El Salvador - Religions
The constitution of 1962 guarantees religious freedom and exempts churches from property taxes. The constitution specifically recognizes the Roman Catholic Church, granting it legal status; however, it also provides that other churches may register for such status according to the law. About 56.7% of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholic; San Salvador is an archbishopric. Church officials and clergy have been active in the movement for human rights and social justice in El Salvador and have consequently been the targets of right-wing death squads and government security forces. In March 1980, Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdames was killed by a sniper as he said mass at a hospital chapel in San Salvador. US aid was temporarily suspended after the murder of three US nuns and a social worker the following December.
About 17.8% of the population are members of various Protestant churches, with four of the largest denomionations being Episcopalian, Baptists, Reform churches, and Lutherans. There are also many active Protestant missions throughout the country. Approximately 2.3% of the populace are associated with other churches and religious groups, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-Day Adventists, Jews, Muslims, and Amerindian tribal religionists, among others. As many as 23.2% of inhabitants have no religious affiliation whatsoever.