Religion in Panama

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Iglesia San Pedro, Taboga Island, Panama. The Iglesia San Pedro is the second-oldest colonial church in the Western Hemisphere.[1]

The government of Panama does not collect statistics on the religious affiliation of citizens, but various sources estimate that 75 to 85 percent of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15 to 25 percent as evangelical Christian.[2] The Bahá'í Faith community of Panama is estimated at 2.00% of the national population, or about 60,000[3] including about 10% of the Guaymí population;[4] the Bahá'ís maintain one of the world's seven Baha'i Houses of Worship in Panama.[2]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) claim more than 40,000 members.[5] Smaller religious groups include Buddhists with between 15,000 and 20,000 members, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Episcopalians with between 7,000 and 10,000 members, Jewish and Muslim communities with approximately 10,000 members each, Hindus, and other Christians.[2] Indigenous religions include Ibeorgun (among Kuna) and Mamatata (among Ngobe).[2] There is also a small number of Rastafarians.[2]

Bahá'í House of Worship, Panama City, Panama

Catholics are found throughout the country and at all levels of society.[2] Evangelical Christians also are dispersed geographically and are becoming more prominent in society.[2] The mainstream Protestant denominations, which include Southern Baptist Convention and other Baptist congregations, United Methodist, Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas, and Lutheran, derive their membership from the Antillean black and the expatriate communities, both of which are concentrated in Panamá and Colón Provinces.[2] The Jewish community is centered largely in Panama City.[2] Muslims live primarily in Panama City and Colon, with smaller concentrations in David and other provincial cities.[2] The vast majority of Muslims are of Lebanese, Palestinian, or Indian descent.[2]

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, with some qualifications, and the Government generally respected this right in practice.[2] The US government reported that there were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice in 2007.[2]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Katzman, Patricia. Panama. Hunter Publishing (2005), p106. ISBN 1-58843-529-6.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Panama. 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.
  3. ^ "Panama". WCC > Member churches > Regions > Latin America > Panama. World Council of Churches. 2006-01-01. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  4. ^ International Community, Bahá'í (October–December 1994). "In Panama, some Guaymis blaze a new path". One Country 1994 (October–December). 
  5. ^ Panama. LDS Newsroom. Retrieved 2008-12-13

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