Religion in the Marshall Islands

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Religion in the Marshall Islands has been primarily Christian since the religion was introduced by Western missionaries since around 1857. The government generally supports the free practice of religion, although the minority Ahmadiyya Muslim community has reported some harassment and discrimination.

Demographics[edit]

In 2009, major religious groups in the Republic of the Marshall Islands are United Church of Christ (formerly Congregational) (51.5%), Assemblies of God (24.2%), Roman Catholic church (8.4%),[1] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) (9.5%),[2] Bukot Nan Jesus (also known as Assembly of God Part Two) (2.2%), Baptist (1.0%), Seventh-day Adventists (0.9%), Full Gospel (0.7%), Baha'i Faith (0.6%).[1] Persons without any religious affiliation account for a small percentage of the population.[1] The Jehovah's Witnesses are believed to have a few hundred practitioners. There are fewer than 20 people of Jewish faith and fewer than 20 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.[1]

Catholic church in Likiep Atoll


Religious freedom[edit]

The constitution of the Marshall Islands establishes the freedom of religion, although it provides that this freedom may be limited by "reasonable restrictions". The constitution further states that no law may discriminate against any person on the basis of religion.[3]

Foreign missionaries are present and operate freely.[1] Religious schools are operated by the Roman Catholic Church, United Church of Christ, Assemblies of God, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Bukot Non Jesus, and the Baptist Church.[1] There are no requirements for religious groups to register with the government, but they may receive tax benefits if they register as non-profits.[3]

There is no religious education in public schools, but school events and government functions typically begin and end with a Christian prayer. According to the government, this is a longstanding practice that is widely accepted in the country. The government provides funding to private religious schools.[3]

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community in the Marshall Islands has reported that it faces difficulties interacting with the government, as well as harassment in general society. Representatives attributed these attitudes to prejudice against Muslims due to perceptions that Islam is linked to terrorism.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f International Religious Freedom Report 2009: Marshall Islands. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Facts and Statistics". April 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d International Religious Freedom Report 2017 § Marshall Islands US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.