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Monday, 23 November 2009 12:55

Religious Freedom Ranking:
4 out of 5 stars: Good

 

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and  the government generally respects this right.  The Constitution provides for freedom of conscience and affiliation, and specifies that persons cannot be forced to join an organization or receive religious instruction contrary to their belief.

The country has a population of 9.9 million.  A UN Population Fund census released in 2006 (based on 2003 data) lists the following religious demographics: 54.7 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 15.4 percent Baptist, 7.9 percent Pentecostal and 3 percent Seventh-day Adventist.  Other religious groups include Episcopalians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Muslims, Scientologists and Vodou (voodoo) practitioners.

Roman Catholicism was the official religion until 1987.  Although Catholicism is still the preferred religion,  recently the government has recognized the increasing role of Protestant churches.

The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays:  Good Friday, Corpus Christi, the Feast of Assumption, All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day and Christmas.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship administer and monitor all religious affairs.  The Bureau of Religious Affairs within the ministry is accountable for registering churches, clergy and missionaries.  The government does not tax registered churches.

The National Council of Muslims in Haiti applied for legal recognition.  By the end of the reporting period they were still awaiting approval.

Missionary groups and missionaries associated with independent churches operated orphanages, hospitals, schools and clinics.  Foreign missionaries were recognized as regular tourists and submitted paperwork similar to domestic religious groups to the Bureau of Religious Affairs.

There have been no reports of religious prisoners or forced religious conversions.

Some religious groups were politically active. The National Federation of Private Schools endorsed interfaith cooperation and communication.  While society usually was tolerant of the variety of religious groups, the Christian view toward Vodou ranged from a cultural practice to rejection as unsuited with Christianity.  As a result, these differing perceptions were followed by isolated occurrences of conflict.

 

2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom on Haiti
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 20:44