.
- ^ In 1789 the Georgia Constitution was amended as follows: "Article IV. Section 10. No person within this state shall, upon any pretence, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping God in any manner agreeable to his own conscience, nor be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall he ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for the building or repairing any place of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or hath voluntarily engaged. To do. No one religious society shall ever be established in this state, in preference to another; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles."
- ^ From 1780 to 1824, Massachusetts residents were all required to attend a parish church, the denomination of which was chosen by majority vote of town residents, but in effect this de facto established Congregationalism as the state religion. For details see Constitution of Massachusetts.
- ^ Until 1877 the New Hampshire Constitution required members of the State legislature to be of the Protestant religion. Until 1968 the Constitution allowed for state funding of Protestant classrooms but not Catholic classrooms.
- ^ The North Carolina Constitution of 1776 disestablished the Anglican church, but until 1835 the NC Constitution allowed only Protestants to hold public office. From 1835–1876 it allowed only Christians (including Catholics) to hold public office. Article VI, Section 8 of the current NC Constitution forbids "any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God" from holding public office. Such clauses were held by the United States Supreme Court to be unenforceable in the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins, when the court ruled unanimously that the First and Fourteenth Amendment protections prohibiting federal religious tests also applied to the states under the doctrine of incorporation.
- ^ a b Religious tolerance for Catholics with an established Church of England was the policy in the former Spanish Colonies of East and West Florida while under British rule.
- ^ a b In 1783 Peace of Paris, which ended the American Revolutionary War, the British ceded both East and West Florida back to Spain (see Spanish Florida).
- ^ Tithes for the support of the Anglican Church in Virginia were suspended in 1776, and never restored. 1786 is the date of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, which prohibited any coercion to support any religious body.
These areas were disestablished and dissolved, yet their presences were tolerated by the English and later British colonial governments, as Foreign Protestants
, whose communities were expected to observe their own ways without causing controversy or conflict for the prevalent colonists. After the Revolution, their ethno-religious backgrounds were chiefly sought as the most compatible non-British Isles immigrants.
State of Deseret
The State of Deseret
was a provisional state
of the United States, proposed in 1849, by Mormon
settlers in Salt Lake City
. The provisional state existed for slightly over two years, but attempts to gain recognition by the United States government floundered for various reasons. The Utah Territory
which was then founded was under Mormon control, and repeated attempts to gain statehood met resistance, in part due to concerns that the principle of separation of church and state conflicted with the practice of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
placing their highest value on "following counsel" in virtually all matters relating to their church-centered lives. The state of Utah
was eventually admitted to the union on 4 January 1896, after the various issues had been resolved.
Established churches and former state churches
- ^ Bhutan, Mauritania, Western Sahara (via Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and Morocco, which divide control), Morocco,Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq,Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen,Maldives, Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia,Somalia, Malaysia, Brunei, Greece,Denmark, Norway, Costa Rica,Zambia. See also here.
- ^ The Constitution also states that "Any matter relating to divorce, judicial separation or restitution of conjugal rights or to family relations of the members of the Greek-Orthodox Church, shall be cognizable by family courts each of which is composed: For a divorce trial, of three judges, one of which is a lawyer ecclesiastical officer appointed by the Greek Orthodox Church and presides over the Court and the other two of high professional and moral standard belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church are appointed by the Supreme Court among lawyers. If no ecclesiastical officer is appointed as above, the Supreme Court appoints the President of the Court as well."
- ^ Brazilian Laws – the Federal Constitution – The Organization of State. V-brazil.com. Retrieved 5 May 2012. Brazil had Roman Catholicism as the state religion from the country's independence, in 1822, until the fall of the Brazilian Empire. The new Republican government passed, in 1890, Decree 119-A "Decreto 119-A". Prohibits federal and state authorities to intervene on religion, granting freedom of religion. (still in force), instituting the separation of church and state for the first time in Brazilian law. Positivist thinker Demétrio Nunes Ribeiro urged the new government to adopt this stance. The 1891 Constitution, the first under the Republican system of government, abolished privileges for any specific religion, reaffirming the separation of church and state. This has been the case ever since the 1988 Constitution of Brazil, currently in force, does so in its Nineteenth Article. The Preamble to the Constitution does refer to "God's protection" over the document's promulgation, but this is not legally taken as endorsement of belief in any deity.
