Religion in the Kingdom of Lovia is remarkable both in its low adherence level compared to the neighboring United States as well as its unbalanced spread across the country. The most common religious viewpoints in Lovia are of Christian and irreligious nature. Religion plays a marginal role in Lovian politics. The people have the right to exercise their religion of preference freely and the law prohibits discrimination based on, for example, religious preference.
There are several examples of religious migration in Lovia.
Main religious beliefs of Lovians Edit
The main religious preferences in Lovia are sorted alphabetically; then followed by a short listing of minority religions, and then by Atheism and Humanism in Lovia.
Buddhism is a significant religion in Lovia, and was brought by Asian immigrants to the islands. An estimated 70% of the Lovian Buddhists adhere the Mahayana traditions, of which Zen Buddhism is the most popular form in the country. The Theravada tradition represents an estimated 15%. So do the Vajrayana traditions. The plurality of the Buddhists in Lovia live in Clymene. There are two Zen Buddhist temples, the Sofasi Zen Buddhist Temple in Hightech Valley, Sofasi and the Deer Garden Temple in Dubnitz, Hurbanova. Famous members of the Zen Buddhist community are Doris Stern (sportsman and socialite), Alan Senauke-Brooke (religious leader), Mel Hartman (Buddhist abbot), Yukio Yoshimitsu (religious leader) and Yunus Xuan (model and actress). Other well-known Buddhists include Rani Delani (fashion designer), George Uzux (political activist), Yīgēn Kāng Nà (martial artist), Henry Matthews-Regal (actor and teacher) and Philip Bradly-Lashawn (CPL.nm politician and deputy governor of the state of Sylvania). Though most Buddhists are ethnically Chinese, Korean, or Japanese, there are also a significant member of Western converts, such as some of the aforementioned. Buddhists make up approximately 6% of all Lovians.
Christianity is, if seen as a whole, the largest religious denomination. Whereas many Christians entered the country in earlier days, the present Christian community often descends from immigrants, mostly from Eastern Europe. Estimates show that of all Lovian Christians, about 50% is Protestant and another 42% is Roman Catholic. More exact figures are not available. A small minority is Eastern Orthodox, and fewer still belong to other sects, including Oriental Orthodoxy, Mormonism, or Jehovah's Witnesses. Another small minority does not identify with any sect. Christians make up approximately 46% of Lovians, who are mostly ethnically European, along with members of other ethnic groups.
Eastern Orthodoxy Edit
There is a small population of Eastern Orthodox Christians in Hurbanova. The community built its Orthodox Church Saint Andrew, Drake Town in 2009. Most Orthodox Christians belong to the Romanian-Lovian community, though there are also Bosnian-Lovians and Ukrainian-Lovians, concentrated around Hurbanova. The other church is the Church of St. Abraham in Novosevensk, which is older. The priest there is Dormidont Petropavlov but that church falls under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church in the USA.
There are few relations between the two churches, as the churches are not from the same Orthodox type. The church in Oceana is a Romanian Orthodox church, while the one in Seven is a Russian Orthodox church. However, Father Dormidont has suggested that cultural differences between the state of Oceana and the rest of Lovia are the main issue.
The Saint John Orthodox Church is a small church in the Trinitas Chapels in Little Europe, Noble City. The paintings in the church have made this little church famous, as many Lovians have considered the church's interior paintings a masterpiece. All paintings refer to well-known stories from the Bible.
The Romanian Minority Party, when it was led by Daniel Latin, was a Eastern Orthodox party; but since Valentin Avramescu became the leader, the party is neutral in terms of religion. It currently has no seats in the Congress, although Daniel Latin was previously a congressperson.
A well-known Eastern Orthodox Christian was LD politician Alexandru Latin. His brother Christian Latin is still living as Eastern Orthodox. Other Orthodox people are or were Michael 'MC Squad' Collins (rapper and musician), James Tsokos (lawyer), Nikolai Koshkov (soldier), Nikolai Sharapov (settler and Founding Father)
Protestantism is the most organized branch of Christianity, having two major church bodies uniting tens of older denominations. The United Protestant Church (UPC) is the largest religious body in Lovia, and it unites six former churches: the Lovian Methodist Association, the Presbyterian Church in Lovia, the Episcopal Church (Lovia), the Church Union of Lovian Baptists, the Reformed Church of Noble City and the ecumenical Church of Unity. The UPC is mainline Protestant and rather liberal, religiously speaking.
