Religion in Kiribati

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search





Circle frame.svg

Religion in Kiribati (2015)[1][2]

  Roman Catholic (55.8%)
  Mormon (4.7%)
  Adventist (2.0%)
  Bahá'í (2.3%)
  Other[a] (1.6%)
  not stated/none (.3%)

According to 2012 government statistics, Christian groups form about 96% of the Kiribati population by census counts, most of whom are either Catholic or Kiribati Uniting Church.[1] Persons with no religious affiliation account for about .05% of the population.[1] Members of the Catholic Church are concentrated in the northern islands, while Protestants are the majority in the southern islands.[3]

Missionaries introduced Christianity into the area in the mid-19th century.[3] Missionaries continue to be present and operate freely.[3] The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respects this right.[3] Societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice occur, but are relatively infrequent.[3]

Mormons[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints claims 17,462 members in 26 congregations in 2016 though the 2010 census had only 4,802 people identifying as Mormon.[4]

Bahá'í Faith[edit]

The only substantial non-Christian population is of the Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'í Faith in Kiribati begins after 1916 with a mention by `Abdu'l-Bahá, then head of the religion, that Bahá'ís should take the religion to the Gilbert Islands which form part of modern Kiribati.[5] The first Bahá'ís pioneered to the island of Abaiang(aka Charlotte Island, of the Gilbert Islands), on March 4, 1954.[6] They encountered serious opposition from some Catholics on the islands and were eventually deported and the first convert banished to his home island.[7] However, in one year there was a community of more than 200 Bahá'ís[8] and a Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly.[9] Three years later the island where the first convert was sent to was found to now have 10 Bahá'ís. By 1963 there were 14 assemblies.[10]

As the Ellice Islands gained independence as Tuvalu and the Gilbert Islands and others formed Kiribati, the communities of Bahá'ís also reformed into separate institutions of National Spiritual Assemblies in 1981.[11] The Bahá'ís had established a number schools by 1963[10] and there are still such today - indeed the Ootan Marawa Bahá'í Vocational Institute being the only teacher training institution for pre-school teachers in Kiribati.[6] The census figures are consistently between 2 and 3% for the Bahá'ís while the Bahá'ís claim numbers above 17%.[7] All together the Bahá'ís now claim more than 10,000 local people have joined the religion over the last 50 years and there are 38 local spiritual assemblies.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The 2010 census lists the smaller religions as Te Koaua (0.41%), Assembly of God (0.38%), Church of God (0.35%), and Muslim (0.12%).[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Report on the Kiribati 2010 Census of Population and Housing - Volume 1: Basic Information and Tables" (PDF). National Statistics Office. August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Kiribati". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "International Religious Freedom Report for 2014: Kiribati". United States State Department. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Facts and Statistics: Kiribati". News Room. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  5. ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá (1991) [1916-17]. Tablets of the Divine Plan (Paperback ed.). Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 40–42. ISBN 0-87743-233-3. 
  6. ^ a b c Bahá'í International Community (2004-03-04). "Sailing in for a jubilee". Bahá'í World News Service. 
  7. ^ a b Hassall, Graham (1996). "Bahá'í Faith in the Asia Pacific Issues and Prospects". Bahá'í Studies Review 6. pp. 1–10. 
  8. ^ Finau, Makisi; Teeruro Ieuti; Jione Langi (1992). Forman, Charles W., ed. Island Churches: Challenge and Change. Pacific Theological College and Institute for Pacific Studies. pp. 101–2, 107. ISBN 978-982-02-0077-7. 
  9. ^ Graham, Hassall (1992). "Pacific Baha'i Communities 1950-1964". In Rubinstein, Donald H. (ed). Pacific History: Papers from the 8th Pacific History Association Conference. University of Guam Press & Micronesian Area Research Center, Guam. pp. 73–95. 
  10. ^ a b Compiled by Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land. "The Bahá'í Faith: 1844-1963: Information Statistical and Comparative, Including the Achievements of the Ten Year International Bahá'í Teaching & Consolidation Plan 1953-1963". pp. 26, 28. 
  11. ^ Hassall, Graham; Universal House of Justice. "National Spiritual Assemblies statistics 1923-1999". Assorted Resource Tools. Bahá'í Library Online. Retrieved 2008-04-02.