The legislature recognized only the Roman Catholic Church as a legally recognized church. Following the publication of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the confederation of religious groups, the government reclassified the Evangelical Confederation of Honduras, which represents the evangelical leadership, from a church to a religious organization. It continued to classify recognized religious groups other than the Catholic Church as religious associations without some of the rights and privileges given to churches, such as tax exemption for clergy salaries and state recognition of religious marriages.
The Secretariat of State of Human Rights, Justice, Governance, and Decentralization agreed to work with religious organizations to develop clearer rules for registering religious organizations and nongovernmental organizations. Religious organizations criticized the application of one uniform set of registration rules to all types of organizations, including religious organizations, and said they should be recognized as religious rather than nongovernmental organizations.
The secretary of education signed a letter excusing members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from attending “Civic Saturdays,” in which the government required public and private schools to hold classes on some Saturdays. Members of the church stated the requirement to work and/or attend classes on Saturdays infringed upon their freedom of religion. Church members reported that some teachers and principals still expected Saturday attendance, despite the secretary’s letter excusing them. Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church also filed complaints at several universities for failing to provide alternatives to Saturday classes for Adventist students. Their cases were pending at year’s end.
The armed forces had an official Catholic patron saint. Each military base commander selected either a Catholic or a Protestant chaplain. The chaplains were entitled to a stipend and a military uniform for the duration of their military chaplaincy. Members of prominent Catholic and evangelical Protestant churches were represented on more than a dozen governmental commissions. The government routinely invited Catholic and evangelical leaders to lead prayers at government events.
The government required foreign missionaries to obtain entry and residence permits. A local institution or individual was required to sponsor a missionary’s application for residency, which was submitted to immigration authorities. The government signed an agreement with Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists to facilitate entry and residence permits for missionaries from these religious groups. The government approved tax exemptions for emergency aid provided by certain religious organizations, including Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, and some evangelical organizations.