There is no distinct separation between church and state. The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom. The criminal code prohibits any form of discrimination against or debasement of any religion or its adherents. According to the constitution, Roman Catholicism is the state religion “with full protection from the state.” As such, it receives higher government subsidies than other religious organizations, holds a guaranteed role in education and religious teaching in schools, and has a voice in the political and legal decision-making process.
Funding for religious institutions comes from the municipalities and from the general budget, according to parliamentary decisions. The government provides Catholic and Protestant churches annual contributions in proportion to membership; smaller religious groups are eligible to apply for grants for associations of foreigners or specific projects. The two main representative bodies of the Muslim community (the Islamische Gemeinschaft and the Tuerkischer Verein) are collaborating with the government to establish an umbrella organization that receives state contributions to be used equitably for all Muslims residing in the country. The Umbrella Organization for Islamic communities of Eastern Switzerland (DIGO) also represents Muslim interests in the country. All religious groups have tax-exempt status.
Religious education is part of the curriculum at public schools. Catholic or Protestant religious education is compulsory in all primary schools, but the authorities routinely grant exemptions for children whose parents request them. The Catholic Church determines the Catholic curriculum, with minimal supervision from municipalities. The municipalities of Balzers, Triesen, and Planken supervise most closely. Some primary schools offer Islamic education.
At the secondary school level, parents and students choose between traditional confessional education their religious community organizes and a “Religion and Culture” course. The government provides financial support to some smaller denominations that choose to offer religious education classes at their churches outside regular school hours.
To receive a religious worker visa, applicants must have completed theological studies, be a member of a nationally recognized religious group, and be sponsored by a registered member of the official religious group’s clergy. The Immigration and Passport Office normally processes visa requests for religious workers. The government subsequently issues residency permits.
The government grants the Muslim community a residency permit for one imam and one short-term residency permit for an additional imam during Ramadan. The government grants short-term residency permits primarily to the imams of the Turkish Association and other foreign Muslim institutions who agree not to allow or preach sermons that incite violence or advocate intolerance.
The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Epiphany, Candlemas, Good Friday, Easter, Easter Monday, Ascension, Whit Sunday, Whit Monday, The Nativity of Mary, All Saints’ Day, Immaculate Conception, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Saint Stephen’s Day. Assumption Day (August 15) is celebrated as National Day.