Ecuador - Religions
Approximately 1,330 different religious groups, churches, societies, Christian fraternities, and foundations coexist in Ecuador. However, introduced by the Spaniards with the conquest in 1540, Roman Catholicism is by far the dominant religion. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church is considered to be one of the three pillars of society, along with the Government and the military. According to 1998 estimates, over 90% of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholics. Some individuals combine customs and beliefs of traditional indigenous religions with their practice of Catholicism. Protestants, including Anglicans, Baptists, and Methodists, make up about 2% of the population. Other denominations include Lutherans, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Eastern Orthodox, and Rosicrucians. Buddhists, Baha'is, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and members of the Church of Scientology have small communities. Animistic religions survive among the jungle Amerindians of the Oriente. Itzachilatan is one Amerindian church. Some natives are followers of Inti, the Incan sun god. Freedom of worship is guaranteed by the constitution.