The constitution provides for freedom of religion, including freedom of worship and the free expression of all beliefs. The constitution recognizes the distinct legal personality of the Catholic Church. Non-Catholic religious groups must register with the Ministry of Government in order to enter into contracts or receive tax-exempt status. In April a court found the former mayor of San Juan La Laguna, Antonio Adolfo Perez y Perez, guilty of seeking to force out a community of ultraorthodox Jews in 2014 and sentenced him to one year in prison. Mayan spiritual leaders said the government continued to limit their access to some Mayan religious sites, including some located in national parks and in other protected areas where the government charges entrance fees. Non-Catholic groups, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stated that some municipal-level authorities still discriminated against them in processing permit approvals and in local tax collection.
Some Catholic clergy continued to report threats and harassment against them because of their association with environmental protection work. Some Mayan religious groups reported land owners continued to limit their access to Mayan religious sites on private property.
The U.S. embassy regularly held meetings with government officials from the executive and legislative branches in addition to leaders of religious groups to discuss issues of religious freedom, including threats against Catholic clergy, and the reported lack of access to Mayan spiritual sites. Embassy officials emphasized the value of tolerance and respect for religious diversity in meetings with various civil society and religious groups. In December the embassy posted on Facebook a note on the importance of appreciating freedom of religion, including the right to worship and freedom of conscience.