Marshall Islands
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Western Christian

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Protestant (incl. Anglican, Pentecostal) (76.3%)

Features Of Constitution

Is there a constitution?3 Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?3 Yes


Constitution Year4 1979
Last Amended4 1990
Source4 Parliament of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
Translation4 Original was written in English
Current as of4 May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)4


WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS, trusting in God, the Giver of our life, liberty, identity and our inherent rights, do hereby exercise these rights and establish for ourselves and generations to come this Constitution, setting forth the legitimate legal framework for the governance of the Republic.

Article II, Section 1: Freedom of Thought, Speech, Press, Religion, Assembly, Association, and Petition.

(1) Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and belief; to freedom of speech and of the press; to the free exercise of religion; to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
(2) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to invalidate reasonable restrictions imposed by law on the time, place, or manner of conduct, provided:
(a) the restrictions are necessary to preserve public peace, order, health, or security or the rights or freedoms of others;
(b) there exist no less restrictive means of doing so; and
(c) the restrictions do not penalize conduct on the basis of disagreement with the ideas or beliefs expressed.
(3) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to prevent government from extending financial aid to religiously supported institutions insofar as they furnish educational, medical or other services at no profit, provided such aid does not discriminate among religious groups or beliefs on the basis of a governmental preference for some religions over others, and provided such aid goes no further than:
(a) reimbursing users of educational, medical, or other nonprofit services for fees charged to such users; or
(b) reimbursing such institutions for costs incurred in providing such services,
but only with funds channeled through an organization open to all religious institutions that provide the services in question.

Article I, Section 11: Conscription and Conscientious Objection.

No person shall be conscripted to serve in the armed forces of the Republic of the Marshall Islands except in time of war or imminent danger of war as certified by the Cabinet, and no person shall be conscripted if, after being afforded a reasonable opportunity to do so, he has established that he is a conscientious objector to participation in war.

Article I, Section 12: Equal Protection and Freedom from Discrimination.

(1) All persons are equal under the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the laws.
(2) No law and no executive or judicial action shall, either expressly, or in its practical application, discriminate against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, place of birth, family status or descent.
(3) Nothing in this Section shall be deemed to preclude non-arbitrary preferences for citizens pursuant to law.


1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports the estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. The RCS was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivision within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

3.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

4.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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