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Tonga PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 April 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking:
3 out of 5 stars: Needs Improvement


The 1967 Constitution of Tonga states that “All men are free to practice their religion and worship God as they may deem fit in accordance with the dictates of their conscience and to assemble for religious services in such places as they may appoint.  But it shall not be lawful to use this freedom to commit evil and licentious acts or under the name of worship or to do what is contrary to the law and peace of the land.”

The country has a population of 102,000.  According to census date from 2006, 37.3 percent were the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, 16.8 percent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 15.6 percent the Free Church of Tonga, 11.3 percent the Roman Catholic Church.  Other Christian groups such as the Tokaikolo Church (derivative of the Methodist Church), Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God, and Anglicans represent 14 percent of the population.  Groups such as the Baha’i Faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism make up 4 percent of the population.  There is no resident Jewish community and there were no reports of atheists.

There is no state religion.  The government advises that religious groups register for tax purposes, although this is not enforced.  There have been no reports of societal abuse or discrimination against religious belief.  There have been no reports of religious prisoners, detainees, or forced religious conversion.  Foreign missionaries are allowed to work freely without impediment.

The Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC) is a government-owned business that preserves policy rules regarding any broadcasting of religious programming on TV Tonga and Radio Tonga.  All programs must stay within the boundaries of mainstream Christian tradition.  Non-Christian religions are not allowed to preach on TV Tonga and Radio Tonga.

2010 State Department Report on Religious Freedom in Tonga

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2011 18:43