Religious organization

Last updated

A Muslim organization in Johor, Malaysia. MACMA Muar.jpg
A Muslim organization in Johor, Malaysia.

Religious activities generally need some infrastructure to be conducted. For this reason, there generally exist religion-supporting organizations, which are some form of organization that manage:

Contents

In addition, such organizations usually have other responsibilities, such as the formation, nomination or appointment of religious leaders, the establishment of a corpus of doctrine, the disciplining of leaders and followers with respect to religious law, and the determination of qualification for membership.

Public organizations

Some countries run the activities of one or more religions as part of their government, or as external organizations closely supported by the government. See state religion.

Private organizations

In some countries, the government is prohibited by law from establishing or supporting religions by separation of church and state, though there may be exceptions to such rules. Religions are thus necessarily supported by private organizations, generally funded by those who attend their services.

France

The French Republic is constitutionally laïque (roughly, secular). It is prohibited by a 1905 statute to salary, subsidize or recognize any religion; for historical reasons, this statute however does not apply to the Alsace-Moselle area (where four religions are state-subsidized under the local law), to French Guiana (Catholic priests are employed by the local government, although this situation is likely to change) and to military chaplains (as of 2005, there are indications that the statute of religious services to the military will be changed).

Religious organizations are not required to register, but may if they wish to apply for tax-exempt status or to gain official recognition. The French government defines two categories under which religious groups may register: associations cultuelles (associations of worship, which are exempt from taxes) and associations culturelles (cultural associations, which are not exempt from all taxes). Associations in these two categories are subject to certain management and financial disclosure requirements. An association of worship may organize only religious activities, defined as liturgical services and practices. A cultural association may engage in profit-making activity. Although a cultural association is not exempt from taxes, it may receive government subsidies for its cultural and educational operations, such as schools. Religious groups normally register under both of these categories; the Mormons, for example, runs strictly religious activities through its association of worship and operates a school under its cultural association.

Under the 1905 statute, religious groups must apply with the local prefecture to be recognized as an association of worship and receive tax-exempt status. The prefecture reviews the submitted documentation regarding the association's purpose for existence. To qualify, the group's purpose must be solely the practice of some form of religious ritual. Printing publications, employing a board president, or running a school may disqualify a group from receiving tax-exempt status. A common method is to run such activities in another financially separate association ("cultural association" or other similar denomination).

According to the 1905 law, associations of worship are not taxed on the donations that they receive. However, the prefecture may decide to review a group's status if the association receives a large donation or legacy that comes to the attention of the tax authorities. If the prefecture determines that the association is not in fact in conformity with the 1905 law, its status may be changed, and it may be required to pay taxes at a rate of 60 percent on present and past donations.

According to the 100 Catholic associations are tax-exempt; a representative of the Ministry of Interior reports that the number of non-tax-exempt Catholic associations is too numerous to estimate accurately. More than 50 associations of the Jehovah's Witnesses have tax-free status.

United States

In the United States, a faith-based organization (FBO) is an organization that has its mission based in a faith system. The U.S. IRS designates tax exemptions for those legal entities that qualify. To be a legal entity in America each organization must file the required documents in the U.S. states in which they operate.

See also

Related Research Articles

A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is an organization dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a shared point of view. In economic terms, it is an organization using its surplus of the revenues to further achieve its ultimate objective, rather than distributing its income to the organization's shareholders, leaders, or members. Nonprofits are tax-exempt or charitable, meaning they do not pay income tax on the money that they receive for their organization. They can operate in religious, scientific, research, or educational settings.

Charitable organization Nonprofit organization with charitable purpose

A charitable organization or charity is a nonprofit organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe their allegiance belongs to God's Kingdom, which they view as an actual government. They refrain from saluting the flag of any country or singing nationalistic songs, which they believe are forms of worship, although they may stand out of respect. They also refuse to participate in military service—even when it is compulsory—and do not become involved in politics. They believe Jesus' refusal to rule the kingdoms of the world as offered by the Devil, his refusal to be made king of Israel by the Jews, and his statements that he, his followers, and his kingdom are not part of the world, provide the bases for not being involved in politics or government. Witnesses are taught that they should obey laws of the governments where they live unless such laws conflict with their beliefs, such as operating covertly in countries where their activities are banned.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State organization

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that advocates separation of church and state. The separation of church and state in the United States is often accepted to be provided in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Freedom of religion in Germany is guaranteed by article 4 of the German constitution. This states that "the freedom of religion, conscience and the freedom of confessing one's religious or philosophical beliefs are inviolable. Uninfringed religious practice is guaranteed." In addition, article 3 states that "No one may be prejudiced or favored because of his gender, his descent, his race, his language, his homeland and place of origin, his faith or his religious or political views." Any person or organization can call the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany for free help.

