National Profiles > Regions > Central America > Panama
Search National Profiles:

  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Catholic

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (59.4%)

Features Of Constitution

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


Constitution Year4 1972
Last Amended4 2004
Source4 Political Database of the Americas
Translation4 Unofficial translation by ARDA staff from Spanish source
Current as of4 May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)4


With the ultimate aims of strengthening the Nation, guaranteeing freedom, ensuring democracy and institutional stability, exalting human dignity, promoting social justice, the general welfare and regional integration, and invoking the protection of God, we do ordain the Constitution of the Republic of Panama.

Article 19

There will be no privileges or discrimination based on race, birth, disability, social class, sex, religion or political views.

Article 35

The profession of all religions is free, as is the exercise of all religions, with no limitation other than the respect for Christian morality and public order. It is recognized that the Catholic religion is the religion of the majority of Panamanians.

Article 36

Religious associations have legal capacity and manage and administer their property within the limits prescribed by law, just as other legal persons may.

Article 45

Ministers of religious groups, in addition to the functions inherent in their mission, may only serve in public posts that relate to the social welfare, education or scientific research.

Article 63

Equal work under identical circumstances shall always correspond to equal wages or salaries no matter who performs it, regardless of sex, nationality, age, race, social class, or religious or political ideas.

Article 90

The State recognizes and respects the ethnic identity of national indigenous communities, will implement programs designed to develop the material, social and spiritual values of their cultures and will create an institution for the study, preservation and dissemination of their cultures and languages, thus promoting the development of these groups of people.

Article 94

Freedom of education is guaranteed and the right to establish private schools is recognized, subject to the Law. The State may intervene in private educational institutions to fulfill the national and social educational goals and the pupils’ intellectual, moral, civic and physical formation of the pupils.
Public education is provided by official government agencies and private education is provided by private entities.
Educational institutions, whether public or private, are open to all students, regardless of race, social status, political views, religion or the nature of the union of their parents or guardians.
The law shall regulate both public education and education.

Article 107

The Catholic religion will be taught in public scholars, but learning about the religion and attending religious services will not be mandatory upon the request of parents or guardians.

Article 139

The formation of political parties on the basis of sex, race or religion, or that put forth the destruction of the democratic form of government, is not permitted.

Article 181

The President and the Vice President will take their respective offices before the National Assembly on the first day of July following their election, and will be sworn in using the following terms:
"I swear to God and to the Fatherland to obey the Constitution and the laws of the Republic."
A citizen who does not profess a religious belief can dispense with the invocation of God in his oath.

Article 300

Civil servants shall be of Panamanian nationality and will hold their offices without discrimination due to race, sex, religion or political beliefs and activism.
Civil servants are governed by the merit system; the stability of their positions will be subject to their competence, loyalty and morality in their service.

[Note: The constitutional text hosted by the Political Database of the Americas is reproduced from official go


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.

Bookmark and Share