State religions

Official state religions

A state religion exists in numerous countries, although the forms are quite different. Currently, no country goes so far as to actually mandate religion. However, only a few faiths will receive active support - in most cases, only one.
Official state religions on the world map
Countries with constitutional state religion
Countries with public reference to a religion or church

Characteristics of of state religions

Essentially, there are 3 different types of a state denomination:
  1. Positioning to a religion
    In all countries that specify a particular religion in their constitution today, freedom of religion prevails. Nevertheless, the state takes a stand in its constitution and sides with an individual denomination. This is usually for historical reasons, when a religion clearly predominates in the country and has shaped society over many generations. However, this form does not go beyond a mere mention of the religion, which is why it is not usually referred to as a "state religion".
  2. Preference for one religion
    In the next stage, one religion is actually favored. Here, religious institutions are supported organizationally and ideally, as well as financially, while other religions do not receive this preference. In most of these countries, the head of state himself must profess this religion.
  3. Unity of state and religion
    The clearest form of a state religion or state church turns into a theocracy, i.e., an inseparable connection between church and state. The state is run according to religious aspects and, through this identification, also determines laws and social rules. A free choice of religion may still exist, but the state takes on the task of actively promoting a religion and defending it against outside influences. It is not uncommon for the head of state to also be the head of the respective church.

Countries with official state religion

AfghanistanSunni Islam
AlgeriaSunni Islam
BangladeshSunni Islam
BhutanTibetan Buddhism
BruneiSunni Islam
CambodiaTheravada Buddhism
ComorosSunni Islam
Costa RicaCatholic and Apostolic Church
DenmarkFolkekirken (Evangelical Lutheran)
DjiboutiSunni Islam
EgyptSunni Islam
Faroe IslandsFólkakirkjan (Evangelical Lutheran)
GreeceGreek Orthodox Church
GreenlandFolkekirken (Evangelical Lutheran)
GuernseyChurch of England (Anglican)
IcelandChurch of Iceland (Evangelical Lutheran)
IranShiite Islam
Isle of ManChurch of England (Anglican)
JerseyChurch of England (Anglican)
JordanSunni Islam
KuwaitSunni Islam
LibyaSunni Islam
LiechtensteinCatholic Church
MalaysiaSunni Islam
MaldivesSunni Islam
MaltaCatholic and Apostolic Church
MauritaniaSunni Islam
MonacoCatholic and Apostolic Church
MoroccoSunni Islam
MyanmarTheravada Buddhism
NorwayNorwegian Church (Evangelical Lutheran)
OmanIbadi Islam
PakistanSunni Islam
PalestineSunni Islam
QatarSunni Islam
SamoaChristianity (esp. non-denominational Christianity)
Saudi ArabiaSunni Islam
SomaliaSunni Islam
Sri LankaTheravada Buddhism
TuvaluChurch of Tuvalu (Calvinism)
United Arab EmiratesSunni Islam
United KingdomEngland: Church of England (Anglican), Scotland: Church of Scotland (Calvinist)
VaticanRoman Catholic Church
Western SaharaIslam
ZambiaChristianity in general

Countries only with confession

AndorraRoman Catholic Church
ArgentinaRoman Catholic Church
ArmeniaArmenian Apostolic Church
BulgariaBulgarian Orthodox Church
CyprusGreek Orthodox Church of Cyprus
Dominican RepublicCatholic Church
El SalvadorCatholic Church
FinlandEvangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
GeorgiaGeorgian Orthodox Church
GuatemalaCatholic Church
HaitiCatholic Church
HungaryChristianity in general
ItalyCatholic Church
NicaraguaChristianity in general
PanamaCatholic Church
ParaguayCatholic Church
PeruCatholic Church
PolandRoman Catholic Church
PortugalPortuguese Catholic Church
SpainCatholic Church
SwedenChurch of Sweden (Evangelical Lutheran)
ThailandTheravada Buddhism
Timor-LesteCatholic Church
TunisiaSunni Islam

The differentiation between the individual characteristics is often not easy. Individual characteristics are often found in different degrees. For example, the king of the United Kingdom is also the head of the Church of England (not the rest of Great Britain). However, there is no theocratic government.

Moreover, even a regional limitation to entire states is not always possible. While most of Russia belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church and considers itself a secular state, subordinate republics are free to set their own priorities. For example, the government of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia supports and promotes Buddhism. England and Scotland, as parts of the United Kingdom, also have different preferences.

The situation is more complex in countries such as China, Indonesia, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Here, from a constitutional point of view, there is no state religion and no single denomination is preferred. Instead, these countries recognize several different churches or religions and ignore others entirely. Singapore recognizes 10 religions, China 5, and Lebanon 18. In Switzerland, most of the 26 cantons support both the Swiss Reformed Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

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