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Argentina PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 22 April 2011 11:54
Religious Freedom Ranking
3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement

Argentina has a population of 37 million, according to the 2001 census. However, it is difficult to estimate religious affiliation since it is not legal to include religion in the census. The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the laws of the country provide for the free practice of religion. When there were reports of discrimination based on religious affiliation, leaders generally took steps to promote religious freedom.

Argentina amended their Constitution in 1994. The amended Constitution no longer requires that the president of Argentina be a member of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, Article 14 guarantees the right of all residents to freely profess their faith. The Constitution also specifies that aliens enjoy the same civil rights as citizens including the right to exercise their faith. According to the US State Department, the government respects this right in practice.

The Constitution states in Article 2 that the government of Argentina “supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic faith.” Good Friday, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and Christmas are recognized by the government as national holidays. The Catholic Church receives an annual subsidy of $15 million dollars, which is administered through the Secretariat of Worship in the Office of the President.

The Secretariat handles government relations with all religious organizations. In order to hold public services and to be tax-exempt, religious communities must register with the Secretariat and file a periodical report to maintain their status. The National Registry maintained by the Secretariat includes approximately 2800 organizations representing about 30 churches and most of the world's major faiths. Registered organizations may apply to the Secretariat if they wish to bring missionaries into the country. Upon approval, the Secretariat notifies the immigration authorities that issue the proper documents. The Secretariat also sponsors interfaith conferences at which representatives of various churches meet to discuss current issues.

Even though public education is secular, many churches, synagogues and mosques operate private schools allowing students instruction in the religion of their choice.

There have been incidents reported of desecration of Jewish cemeteries, anti-Semitic graffiti, and other forms of harassment. The government quickly responded to such incidents.  The national government has sought to promote a more tolerant attitude and to arrest and prosecute those responsible for acts of terrorism and vandalism against Jewish businesses and institutions. In 1995, the national legislature passed a law declaring Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as holidays. The law authorizes seven days of paid leave for those observing the Jewish holy days of New Year, the Days of Atonement, and Passover, and also for those observing the religious celebrations of the Islamic New Year.

2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report on Argentina

Argentina - New World Encyclopedia

Last Updated on Monday, 13 February 2012 17:49