Religion in Colombia
The Religion in Colombia is an expression of the different cultural heritages in the Colombian culture including the Spanish colonisation, the Native Amerindian and the Afro-Colombian.
The Colombian Constitution of 1991 abolished the previous condition of the Roman Catholic Church as state church, and it includes two articles providing for freedom of worship:
· Art. 13: States that "all people are legally born free and equal" and that they will not be discriminated on the basis of "sex, race, national or familial origin, language, religion, politic or philosophical opinion".
· Art. 19: Which expressly guarantees freedom of religion. "Freedom of religion is guaranteed. Every individual has the right to freely profess his/her religion and to disseminate it individually or collectively. All religious faiths and churches are equally free before the law.
Catholicism in Colombia
Catholicism was the official religion of the country since the Spanish colonization until the 1991 constitutional reform (National Constituent Assembly), which granted equalitarian treatment from the government to all the religions. However, Catholicism is still the main religion in Colombia by number of adepts, with an estimated of 75% of the national population in nominal Catholicism, from which about 25% are practicing catholics.
In the colonial period, the Catholic Church created and was in charge of most of the public institutions, such as teaching facilities (schools, colleges, universities, libraries, botanical gardens, astronomic observatories); health facilities (Hospitals, nurseries, leper hospitals) and jails. It also "inherited" a huge amount of land, aprox. 1/4th of all the productive land, which was later expropiated by a liberal government.
Colombia is often referred as the Country of the Sacred Heart, due to the annual consecration of the country to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a Te Deum directed by the President of the republic. Colombia has been re-consagrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and consacrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 2008, in a country-wide ceremony celebrated by the main Bishops and with the presence of the Colombian President (also a Catholic).
Some criticism against the Catholic Church included alleged negligence in the management of priests accused of acts pedophilia, which were never really as evident as in other countries but sometimes were treated with counseling and transferring the offender to a different parish without direct legal action. Also the involvement in political issues have been controversial, like in the bipartisan violence period (La Violencia) when the media and some dissident priests such as Fidel Blandon denounced that the Catholic Church for what they saw as an encouragement of the people to take violent actions against politically liberal opponents.
The Catholic Church, however is nowadays still the only recognized mediator in peace talks between ultra-left violent groups and the liberal government.
Syncretism in ColombiaSome syncretic religious figures in the country are: The healing ghost of José Gregorio Hernández, the Purgatory souls (Animas del Purgatorio), the Lonely Soul (Anima Sola), the Powerful hand, the Black Christ of Buga, Valle del Cauca, the 20th July Baby Jesus (Divine Infant Jesus), Father Marianito (beatified Mariano de Jesus Euse Hoyos 1845-1926), the fertility rites of St Isidro and local variations of syncretism from other countries, such as Santeria and Maria Lionza culture.
Protestantism in Colombia
About 1,503,400 persons (3,5 % of the population of Colombia) are Protestants. Protestant Christians present in Colombia are Baptists, Lutherans, Mennonites, Nazarenes, Pentecostals and Seventh-day Adventists. The government generally is in support of religious freedom. There is persecution by terrorist groups, including the FARC and the National Liberation Army. During the last five years more than 100 Evangelical church leaders were killed.
Roman Catholicism in Colombia
Colombia has a high percentage of catholics, with over 35 million adherents - 79,5% of the population. There are 74 dioceses and other territorial jurisdictions.
Catholicism was introduced in 1508. Two dioceses were organized in 1534. There was appreciable Church growth by the mid-17th century, in spite of the variety of Indian languages, government interference, and competition among religious orders. Some persecution followed the declaration of independence from Spain, in 1819.
The Catholic Church is currently organized into 13 ecclesiastical provinces, subdivided into 13 archdioceses and 52 dioceses total, given at List of Roman Catholic dioceses in Colombia.
Islam in Colombia
The statistics for Islam in Colombia estimate a total Muslim population of 10,000, representing 0.02 percent of the population. There are a number of Islamic organizations in Colombia, including Islamic centers in San Andrés, Bogotá, Guajira, Nariño, and Santa Marta. There are also primary and secondary Islamic schools in Bogotá and Maicao. Maicao plays host to the continent's second largest mosque, the Mosque of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab.
Over the past few years, Islam and the Arab-Muslim world seem to have entered even more poignantly into the Colombian imagination, gaining a presence in political discourse and strongly influencing popular culture.
It should be noted that most Arab immigrants to Colombia came during the first half of the 20th century and were Maronite Christians mainly from Lebanon.
Christianity in Colombia
More than 95 % of the population of Colombia are Christians. 81% are Roman Catholic.
· 10% are Non-evangelical Christians
· 3.5% are Evangelical Christians
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has about 180.000 member.