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Marshall Islands
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking:
3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement

The constitution bestows religious freedom and is respected by the government.  There have been no reports of societal abuse or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.  There have been no reports of forced religious conversion.  Foreign missionaries are allowed to work freely without delay or discrimination.  Religious groups do not have to register with the government for their authenticity.   

The country has a population of 53,200 people.  The main religious groups in the nation consist of the United Church of Christ, 51.5 percent of the population, the Assemblies of God, 24.2 percent; the Roman Catholic Church, 8.4 percent; and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 8.3 percent.  Other Christian groups include Bukot Non Jesus (an offshoot of the Assemblies of God), 2.2 percent; Baptist, 1.0 percent, Seventh-day Adventists, 0.9 percent; Full Gospel, 0.7 percent; and the Baha’i Faith, 0.6 percent.  It is reported that Jehovah’s Witnesses have a few hundred practitioners, Jews fewer than 20, and Ahmadiyya Muslims fewer than 10.   

There is no state religion.  Yet, Christianity is the central religion because of its cultural influence.  Functions such as government or social events usually begin with an interdenominational Christian prayer given by a minister or other religious official.

It is not required for public schools to teach religion or to pray during school.  Yet, nearly all extracurricular school activities or events begin and end with an interdenominational Christian prayer.  Religious schools are run by the Roman Catholic Church, United Church of Christ, Assemblies of God, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Bukot Non Jesus and the Baptist Church.

2010 US State Department Report on the Marshall Islands

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 November 2011 20:12