Religion is open and tolerated in Costa Rica. There's a state religion, recognized by the Constitution, but no limitations on the practice of other religions. The main rule for practice of religion in Costa Rica is "your liberty ends where my rights begin". You're free to practice what you like, as long as it doesn't bother or harm others who do not practice your religion.
The Catholic faith is the oficially recognized religion in Costa Rica. This is established by the Constitution. Teaching of religion in public schools, however, has become pretty much optional. Public schools have no real religious orientation, and it's for the most part private schools that advertise religion as part of the curriculum.
Though the state recognizes the Catholic faith as its faith, clergymen are forbidden from practicing politics or forming political parties. By law, they cannot take part in distribution of political propaganda, in any form. Citizens of religions different from Catholic can take part in politics and be elected, no matter what their religion is.
The Catholic Church has the right to express its opinion in matters of State, and most of the time out of courtesy they receive audience. The government has no obligation to hear them out or act on what they're saying, but they do so on occasion. The influence of the Catholic Church has been especially notorious in subjects such as sex education, reproductive and genetic therapies, birth control, and same sex marriage.
The Catholic Church has come under fire in the past few years, after many scandals and nonsense arguments with the government. There's an open debate currently on passing constitutional reform to remove religion from the state altogether, though it's not expected to lead to anything important in the next few years.
Though it is claimed that 70% of the population subscribes to the Catholic Faith, this percentage takes into account both practicing and non practicing Catholics, as well as non believers who identify themselves as Catholic simply due to their family history. Practicing catholics are probably much less than 70% of the population.
Other religions and churches exist in Costa Rica, and openly practice their faith. There's also a wide variety of people who subscribe to different religions that aren't necessarily established in the country. Among the most commonly seen religions and variations in CR:
- Hare Krishna
- Bobo Ashanti (Rastafari)
- Pastafaris and CoFSM
- New age and old world cults such as wiccan, paganism, druidism, etc.
Atheists and non believersEdit
A part of the population openly identifies as non believers or atheist. It's estimated they make up around 2% of the population.