Thursday, 7 November 2019
Religious Beliefs In The Bahamas
The Bahamas has an area of 13,939 square miles with a population of about 340,000 people. Of this population, more than 91% identify with a religion. Many residents of the Bahamas regularly attend religious services. The religious profile of the Bahamas reflects diversity. The majority of the population belongs to Protestant denominations such as Methodism, Adventism, Pentecostalism, Baptist churches, and Anglicanism.
Statistically speaking, the Baptists, Anglicans, and Pentecostals are the major Protestant denominations accounting for 35%, 15% and 8% of the Protestant population respectively. The Church of God and the Seventh-day Adventist each account for 5% of the Protestant population, while the Methodists hold 4%.
14% of the Bahamian population belongs to the Roman Catholic church. There are also significant Greek Orthodox populations in the Bahamas.
Smaller religious communities in the Bahamas are Muslims, Jehovah Witnesses, Baha’i, Jewish, and African Shamanism. A small number of people in the Bahamas identify as Rastafari. A small number of residents practice Hinduism and other South Asian religions.
Obeah, a version of voodoo, is practiced by a small percentage of Bahamians and Haitians. This version of voodoo is normally practiced by those living in the Family Islands.
Religious Freedom in the Bahamas
The constitution of the country provides for freedom of religion. Other laws and policies enhance the free practice of religion and the government of Bahamas respects religious freedom in practice.
The Bahamian constitution guarantees the right to practice the religion of one’s choice. The constitution forbids infringement of a person’s freedom to choose and change their religion. The constitution also forbids any societal abuses and discriminations on the basis of religious belief, practice, and affiliation.
Because Christianity is the dominant religion, strong Christian Heritage and Christian themes are often referred to in public and political discourse. The government observes Christian national holidays such as Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter Monday. In government schools, religion is recognized as an academic subject. Religion as a subject is included in certificate tests for all students.
By Sundra Chelsea Atitwa
•culled from www.worldatlas.com