- ^ In France the Concordat of 1801 made the Roman Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran churches and Judaism state-sponsored religions until 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State.
- ^ In Hungary the constitutional laws of 1848 declared five established churches on equal status: the Roman Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox and Unitarian Church. In 1868 the law was ratified again after the Ausgleich. In 1895 Judaism was also recognized as the sixth established church. In 1948 every distinction between the different denominations were abolished.
- ^ In the Kingdom of Ireland the Church of Ireland was established in the Reformation. The Act of Union 1800 created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with the United Church of England and Ireland established outside Scotland. The Irish Church Act 1869 demerged and disestablished the Church of Ireland, and the island was partitioned in 1922. The Republic of Ireland's 1937 constitution prohibits an established religion. Originally, it recognized the "special position" of the Roman Catholic Church "as the guardian of the Faith professed by the great majority of the citizens", and recognized "the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, as well as the Jewish Congregations and the other religious denominations existing in Ireland at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution". These provisions were deleted in 1973.
- ^ The Philippines was among several possessions ceded by Spain to the United States in 1898; religious freedom was subsequently guaranteed in the archipelago. This was codified in the Philippine Organic Act (1902), section 5: "... That no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed." A similarly-worded provision still exists in the present Constitution. Catholicism remains the predominant religion, wielding considerable political and cultural influence.
- ^ Article 25 of the constitution states: "1. Churches and other religious organizations shall have equal rights. 2. Public authorities in the Republic of Poland shall be impartial in matters of personal conviction". Article 114 of the Polish March Constitution of 1921 declared the Roman Catholic Church to hold "the principal position among religious denominations equal before the law" (in reference to the idea of first among equals). The article was continued in force by article 81 of the April Constitution of 1935. The Soviet-backed PKWN Manifesto of 1944 reintroduced the March Constitution, which remained in force until it was replaced by the Small Constitution of 1947.
- ^ The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution explicitly forbids the federal government from enacting any law respecting a religious establishment, and thus forbids either designating an official church for the United States, or interfering with State and local official churches—which were common when the First Amendment was enacted. It did not prevent state governments from establishing official churches. Connecticut continued to do so until it replaced its colonial Charter with the Connecticut Constitution of 1818; Massachusetts retained an establishment of religion in general until 1833. As of 2010, Article III of the Massachusetts constitution still provided, "... the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily." The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1868, makes no mention of religious establishment, but forbids the states to "abridge the privileges or immunities" of U.S. citizens, or to "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". In the 1947 case of Everson v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court held that this later provision incorporates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause as applying to the States, and thereby prohibits state and local religious establishments. The exact boundaries of this prohibition are still disputed, and are a frequent source of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court—especially as the Court must now balance, on a state level, the First Amendment prohibitions on government establishment of official religions with the First Amendment prohibitions on government interference with the free exercise of religion. See school prayer for such a controversy in contemporary American politics. All current State constitutions do mention a Creator, but include guarantees of religious liberty parallel to the First Amendment. The constitutions of eight states (Arkansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) also contain clauses that prohibit atheists from holding public office. However, these clauses were held by the U.S. Supreme Court to be unenforceable in the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins, where the court ruled unanimously that such clauses constituted a religious test incompatible with the religious test prohibition in Article 6 Section 3 of the United States Constitution. The Church of Hawaii was the state church of Hawaii from 1862–1893.
- ^ The Church in Wales was split from the Church of England in 1920, by Welsh Church Act 1914; at the same time becoming disestablished.
- ^ "Mauritania". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ Toby Shelley. Endgame in the Western Sahara: What Future for Africa's Last Colony?. Zed Books; 2004. ISBN 978-1-84277-341-3. p. 174.
- ^ a b "Morocco". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ "Tunisia". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ The 2012 Constitution of Egypt, Translated by Nivien Saleh, with Index (Article 2)
- ^ "Jordan". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ "Iraq". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ The Constitution of Afghanistan (Chapter one, Article two), afghan-web.com
- ^ "Pakistan". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ "Bangladesh". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ "United Arab Emirates". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ "Oman". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ "Yemen". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ "Maldives". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ Iran - Constitution (Article 12), unibe.ch, "The official religion of Iran is Islam and the Twelver Ja'fari school, ..."
