More than 20% of countries have official state religions – survey

Oct 4, 2017

By Harriet Sherwood

More than one in five countries has an official state religion, with the majority being Muslim states, and a further 20% of countries have a preferred or favoured religion.

A slim majority (53%) of counties has no official or preferred religion, and 10 (5%) are hostile to religion, according to a report by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

Most of the 43 countries with state religions are in the Middle East and North Africa, with a cluster in northern Europe. Islam is the official religion in 27 countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa as well North Africa and the Middle East.

Thirteen countries – including nine in Europe – are officially Christian, two (Bhutan and Cambodia) have Buddhism as their state religion, and one (Israel) is officially a Jewish state. No country has Hinduism as its state religion.

The Pew report says: “In some cases, state religions have roles that are largely ceremonial. But often the distinction comes with tangible advantages in terms of legal or tax status, ownership of real estate or other property, and access to financial support from the state. In addition, countries with state-endorsed (or ‘established’) faiths tend to more severely regulate religious practice, including placing restrictions or bans on minority religious groups.”

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3 comments on “More than 20% of countries have official state religions – survey

  • @OP – But often the distinction comes with tangible advantages in terms of legal or tax status, ownership of real estate or other property, and access to financial support from the state. In addition, countries with state-endorsed (or ‘established’) faiths tend to more severely regulate religious practice, including placing restrictions or bans on minority religious groups.”

    Favouritism for members of the chosen theocracy!

    Nothing new about religion sucking up to power-groups and elite power groups sucking up to religious hierarchies!

    Most of the atrocious tyrants of the world have had religious connections and support!



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  • However, despite a state religion in the UK, the numbers in congregations are fading quickly! – especially the numbers of the educated young!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41720994

    There are no children in the smallest 25% of the Church of England’s congregations, figures have shown.

    On average, nine children attended each service across all Church of England churches in 2016 – a “sobering reminder of the long-term challenge we face”, the church’s ruling body said.

    Usual Sunday attendance at church in 2016 was 739,000 people – 14% lower than in 2006.
    (from a 2016 UK population of 65½ million)

    The number of baptisms, marriages, and funerals held in Church of England churches have also declined since 2006, with the largest change seen in a 39% decline in funerals at crematoria and cemeteries.

    The decline in church attendance in the last decade is higher in children than adults.

    Also: –

    110 Anglican churches closed in Wales in 10 years
    Dramatic drop in church attendance in Scotland



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