Monday, June 25, 2012

Religion Provisions of the Constitution of Ecuador (2008)

One of my current research projects involves analysis of the religion provisions of various constitutions enacted since the year 2000. From time to time on this blog, I'll post extracts of those provisions arranged according to categories such as "Religious Freedom" (guarantee of individual rights), "Established Religion" (joining religion and government), "Establishment Clause" (separating religion and government), "Ceremonial Deism" (symbolic references to religion that have little or no legal effect), "Equal Protection of Religion" (non-discrimination guarantees), "Preamble", "Religious Education", and "Religious Limitations".

The 2008 Constitution of Ecuador has two provisions that are particularly interesting.  First, the religious freedom guarantee explicitly protects "those who profess no religion whatsoever", which is something of a rarity.  Second, education guarantee specifically allows for State funding of "mixed public and religious education" within certain limits.

Ecuador Constitution 2008


INVOKING the name of God and recognizing our diverse forms of religion and spirituality,

Establishment Clause

Article 1. Ecuador is a constitutional State of rights and justice, a social, democratic, sovereign, independent, unitary, intercultural, multinational and secular State.

Equal Protection of Religion

Article 11(2)  No one shall be discriminated against for reasons of ethnic belonging, place of birth, age, sex, gender identity, cultural identity, civil status, language, religion

Religious Freedom

Article 66(8)  The right to practice, keep, change, profess in public or private one’s religion or beliefs and to disseminate them individually or collectively, with the constraints imposed by respect for the rights of others.
The State shall protect voluntary religious practice, as well the expression of those who profess no religion whatsoever, and shall favor an environment of plurality and tolerance.

Religious Education

Article 348  The State shall fund special education and shall be able to financially support mixed public and religious education, arts and crafts, and community education, as long as they abide by the principles of an education that is free of charge, mandatory and ensuring equality of opportunities, are held accountable for the results of education and the management of public resources, and are duly qualified in accordance with the law.

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