- ^ "Algeria". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ The Basic Law of Governance (Chapter one, Article one), saudiembassy.net, "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic State. Its religion is Islam. Its constitution is Almighty God's Book, The Holy Qur'an, and the Sunna (Traditions) of the Prophet (PBUH). Arabic is the language of the Kingdom. The City of Riyadh is the capital."
- ^ "Somalia". CIA World Factbook.
- ^ Federal Constitution, agc.gov.my
- ^ Ibp Usa; International Business Publications, USA (2007). Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'Izzaddin Waddaulah Handbook. Int'l Business Publications. pp. 133. ISBN 978-1-4330-0444-5.
- ^ "Greece". CIA World Factbook.
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- ^ Title VI, Article 75 of The Constitution of Costa Rica, costaricalaw.com.
- ^ "Zambia's Constitution of 1991 with Amendments through 2009" (PDF). CIA World Factbook.
- ^ The Journal of Ecclesiastical History. p. 268 by Cambridge University Press, Gale Group, C.W. Dugmore
- ^ The headship was administrative and jurisdictional but did not include the potestas ordinis (the right to preach, ordain, administer the sacraments and rites of the Church which were reserved to the clergy). Bray, Gerald. Documents of the English Reformation James Clarke & Cº (1994), p. 114
- ^ Neill, Stephen. Anglicanism Penguin (1960), p. 61
- ^ The concerned religious communities are the dioceses of Metz and of Strasbourg, the Lutheran EPCAAL and the Reformed EPRAL and the three Israelite consistories in Colmar, Metz and Strasbourg.
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"Draft of Tsa Thrim Chhenmo" (PDF). constitution.bt. 1 August 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 November 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
Article 3, Spiritual Heritage
- Buddhism is the spiritual heritage of Bhutan, which promotes the principles and values of peace, non-violence, compassion and tolerance.
- The Druk Gyalpo is the protector of all religions in Bhutan.
- It shall be the responsibility of religious institutions and personalities to promote the spiritual heritage of the country while also ensuring that religion remains separate from politics in Bhutan. Religious institutions and personalities shall remain above politics.
- The Druk Gyalpo shall, on the recommendation of the Five Lopons, appoint a learned and respected monk ordained in accordance with the Druk-lu, blessed with the nine qualities of a spiritual master and accomplished in ked-dzog, as the Je Khenpo.
- His Holiness the Je Khenpo shall, on the recommendation of the Dratshang Lhentshog, appoint monks blessed with the nine qualities of a spiritual master and accomplished in ked-dzog as the Five Lopons.
- The members of the Dratshang Lhentshog shall comprise:
(a) The Je Khenpo as Chairman;
(b) The Five Lopons of the Zhung Dratshang; and
(c) The Secretary of the Dratshang Lhentshog who is a civil servant.
- The Zhung Dratshang and Rabdeys shall continue to receive adequate funds and other facilities from the State."Bhutan's Constitution of 2008"(PDF). constituteproject.org/. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
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- ^ Article 67:
"The State should support and protect Buddhism. In supporting and protecting Buddhism, [...] the State should promote and support education and dissemination of dharmic principles of Theravada Buddhism [...], and shall have measures and mechanisms to prevent Buddhism from being undermined in any form. The State should also encourage Buddhists to participate in implementing such measures or mechanisms.""Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand" (PDF). constitutionnet.org. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
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- ^ Meyendorff, John (1981). The Orthodox Church: Its Past and Its Role in the World Today. St Vladimir's Seminary Press. p. 155. ISBN 9780913836811. Greece therefore is today the only country where the Orthodox Church remains a state church and plays a dominant role in the life of the country.
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Rowlands, John Henry Lewis (1989). Church, State, and Society, 1827–1845: the Attitudes of John Keble, Richard Hurrell Froude, and John Henry Newman
. Worthing, Eng.: P. Smith [of] Churchman Publishing; Folkestone, Eng.: distr. ... by Bailey Book Distribution. ISBN 1850931321
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