The legal notion of "traditional" religions in Lithuania and its sociopolitical consequences

Lithuania formally distinguishes between what it terms "traditional," "state-recognized," "registered," and "unregistered" religions. Though constitutionally Lithuania is a secular state and all religions are declared equal vis-à-vis the state, religious commu...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal of law and religion
Main Author: Račius, Egdūnas 1973-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2020]
In:Journal of law and religion
Year: 2020, Volume: 35, Issue: 1, Pages: 61-78
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B Lithuania / Religious policy / Equality / Religion / Definition
Further subjects:B regime of governance of religion
B "traditional" churches and religious organizations
B Muslims in Lithuania
B "traditional" religious communities
B Islam in Lithuania
Online Access: Verlag
Presumably Free Access
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Description
Summary:Lithuania formally distinguishes between what it terms "traditional," "state-recognized," "registered," and "unregistered" religions. Though constitutionally Lithuania is a secular state and all religions are declared equal vis-à-vis the state, religious communities recognized as "traditional" have, nonetheless, been favored by the state. They have been granted preferential treatment both in the legislation and extralegal handling by various state actors and institutions. At the same time, traditional religious communities are formally equal among themselves and vis-à-vis the state. However, the size of their membership puts them into two distinct camps. While the Catholic community constitutes 77 percent of the country's population, the remaining eight traditional religious communities together hardly make up 6 percent, of which 4 percent are Orthodox, with Lutherans, Calvinists, Greek Catholics, Old Believers, Judaists, Karaites, and Sunni Muslims making up the remaining numbers. This article focuses on one of the smaller traditional religious communities, Sunni Muslims, and through this example seeks to show looming complications arising from the current legal system for the governance of religion in Lithuania, which, as a country, starts inter alia being affected by the appearance of revivalist and other "nontraditional" forms of Islam on its territory. The article argues that with the changing makeup of the Lithuanian religious landscape - not related only to Islam - the current system of the governance of religion is not only outdated but also unsustainable and needs to be thoroughly overhauled to come more in line with the developing social reality.
ISSN:2163-3088
Contains:Enthalten in: Journal of law and religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1017/jlr.2020.9