The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom.
The government is secular. The constitution states that all persons are free to profess their chosen religious belief and to engage in ceremonies and acts of worship. Congress may not enact laws that establish or prohibit any religion. The constitution also provides for the separation of church and state. The Religious Associations and Public Worship Law defines the administrative remedies that protect the right to religious freedom. The constitution prohibits any form of discrimination, including on the basis of religion.
The federal government coordinates religious affairs through the Secretariat of Government. The General Directorate for Religious Associations (DGAR) promotes religious tolerance through public information campaigns and conflict mediation and investigates cases of religious intolerance. The DGAR has translated the Religious Associations and Public Worship Law into four indigenous languages. If parties present a dispute based on allegations of religious intolerance to the DGAR, it attempts to mediate a solution. If mediation fails, the parties may submit the issue to the DGAR for binding arbitration. If the parties do not agree to this procedure, one or the other may elect to seek judicial redress. Most states have specific offices dedicated to religious affairs; Chiapas, Guerrero, and Nuevo Leon have undersecretaries for religious affairs.
The government requires religious groups to apply for a permit to construct new buildings or convert existing buildings into houses of worship. Any religious building constructed since 1992 is the property of the religious association that built it. All religious buildings erected before 1992 are classified as part of the national patrimony, owned by the state, and exempt from taxes.
The law permits religious groups to operate informally without registering with the government; however, for a religious group to obtain legal status, it must register with the DGAR as a religious association. To register, a group must articulate its fundamental doctrines and religious beliefs, not be organized primarily for profit, and not promote acts that are physically harmful or dangerous to its members. Religious groups must be registered to negotiate contracts and purchase or rent land, apply for official building permits, receive tax exemptions, and hold religious meetings outside their customary places of worship.
Religious associations must notify the government of their intention to hold a religious meeting outside of a licensed place of worship. Thousands of notifications are typically submitted every year, and the government routinely approves such requests. Religious associations may not hold any sort of political meeting.
Religious groups may not own or administer broadcast radio or television stations. Government permission is required for commercial broadcast radio or television to transmit religious programming.
The constitution states that public education must be secular, but religious groups are free to maintain private schools. Primary level homeschooling for religious reasons is not explicitly prohibited or supported by the law; however, to enter a secondary school, one must have attended an accredited primary school. Homeschooling is allowed at the secondary level after schooling at an accredited primary school has been completed.
The constitution bars members of the clergy from holding public office, advocating partisan political views, supporting political candidates, or opposing the laws or institutions of the state.
The government observes Christmas Day as a national holiday; however, most employers also grant Holy Thursday, Good Friday, All Souls’ Day, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Christmas Eve to employees as paid holidays.