Although the law permits Mayan spiritual groups to conduct religious ceremonies at Mayan historical sites on government-owned property, some Mayan leaders stated the government continued to limit their access to some religious sites on the grounds that many Mayan archeological sites are now national parks or protected areas. Such limitations included requiring all visitors, including Mayans, to pay admission fees to access the religious sites. Mayan spiritual groups noted that at certain sites authorities also required Mayans to apply in advance for permission to hold religious ceremonies. Mayan leaders stated they should have unrestricted access to all sacred sites (an estimated 2,000 locations on both public and private land), and the right to manage and protect them. In 2008 the Asociacion Oxlajuj Ajpop introduced an initiative to the congress for a sacred sites law, but the draft legislation has been referred to various committees with no action taken.
There was no national framework for determining the nature or content of religious instruction. The Ministry of Education continued to consult with religious groups on a national values program called Living Together in Harmony that integrated general values common to the groups consulted, such as honesty, fraternity, responsibility, and respect, without citing religion or religious teachings, into school curricula.
There was considerable discussion regarding a bill introduced to the national congress in July by Representative Marvin Osorio that would require Biblical education in all public schools. Among the strong supporters of the bill were members of the evangelical community, while other religious leaders, some members of civil society, and Ministry of Education representatives expressed opposition. When the spokesperson for the Guatemalan Secular Humanist Association went before the congress on July 15 to speak against the proposed law, much of the audience, which included representatives from Catholic and evangelical churches, responded with boos, insults, and threats. The bill had not progressed through the legislative process by year’s end.
The government required foreign missionaries to obtain tourist visas, which authorities issued for renewable periods of three months. After renewing their tourist visas once, foreign missionaries could apply for temporary residence. Several missionaries, even some in the country for several years, reported they chose to remain on tourist visas to avoid the complicated procedure of applying for temporary residence.