Encyclopedia of Law and Religion

Get access Subject: Law

Edited by: Gerhard Robbers and W. Cole Durham

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In recent years, issues of freedom of religion or belief and state-religion relations have become increasingly important worldwide. The Encyclopedia of Law and Religion, unique in its breadth and global coverage, provides an important foundational resource for study of these issues. The encyclopedia covers the relation between law and religion in its various aspects, including those related to the role of religion in society, the relations between religion and state institutions, freedom of religion, legal aspects of religious traditions, the interaction between law and religion, and other issues at the junction of law, religion, and state.

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Equatorial Guinea

(818 words)

Author(s): Bryant T. Hinckley
I. Social Facts The United States Department of State estimates that 700,000 people live in Equatorial Guinea. Of these, 93% of are thought to be Roman Catholic, 6% Protestant and other Christian denominations, and 1% of other faiths including Muslims and Bahá’ís. Indigenous religious beliefs and practices also continue to be practiced. Although the government of Equatorial Guinea has expressed a preference for the Roman Catholic Church, there are no reports of social persecution of practitioners of other religions. II. Historical Background Equatorial Guinea consists of two …


(1,823 words)

Author(s): Lauren Marie Flores
I. Social Facts Only four religions are recognized by the Eritrean government: the Orthodox Church of Eritrea, the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church of Eritrea, and Sunni Islam. The population is approximately equally divided between Muslims and Christians, although religious affiliation statistics differ. The Eritrean government reports an even split, with 50% of the population Christian and 50% Sunni Muslim. The Pew Research Center, however, in 2010 estimated that 36% of the populatio…


(5,152 words)

Author(s): Merilin Kiviorg
I. Social Facts The Lutheran Church has been the largest religious institution in Estonia from the 16th century onward. During the first independence period (1918-1940) approximately 78% of the population belonged to the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELC). That figure refers to both active and passive members of the Church. The second-largest church was the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church (EAOC). According to the 1934 census, approximately 19% belonged to the latter church. When Estonia…


(5,511 words)

Author(s): Firew Kebede Tiba
I. Social Facts Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, is estimated to have a population of 93,877,025 (CIA World Fact Book, July 2013), while the 2007 national census puts the population at 73,918,505. According to this census, the composition of religions was: Orthodox 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.6%, traditional 2.6%, Catholic 0.7%, others 0.7%. If we combine the figures of Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic adherents, the country’s Christian population comes to 62.3% of the…

European Convention on Human Rights

(9,581 words)

Author(s): Javier Martínez-Torrón
I. The European Convention and the European Court The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is an international convention aimed at the protection of human rights in the countries that are members of the Council of Europe (see entry Council of Europe). It was signed in Rome, Italy on 4 November 1950 and entered into force on 3 September 1953. Within the Council of Europe system, the ECHR is commonly viewed as the main instrument for the protection of human rights and, therefore, for the protection of freedom of religion or belief. The reason is that…

European Union

(5,780 words)

Author(s): Gerhard Robbers
I. Social Facts Christianity is the largest religion in the European Union (EU) accounting for 72% of EU citizens. Catholics are 48% of EU citizens, the largest Christian group in the EU, while Protestants make up 12%, Christian Orthodox 8%, and other Christians 4%. Non-believers/Agnostics account for 16%, Atheists make up 7%, and Muslims 2%. Protestantism, in its form of Lutheranism and Calvinism or in churches that follow a unification of the two, is strong especially in the north of Europe, i.e. in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, parts of …