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Roman Catholicism is the dominant religioninPalau, although there is no state religion. Freedom of religion is enshrined in Palau's constitution, and both the government and general society respect this right in practice.
Palau, officially the Republic of Palau, is an island country located in the western Pacific Ocean. The country contains approximately 340 islands, forming the western chain of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia, and has an area of 466 square kilometers (180 sq mi). The most populous island is Koror. The capital Ngerulmud is located on the nearby island of Babeldaob, in Melekeok State. Palau shares maritime boundaries with the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Approximately 65% of the population are members of the Roman Catholic Church.Estimates of other religious groups with a sizable membership include the various denominations of Evangelicalism, 2,000; Seventh-day Adventists, 1,000; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 300; and Jehovah's Witnesses, 90. Modekngei, which embraces both animist and Christian beliefs and is unique to the country, has approximately 1,800 adherents. There also is a primarily Filipino Catholic expatriate community of 6,800 persons.
Evangelicalism, evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide, trans-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity which maintains the belief that the essence of the Gospel consists of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus's atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or "born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and in spreading the Christian message. The movement has had a long presence in the Anglosphere before spreading further afield in the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian, Christian restorationist church that is considered by its members to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 16 million members and 65,000 full-time volunteer missionaries. In 2012, the National Council of Churches ranked the church as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with over 6.5 million members there as of January 2018. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the early 19th century period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The group reports a worldwide membership of approximately 8.58 million adherents involved in evangelism and an annual Memorial attendance of over 20 million. Jehovah's Witnesses are directed by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, a group of elders in Warwick, New York, United States, which establishes all doctrines based on its interpretations of the Bible. They believe that the destruction of the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, and that the establishment of God's kingdom over the earth is the only solution for all problems faced by humanity.
Additionally, about 0.8% of the population was estimated to be Buddhist in 2010 and 0.2% was reported to be practicing elements of Chinese folk religion alongside as well. 0.7% of the population in 2010 was estimated to be practicing the Bahá'í Faith and 0.1% practiced Hinduism. 2.4% identified as agnostic while a non-negligible amount, under 0.1% of the population identified as atheist.
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognised by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana.
Chinese folk religion is the most widespread form of religion in China, and among Chinese people worldwide. It is the religious tradition of the Han Chinese, and involves veneration of forces of nature and ancestors, exorcism of harmful forces, and a belief in the rational order of nature which can be influenced by human beings and their rulers as well as spirits and gods. Worship is devoted to a multiplicity of gods and immortals, who can be deities of phenomena, of human behaviour, or progenitors of lineages. Stories regarding some of these gods are collected into the body of Chinese mythology. By the 11th century, these practices had been blended with Buddhist ideas of karma and rebirth, and Taoist teachings about hierarchies of gods, to form the popular religious system which has lasted in many ways until the present day.
The Bahá'í Faith is a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people. Established by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863, it initially grew in Persia and parts of the Middle East, where it has faced ongoing persecution since its inception. It is estimated to have between 5 and 8 million adherents, known as Bahá'ís, spread out into most of the world's countries and territories.
Since the arrival of Jesuit priests in the early 19th century, foreign missionaries have been active; some have been in the country for many years.During the Japanese mandate, Japanese Christian missions were heavily subsidized; Japan's native Buddhists were given a comparative pittance. Japanese rule brought Mahayana Buddhism and Shinto to Palau, with the syncretism of the two being the majority religion among Japanese settlers. However, following Japan's World War II defeat, the remaining Japanese largely converted to Christianity, while the remainder continued to observe Buddhism, but stopped practicing Shinto rites. The Seventh-day Adventist and Evangelical churches have missionaries teaching in their respective elementary and high schools. There are also approximately 400 Bengali Muslims in Palau, and recently a few Uyghurs detained in Guantanamo Bay were allowed to settle in the island nation. There are two mosques in Palau, one of which is located in Koror.
Shinto or kami-no-michi is the ethnic religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past.
Bengali Muslims are an ethnic, linguistic, and religious population who make up the majority of Bangladesh's citizens and the largest minority in the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam. They are Bengalis who adhere to Islam and speak the Bengali language. They form the largest Bengali and the second largest Muslim ethnic group in the world.
The Uyghurs, alternately Uygurs, Uighurs or Uigurs, are a minority Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia.
The constitution of Palau establishes the freedom of religion and prohibits the government from taking any action to infringe upon it. It also states that the country has no state religion.
The Constitution of Palau, Constitution of the Republic of Palau was adopted by the Palau Constitutional Convention from January 28 to April 2, 1979, ratified at the Third Constitution Referendum on July 9, 1980, and entered into force January 1, 1981. The Second Constitutional Convention certifies the proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Palau that were duly adopted by majority vote of the Delegates on July 15, 2005.
Religious groups are required to register with the government as nonprofit organizations. Foreign missionaries are also required to apply for missionary permits from the Bureau of Immigration and Labor.
Religious instruction is prohibited in public schools, but religious groups are allowed to request government funds to run private schools.
According to US State Department reports, there have been no significant societal breaches of religious freedom in Palau.
Religion in Japan is dominated by Shinto and by Buddhism. According to surveys carried out in 2006 and 2008, less than 40% of the population of Japan identifies with an organized religion: around 35% are Buddhists, 3% to 4% are members of Shinto sects and derived religions, and from fewer than 1% to 2.3% are Christians.