1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State Legal basis of state secularism in France

The 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and State was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on 9 December 1905. Enacted during the Third Republic, it established state secularism in France. France was then governed by the Bloc des gauches led by Emile Combes. The law was based on three principles: the neutrality of the state, the freedom of religious exercise, and public powers related to the church. This law is seen as the backbone of the French principle of laïcité (secularism). It is however not applicable in Alsace and Moselle.

Freedom of religion in France is guaranteed by the constitutional rights set forth in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. It is one of the 29 types of 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the US.

Freedom of religion in Thailand

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.

The Constitution provides for the freedom to practice the rights of one's religion and faith in accordance with the customs that are observed in the kingdom, unless they violate public order or morality. The state religion is Islam. The Government prohibits conversion from Islam and proselytization of Muslims.

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion and the freedom to practice all religious rites provided that the public order is not disturbed. The Constitution declares equality of rights and duties for all citizens without discrimination or preference but establishes a balance of power among the major religious groups. The Government generally respected these rights; however, there were some restrictions, and the constitutional provision for apportioning political offices according to religious affiliation may be viewed as inherently discriminatory. There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice. There were, however, periodic reports of tension between religious groups, attributable to competition for political power, and citizens continued to struggle with the legacy of a 15-year civil war that was fought largely along sectarian lines. Despite sectarian tensions caused by the competition for political power, churches, mosques, and other places of worship continued to exist side-by-side, extending a centuries-long national heritage as a place of refuge for those fleeing religious intolerance.

The Basic Law, in accordance with tradition, declares that Islam is the state religion and that Shari'a is the source of legislation. It also prohibits discrimination based on religion and provides for the freedom to practice religious rites as long as doing so does not disrupt public order. The Government generally respected this right, but within defined parameters that placed limitations on the right in practice. While the Government continued to protect the free practice of religion in general, it formalized previously unwritten prohibitions on religious gatherings in locations other than government-approved houses of worship, and on non-Islamic institutions issuing publications within their communities, without prior approval from the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs (MERA). There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.

The Constitution of Andorra provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice. There is no state religion; however, the Constitution acknowledges a special relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, which receives some privileges, although no direct subsidies, not available to other religious groups. There are no reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious belief or practice.

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice for all but a minority of religious groups. Government policy continued to contribute to the free practice of religion for all but those religions termed "sects." There was a report of an anti-Semitic physical attack against a person and a violent anti-Semitic attack against property. Other anti-Semitic incidents occurred during the year. There was some societal mistrust and discrimination against members of some non-recognized religious groups, particularly those referred to as "sects." During 2006 there were 32 cases of discrimination based on religion brought before the Equal Rights Commissioner. Muslims also reported prejudice, particularly with regard to headscarves and Muslim cemeteries.

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 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State instituted in France of religious associations also say parochial or sometimes in some churches, presbyteries, even today Islamic associations.

Freedom of religion in Montenegro refers to the extent to which people in Montenegro are freely able to practice their religious beliefs, taking into account both government policies and societal attitudes toward religious groups. Montenegro's laws guarantee the freedom of religion and outlaw several forms of religious discrimination, as well as establishing that there is no state religion in Montenegro. The government provides some funding to religious groups.

The status of religious freedom in Europe varies from country to country. States can differ based on whether or not they guarantee equal treatment under law for followers of different religions, whether they establish a state religion, the extent to which religious organizations operating within the country are policed, and the extent to which religious law is used as a basis for the country's legal code.

The status of religious freedom in North America varies from country to country. States can differ based on whether or not they guarantee equal treatment under law for followers of different religions, whether they establish a state religion, the extent to which religious organizations operating within the country are policed, and the extent to which religious law is used as a basis for the country's legal code.

Freedom of religion in Romania refers to the extent to which people in Romania are freely able to practice their religious beliefs, taking into account both government policies and societal attitudes toward religious groups.

References