eurel     Sociological and legal data on religions in Europe and beyond
You are here : Home » Germany » Law and religion » Legal framework » Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom

The central standard of constitutional law on religion is religious freedom, set out in article 4 (1 and 2) GG. Individual religious freedom aims at protecting the personal freedom to have beliefs, the freedom to confess or spread one’s faith and to behave according to one’s beliefs and religious doctrines. The right to reject any set of beliefs and live without religious beliefs is also protected.
This fundamental right is interpreted expansively in the jurisprudence of Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. It is guaranteed without any legislative reservations. In this respect, religious freedom, in German Constitutional Law, goes even further than article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Through the religious freedom of collective bodies, religious communities are guaranteed the right to unite and administer their affairs independently, especially with regard to religious doctrines and the selection of their officials. The right to religious freedom for collective bodies is guaranteed within the limits of the law applicable to all citizens (article 140 GG and article 137 (3) WRV). The freedom to form religious associations is also guaranteed (article 140 GG and article 137 (2) WRV).

The fundamental right of religious freedom constitutes the basis of other standards in Religious rights, with regards to religious instruction in state schools (article 7 (3) GG), chaplaincies in public institutions (article 140 GG and article 141 GG WRV) or the legal status of corporations under public law that is available to religious communities (article 140 GG and article 137 (5) WRV). All of these rules are viewed, especially in the jurisprudence of the Constitution Court in Karlsruhe, as instruments that help promote and achieve religious freedom.

D 19 July 2012    AMichael Heinig

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

Follow us:
© 2002-2023 eurel - Contact