The official religion in Bhutan is Vajrayana Buddhism. Bhutan is a Buddhist country by constitution and Buddhism plays a vital role in the country. Buddhism is the cultural heritage of Bhutan and its people's identity as well. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the King. Approximately 75 percent of the population of 770,000 follow either the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school, the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism or another school of Buddhism. The remaining 25 percent, mainly Lhotshampas, practice Hinduism.
Christianity is the largest religion in Uruguay, but over 41% of the population is irreligious. Church and state are officially separated since 1916.
There is no official state religion in the Thai constitution, which guarantees religious freedom for all Thai citizens, though the king is required by law to be a Theravada Buddhist. The main religion practised in Thailand is Buddhism, but there is a strong undercurrent of Hinduism with a class of brahmins having sacerdotal functions. The large Thai Chinese population also practises Chinese folk religions, including Taoism. The Chinese religious movement Yiguandao spread to Thailand in the 1970s and it has grown so much in recent decades to come into conflict with Buddhism; in 2009, it was reported that each year 200,000 Thais convert to the religion. Many other people, especially among the Isan ethnic group, practise Tai folk religions. A significant Muslim population, mostly constituted by Thai Malays, is present especially in the southern regions.
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respected this right in practice. Buddhism is the state religion. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the period covered by this report, and government policy continued to contribute to the generally free practice of religion. There were limited reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.
Freedom of religion in Taiwan is provided for by the Constitution of the Republic of China, which is in force on Taiwan. Taiwan's progressive government generally respects freedom of religion in practice, with policies which contribute to the generally free practice of religion. Taiwan's strong human rights protections, lack of state-sanctioned discrimination, and generally high regard for freedom of religion or belief earned it a joint #1 ranking alongside The Netherlands and Belgium in the 2018 Freedom of Thought Report. Freedom House also gave Taiwan the top score for religious freedoms in 2018. Possibly the only coercion to practice a certain faith in Taiwan comes from within the family, where the choice to adopt a non-traditional faith can sometimes lead to ostracism "because they stop performing ancestor worship rites and rituals."
The Article 20 of the Japanese Constitution provides for freedom of religion in Japan, and the government generally respects this right in practice.
In Thailand, the freedom of religion is protected through statutory means. The law provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally has respected this right in practice; however, it does not register new religious groups that have not been accepted into one of the existing religious governing bodies on doctrinal or other grounds. In practice, unregistered religious organizations have operated freely, and the government's practice of not recognizing any new religious groups has not restricted the activities of unregistered religious groups. The government officially limits the number of foreign missionaries that may work in the country, although unregistered missionaries have been present in large numbers and have been allowed to live and work freely. There have been no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice; however, in the far southern border provinces, continued separatist violence has resulted in increasingly tense relations between the Buddhist and Muslim communities.
When it comes to religion, the Ecuadorian society is relatively homogeneous, with Christianity being the primary religion. Roman Catholicism is the main Christian denomination in the country. However, affiliation with Protestant churches is increasing.
Christianity is the largest religion in Cape Verde, with Roman Catholics having the most adherents. Different sources give varying estimates on the relative sizes of various Christian denominations. More than 93% of the population of Cape Verde is nominally Roman Catholic, according to an informal poll taken by local churches. About 5% of the population is Protestant. The largest Protestant denomination is the Church of the Nazarene. Other groups include the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of-day Saints, the Assemblies of God, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, the New Apostolic Church and various other Pentecostal and evangelical groups.
The majority of the population in Solomon Islands is Christian, with a majority of Christians belonging to Protestant churches. The constitution of Solomon Islands establishes the freedom of religion, and this freedom is respected in practice by both the government and general society.
Approximately 83% of the population of Vanuatu is Christian. An estimated 32% is Presbyterian, 13% Roman Catholic, 13% Anglican, and 11% Seventh-day Adventist. Groups that together constitute 14% include the Church of Christ 3.8%, United Pentecostal Church UPCIV Assemblies of God, and other Christian denominations.
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.
The population of the Federated States of Micronesia is predominantly Christian, although the representation of various denominations varies greatly from state to state. The government generally upholds the freedom of religion, but the small Muslim community in the country faces significant discrimination from both general society and the government.
Christianity is the main religion in Panama. An official survey carried out by the government estimated in 2015 that 63.2% of the population, or 2,549,150 people, identifies itself as Roman Catholic, and 25.0 percent as evangelical Protestant, or 1,009,740. The Jehovah's Witnesses were the third largest congregation comprising the 1.4% of the population, followed by the Adventist Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the 0.6%. There is a very large Buddhist and Jewish community in the country. The Bahá'í Faith community of Panama is estimated at 2.00% of the national population, or about 60,000 including about 10% of the Guaymí population; the Bahá'ís maintain one of the world's eight Baha'i Houses of Worship in Panama.
Religion in Antigua and Barbuda consists of the religious beliefs practices of people living in Antigua and Barbuda, as well as their history. The majority of the population of Antigua and Barbuda is Christian, and religious freedom is generally respected in the country, although Rastafarians face some obstacles to religious practice.
The Constitution of Panama provides for freedom of religion, with some qualifications, and other laws and policies contribute to the generally free practice of religion. The law at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors. The Government generally respects religious freedom in practice. In 2007, the US government received no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.
The most common religion in Dominica is Christianity, with a majority of practitioners identifying as Roman Catholic. Various minority religious groups are also present on the island.
Freedom of religion in Ecuador is guaranteed by the country's constitution, and the government generally respects this right in practice. Government policy contributes to the generally free practice of religion. The United States received no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice in 2007.
Buddhism is a minority religion in Oceania.
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