Religion in Palau

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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 Republic in Oceania

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.

Contents

Demographics

Approximately 65% of the population are members of the Roman Catholic Church. [1] 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. [1] Modekngei, which embraces both animist and Christian beliefs and is unique to the country, has approximately 1,800 adherents. [1] There also is a primarily Filipino Catholic expatriate community of 6,800 persons. [1]

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 nontrinitarian Christian restorationist church

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.

Jehovahs Witnesses Christian denomination

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. [2]

Buddhism World religion, founded by the Buddha

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 traditional Han Chinese religious belief systems

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.

Baháí Faith Monotheistic religion founded by Baháulláh

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.

History

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. [1] During the Japanese mandate, Japanese Christian missions were heavily subsidized; Japan's native Buddhists were given a comparative pittance. [3] 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. [4] The Seventh-day Adventist and Evangelical churches have missionaries teaching in their respective elementary and high schools. [1] 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. [5] There are two mosques in Palau, one of which is located in Koror. [6]

Shinto Ethnic religion of Japan

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 Ethno-linguistic and religious population from Bengal region in the Indian subcontinent

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.

Religious freedom

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. [7]

Constitution of Palau

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. [7]

Religious instruction is prohibited in public schools, but religious groups are allowed to request government funds to run private schools. [7]

According to US State Department reports, there have been no significant societal breaches of religious freedom in Palau. [7]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Palau. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. "The Association of Religion Data Archives | National Profiles". Thearda.com. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
  3. Willard Price. Japan's Islands of Mystery. p. 111.
  4. Brigham Young University—Hawaii Campus (1981), p. 36
  5. Lawyers: Uighurs agree to go to Palau
  6. https://web.archive.org/web/20091103141250/http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/11-six-former-guantanamo-detainees-resettle-in-palau--il--07. Archived from the original on November 3, 2009. Retrieved November 1, 2009.Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. 1 2 3 4 International Religious Freedom Report 2017 § Palau US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.