Mexico is a secular state. The country's constitution (art. 24) defines freedom of religion; everyone can freely choose religion at his own discretion, perform ceremonies, rites and duties of his religion in places of religious worship or in his home, provided that these ceremonies and rites are not a punishable violation of the law. All public acts of religious worship must be performed within the churches, which are always under the supervision of the authorities. Article 24 of the Constitution of Mexico states: «Everyone can freely choose a religion at his own discretion, and participate in ceremonies, initiations or acts of the cult concerned, unless they are a violation or a crime prosecuted by law» .
At the same time, the constitution clearly defines the separation of church and state and the possibility of state intervention in the religious sphere. Art. 3, p. 4, prohibit religious corporations, religious workers, associations and societies that promote any kind of religious doctrine from engaging in teaching. In 1992, the constitution was amended to regulate relations with the Roman Catholic Church and other religious organizations. For the first time in 80 years, voting rights were returned to priests and monks. Religious organizations are required to register with the Secretariat for Religious Affairs at the Federal Secretariat.
The dominant religion is Christianity, 89% of all believers profess Catholicism . The religious tradition of Mexico was formed under the influence of Catholicism and popular beliefs of the Indians. The records of the Spanish conquistadors contain reports of human sacrifices practiced by the Aztec priests. The Catholic Church eradicated the most brutal manifestations of paganism, but partially integrated some elements of the Native American religion into the everyday religiosity of the Mexicans. One of the most common folk cults is December 12th - the Day of the Apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. On the day of the holiday, numerous pilgrims come to the hill of Tepiak, where, according to legend, in 1531 the Indian, Juan Diego (canonized by the Catholic Church), met with the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. Many features of this holiday are directly borrowed from the beliefs of the Indians. On national holidays, Indians perform ritual dances, use ancient religious buildings, and make sacrifices. In remote areas of the country, Catholic priests have little influence on the spiritual life of their flock .
During the period of the national liberation struggle, the democratic forces used anticlerical slogans as a means of attracting the poorest segments of the population to their side. Up until the middle of the XIX century, the Catholic Church was one of the largest owners in Mexico, had extensive land and controlled the education system through specially trained preachers. Despite this, it was among the religious-minded intellectuals that the ideas of the Mexican revolution were developed. So, one of the leaders of the anti-colonial uprising Miguel Hidalgo was the rector of the Jesuit College. In 1876, the Catholic Church suffered a serious defeat in the political struggle. The liberal government conducted a consistent secularization of all spheres of society, including the closure of monasteries . Although the church was able to partially regain its lost influence, Catholicism in Mexico is not a state religion. The proportion of Mexicans who consider themselves Catholics has decreased in recent years from 96% in 1970 to 88% in 2000.
Orthodoxy in Mexico appeared along with the emigrants. The monastery of St. Anthony the Great in the city of Hilotepeke operates under the omophorion of the Antioch Patriarchate, led by His Eminence Metropolitan of Mexico and Anthony of America. In Mexico, there is a large community of Orthodox Christians - people from Lebanon, as well as Orthodox Greeks, Russians, Romanians, and Mexicans.
One of the controversial issues that split public opinion in Mexico was the problem of legalizing abortion. In 2007, despite the campaign of protest in the Christian media, a bill was passed that allowed artificial abortion. In November 2006, the legislature of Mexico also passed a law legalizing same-sex civil marriage .
Today, the number of Jews is about 45 thousand people. The first baptized Jews, who secretly professed Judaism, arrived in Mexico with the conquistadors in 1521. In 1825–1830, a large number of Jewish immigrants from Europe arrived in Mexico and the first synagogues opened. During the 19th and 20th centuries, tens of thousands of Jews, including from Russia, moved to Mexico. Currently, there are 23 synagogues in Mexico City, an International Jewish Cultural Center.
By the beginning of the 20th century, small groups of Protestants appeared in Mexico among the urban population (about 6% of the population today). Most Protestants belong to the neo-Pentecostal groups. About 6 million people in Mexico consider themselves followers of Seventh-day Adventists. Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons say that up to 1 million people are members of their organizations. Mormons first migrated to Mexico in 1875. Recently, the number of Mormons has increased significantly, especially in rural areas.
Muslims in Mexico live mainly in the closed communities of immigrants from countries where Islam is historically widespread (Turkey, Arab countries). There is a small group of Muslims among the indigenous people of Chiapas. In 1995 preachers of Islam arrived from Spain there. In 2005, among the followers of the Muslim religion were about 300 representatives of the Tsitsilian ethnic group of Mayan Indians.
The Center for the Promotion of Tibetan Buddhism in Mexico has been operating in Mexico since 1989 under the authority of Dalai Lama XIV. Buddhism is practiced by immigrants and a small group of urban intelligentsia. Three million Mexicans, according to the census, consider themselves atheists .
List of references
1. CONSTITUCION POLITICA DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Mexico_2015.pdf .
2. Segob: hay mаs ministros evangelicos que catolicos Milenio.com, 18.03.2019 http://www.milenio.com/node/196570
3. Religion and state, the role of religion in politics, 20.04.2019
4. Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Mexico // Operation World 2001. – London: Paternoster Publishing, 2001. – 798 p. – (Operation World Series). ISBN 1-8507-8357-8.