The constitution provides for freedom of thought, conscience, and belief, as well as for free exercise of religion and equal protection under the law, regardless of religious beliefs. It also provides for “reasonable restrictions” imposed by law on the time, place, or manner of conduct – provided they are the least restrictive necessary for public peace, order, health, or security or the rights or freedoms of others, and they do not penalize conduct based on a disagreement with the ideas or beliefs expressed. The constitution states that no law or legal action shall discriminate against any person on the basis of religion.
The constitution allows the government to extend financial aid to religiously supported institutions to provide nonprofit educational, medical, or social services, on the condition that such services do not discriminate among religious groups.
There are no requirements for the registration of religious groups.
The country is not a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Governmental functions, by custom, often began and ended with an ordained minister or other church official delivering a Christian prayer. While there was no religious education in public schools, most extracurricular school events began and ended with an interdenominational Christian prayer delivered by a minister. According to local residents, prayers before and after events have been a longstanding cultural practice and part of the widely accepted tradition of the country.
The government provided funding to 15 private religious schools during the year totaling $495,000 through grants from the public school system. The Catholic Queen of Peace School in Ebeye received the largest increase in funding of any school from the previous year. The Assembly of God Ebeye Calvary School and the nondenominational Jabro Private School received considerably less funding than the previous year. Private religious schools in Majuro, Kwajalein, and Jaluit received government funding based largely on enrollment, but also school performance and accreditation, according to government officials.
Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community reported that some prejudice against Muslims, while much lower than what was reported immediately after the 9/11 attacks, still contributed to government delays in approving certain humanitarian and social welfare projects sponsored by the community. Community representatives said politicians took no action on permit approvals for fear of reaction from their Christian constituents.