Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka

Constitution of Sri Lanka

Article 10 of the Constitution states, "Every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice".

State Patronage

Although the Sri Lankan Constitution gives the foremost place for Buddhism because it is the religion of the overwhelming majority (76%), there is no discrimination against other religions.  Four departments have been set up under the Ministry of Religious Affairs to deal with Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Islamic affairs. The State extends its patronage to them by providing grants, supporting denominational schools and religious education outside the school system. National holidays have been declared for the major religious festivals of other religious groups.

As a result of non discrimination, there is one church for every 600 Christians whereas there is one Buddhist temple for 1416 Buddhists.  In addition to the over 2000 mainstream churches there are over 200 Christian Evangelical organizations registered in Sri Lankan with the Registrar of Companies with branches throughout the country. Numerous unregistered prayer centres, variously estimated to be over another 2000 engage in religious activity including prostelization.