Legal framework on freedom of religion and actual application
The preamble of the constitution states that the people of Saint Lucia affirm their faith in the supremacy of Almighty God. They believe that everyone was created equal by God, with inalienable rights and dignity. They recognise that the enjoyment of these rights depends on certain fundamental freedoms such as freedom of the individual, thought, expression, communication, conscience and association. They realise that human dignity requires respect for spiritual values.
The constitution specifies that everyone has certain fundamental rights and freedoms, whatever their race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, creed or sex, subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and the public interest. It recognises the right to personal freedom, equality before the law, as well as freedom of conscience, expression, assembly and association.
Conscientious objection to military service is recognised.
No person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of conscience: including freedom of thought and religion, the freedom to change one’s religion or belief, the freedom to manifest one’s belief, alone or with others, in public or in private, in worship, teaching, practice or observance.
Except with their consent (or that of their parents or guardian in case of minors under 18 years of age), no one attending a place of education or held in prison or serving in the Armed Forces can be required to receive religious instruction or take part in or attend a religious ceremony that is not of the religion they profess.
Each religious community has the right to establish and maintain, at their own expense, places of education. They also have the right to provide religious instruction to the members of their organisations irrespective of whether or not they receive a government subsidy.
No one may be compelled or coerced into taking an oath against, or in a manner contrary to, their beliefs or religion.
Furthermore, no one shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person or authority. Discrimination means providing different or special treatment, totally or partially, to people based on their sex, race, place of origin, political opinion or affiliation, colour or creed.
Ministers of religion cannot be elected to the Senate or the House of Assembly.