Encyclopedia of Law and Religion

Purchase Access
Subject: Law

Edited by: Gerhard Robbers and W. Cole Durham

In recent years, issues of freedom of religion or belief and state-religion relations have become increasingly important worldwide. The Encyclopedia of Law and Religion, unique in its breadth and global coverage, provides an important foundational resource for study of these issues. The encyclopedia covers the relation between law and religion in its various aspects, including those related to the role of religion in society, the relations between religion and state institutions, freedom of religion, legal aspects of religious traditions, the interaction between law and religion, and other issues at the junction of law, religion, and state.

For more information: see Brill.com

Bahamas, The

(2,524 words)

Author(s): Mark Hill QC
I. Social Facts The Bahamas is composed of around 700 islands all situated in the Atlantic Ocean to the north of Cuba and east of Florida. The name “Bahamas” has its roots in the Spanish words baja mar, meaning “shallow sea”. The capital city is Nassau, New Providence. The total population of the Bahamas is approximately 353,700. The majority of the religious communities in the Bahamas are Protestant Christian, with 35% Baptist, 15% Anglican, 8% Pentecostal, 5% Church of God, 5% Seventh-day Adventist, and 4% Methodist. 14% of the population is Roman Catholic. There are also small number…

Bahrain

(2,990 words)

Author(s): Lena-Maria Möller
I. Social Facts According to its latest census of 2010, Bahrain’s population numbers about 1.25 million, only 46% of which are Bahraini citizens. More than half of Bahrain’s population are non-national temporary immigrants, mostly from other Arab countries and South Asia. Muslims constitute 70.2% of the total population and 99.8% of the national population. There are about 1,100 Christian and 40 Jewish Bahraini citizens, although census data does not distinguish between different non-Muslim religio…

Baker Island

(9 words)

Author(s): not-specified
forthcoming Not Specified Bibliography  

Bangladesh

(11,587 words)

Author(s): Leilani D. Maldonado
I. Social Facts  The modern-day nation of Bangladesh is situated on the Bay of Bengal in southern Asia, between India and Burma (Myanmar). Its longest border is with India on the west, north, and northeast; to the east it shares a much smaller border with Burma, and on the south it opens up to the Ganges River. The low-lying country of 148,000 square kilometers is traversed by 18,000 square kilometers of rivers and tributaries, and has a mostly tropical climate. Bengali, an Indo-Aryan language with its own alphabet, is the national tongue of Bangladesh, and is spoken by ove…

Barbados

(2,923 words)

Author(s): Mary A. Haynes
I. Social Facts The island of Barbados is located in the Caribbean Sea and is made up of 439 square kilometers with a population of approximately 277,821 persons. The capital city of Bridgetown was established in 1628. In June 2011, Bridgetown and its surrounding Garrison areas were listed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List. The City of Holetown is home to the oldest church in Barbados, Saint James Parish Church, which was consecrated in the year 1847. This church is constructed near the …

Belarus

(4,587 words)

Author(s): Ryan Andersen
I. Social Facts The population of Belarus is approximately 9.6 million people. Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism comprise the country’s largest denominations. Only 58.9% of Belarusians identify themselves as believers, however. Approximately 80% of believers identify with either the Russian or the Belorusian Orthodox Church, 12% with the Roman Catholic Church, and the remaining 6% with some other religious group. Calvinist and Lutheran congregations are the largest Protest…

Belgium

(17,756 words)

Author(s): Rik Torfs | Jogchum Vrielink
I. Social Facts Belgium is characterized by a rich diversity in religions and beliefs. This has not always been the case. Due to a variety of reasons Belgium used to be a predominantly Roman Catholic country. In the National Census of 1846, for instance, no less than 99% of the population registered their religious adherence as Roman Catholic (Loobuyck & Torfs, 2010). Even the physical and architectural landscape bears the imprint of this strong Catholic presence: cities and towns have numerous chu…

Belize

(2,251 words)

Author(s): Thomas Jones
I. Social Facts Belize is situated on the northeast of Central America. The Caribbean Sea is to the east of the country and Mexico is to the north. The population of Belize is approximately 338,900 and the country is approximately 22,800 sq. km, approximately the same geographical size as Wales. Belize is divided into six districts: Cayo, Orange Walk, Corozal, Stann Creek, Toledo, and Belize District, the latter constituting the most populous district with an estimated population of 89,000. 40% of the population is Roman Catholic, representing the most populous religious c…

Benin

(1,990 words)

Author(s): Grace N. Mburu
I. Social Facts  Benin, formerly known as Dahomey Kingdom, is a West African country with an estimated population of 10.32 million people. There is no dominant religion in Benin. The two main religions are Roman Catholicism, estimated at 27% of the population, followed by Islam at 24%. Muslims, who are mostly Sunni, are concentrated in northern areas. Though Benin is known as the home of Vodun (Voodoo), according to the most recent national census (2002), only 17% of the population practices Vodun exclusively as its main religion. This percentage rises to 60% when including t…

Bermuda

(883 words)

Author(s): David McClean
I. Historical, Legal, and Social Background Originally established by a chartered company, Bermuda has been administered by the British Crown since 1684. In a referendum in 1995, 74% opposed independence. The census of 2010 reported a population of some 64,250, which means that Bermuda is the most populous of the British Overseas Territories. The population is very largely Christian, though 18.6% declared in the census that they had no religion. The Anglican Church is the largest (16.4% of the population) followed by the Roman Catholic Church (15.…