People in Germany enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of religion. These are among the key human rights. Article 4 of the German Basic Law protects freedom of religion. It reads: “Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom to profess a religious or philosophical creed, shall be inviolable. The undisturbed practice of religion shall be guaranteed.” In practice this means nobody may be discriminated against on account of their religious beliefs; there is no “state church”, politics and religion are kept separate; religion is a private matter. People of different religious beliefs live in Germany peacefully alongside one another. Migration has created a more diverse religious world. Some 47 million people belong to one of the Christian denominations. Of them, around 24 million are Catholics, and some 23 million are Protestants. Another third do not belong to any religion. Many have also left the Church. This option is open to anyone in Germany over the age of 18. The majority of people in east Germany are atheists. The largest religious communities include four to five million Muslims, 200,000 Jews, and members of the Orthodox Christian faith and of Free Churches. In everyday life a person’s religion does not play much of a role. Government schools are obliged to offer religious instruction; some states also offer instruction in the Islamic religion.
Open to other religions
In Germany people of different religions live alongside one another, many are nondenominational.