Freedom of religion


August 20, 2022

Freedom of religion refers to the right to choose or not to choose religion according to one's will. Religious freedom is now taken for granted, but until the 18th century, religious freedom was suppressed in Europe. In particular, in countries where the Roman Catholic Church is the state religion, such as Spain, France, and Italy, it is forbidden by law to believe in any religion other than Catholicism. This religious oppression was gradually alleviated through the spread of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, and today, with the exception of some, such as one-party countries and religious fundamentalist countries, democratic countries prohibit state religion in any country, guaranteeing freedom of religion.

Scope of religious freedom

right to choose religion The right not to be compelled to believe in one's religion right not to be religious

Freedom of Religion by Country

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

According to Marxism, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea "consides religion as a means of domination by the ruling class over the people", "Christianity is an instrument of American imperialism's aggression," and democratic content that makes claims against the powerful as seen in the Bible. Individual religious freedom is not recognized except for external religious events mobilized by the state for the same reason.


Goryeo adopted Buddhism and Joseon made Confucianism the state religion, but other religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, and shamanism were the exceptions, and there was freedom of religion. In particular, in the case of the Joseon royal family, since the founding of the country started with Master Muhak, Buddhism was used as the royal religion, and Buddhism as a folk religion was actively suppressed and the temples were driven into the mountains. Article 20 of the Constitution of the Republic of Korea states, “All citizens shall have freedom of religion. The state religion is not recognized, and religion and politics are separated.”

Case law

Freedom of religious propagation cannot be said to guarantee citizens the right to exercise them freely at any place of their choosing, and the protection of life, body and property of citizens by the state as well as areas where the arbitrary place is not under the sovereignty of the Republic of Korea. This is especially true in the case of overseas endangered areas, where When religious education is implemented in the form of schools or hagwons, it is within the scope of the legislative discretion of the legislature under Article 31 (6) of the Constitution to have the state prepare the minimum standards for facilities and curriculum necessary for school establishment and obtain approval for school establishment. Therefore, it does not infringe on freedom of religion. It is not against the Constitution for universities to require the completion of credits for specific religious subjects as a condition of graduation. Religious organizations can have their religion educated at the university they have established, but even in this case, students who do not believe in that religion have freedom of religion. For students who are forcibly assigned to a private high school established by a religious organization according to the high school equalization policy, the school conducts religious classes that spread the doctrine of a specific religion, creating an atmosphere in which refusal to participate is virtually impossible and no alternative courses are offered. This does not take into account the basic rights of non-religious students and infringes on the student's personal legal interests regarding religion.

List of countries without religious freedom

Saudi Arabia Iran Pakistan Yemen Afghanistan Mauritania Somalia Maldive Islands Vatican City The Democratic People's Republic of Korea China (the religious population of mainland China is Buddhism: 15.87%;