The Unified Lutheran Church (ULC) is the second largest Protestant church, and the only one not to be incorporated in the UPC. The church hierarchy is rather conservative, and the UPC claims to be willing to set forth "the church's tradition as guard of the faith." Its members however, have already expressed the need of a more liberal church governance.
Both the ULC and UPC use the Lovian Standard Version Bible translation. It is one of the most commonly used translations in Lovia, especially in moderate conservative environs. Lately, there have been demands of a more liberal English translation in Lovia.
The Protestant community is spread across Lovia. In the State of Oceana though, there are remarkably less Protestants. The largest Protestant communities can be found in Noble City and Newhaven. A well known Lovian protestant was August Magnus Donia of the LCP who was the secretary of Tourism and Leisure.
Roman Catholicism Edit
The Roman Catholic Church is among Lovia's most important denominations. The largest community resides in Hurbanova, Oceana, and its surroundings. Other major Catholic groups can be found in Sofasi and inland Sylvania. Of the Hurbanovan Catholics, most are of Eastern European or Limburgish descent. Other predominant Catholic ethnic groups are the Belgians and American Roman Catholics. There are two Roman Catholic churches in Oceana and one in Noble City. In the past, many prominent Lovians have been Catholics. Famous members at this moment are Oos Wes Ilava, Robin Ferguson and Christopher Verne.
Hinduism is a present but minor religion in Lovia. Estimates suggest there are approximately 250 Hindus in Lovia, mostly residing in Noble City, Newhaven and Sofasi. Nearly all of the Lovian Hindus are ethnically Indian, though a few are of other ethnicities.
The Lovian Muslim community is very small, though growing. It is estimated there are probably no more than 1000 Muslims in Lovia, of which most are Sunnis. Until the 1960s, there were no well-known Muslims or Muslim organizations in the nation. In 2010, a Islamic religious organization was founded, the Lovian Muslim Brotherhood. Prominent Lovian islamic spokesmen include Ahmad Benzador and Ali Suleimani both of whom are very moderate in their views. The organization only has a few members so far.
Judaism is present in Lovia, but there are probably less than 500 Jews according to estimates. Most Jews are former Americans, of whom most come from Germany and Central Europe. Many Jews living in Noble City are active in the literary and publishing branch. Well-known Jewish Lovians are Steve Bronstein (literary translator), William Goodwin (writer), and Ellis Sobol (writer and illustrator). The first organization of Jewish Lovians, the Lovian Judaism Brotherhood, was founded in 2010 by politician Marcus Villanova and Sobol and Goodwin.
Other religions Edit
Other religions include:
- Among Japanese residents, Buddhism is the predominant religion, but it often includes Shinto practices as well. Some Japanese adhere to Shinto practices only, and report themselves as such.
- A small number of Korean Lovians adhere to Cheondoism.
- There is a small Sikh population in Lovia; mostly migrated from the United States or India to Lovia, estimated to number under 50.
- Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, when a few Bahá’í families migrated to Lovia, the faith has been present. There are estimated to be under 50 Bahá’ís in Lovia.
- Since 1961, the year of the merger of the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association, there have been Unitarian Universalists in Lovia. In the 1980s, the community was active in several political causes, notably the gay rights movement, the social justice movement, and the feminist movement. There are estimated to be approximately 100 Lovians that call themselves Unitarian Universalists.
Beside these religions, there are members of the Church of Scientology and supporters of Kaballah amongst a couple of Lovian celebrities, influenced by Hollywood. Due to the extremely small support base in Lovia, the controversies surrounding Scientology in the United States have had little impact on the Archipelago. The church thought of building a center of worship in Downtown in 2007, but stopped construction plans later that year.
The Latter Day Saint movement (also known as Mormonism) is estimated to only have about 70 practicers in Lovia today; most moved to the archipelago in the 1920s. They report themselves as Christian in censuses.
No religion Edit
There is a remarkably large and active community of non-believers in Lovia. The high rate of irreligious Lovians is often explained by the royal family's Atheism. From King Arthur I onwards, all Lovian monarch have openly declared their Atheism. Besides the royal family, many other non-believers have held top functions in politics and business. For example, most Governors of Sylvania were irreligious: Alfred J.Q. Robinson, Edward M. Roscoe, Andrew King, Robert Pennington, etc. The Pennington Family itself is another example of a prominent political family of which most members are public Atheists. Almost half of Lovians adhere to no religion.
As of 2001, there is an non-profit organization uniting Atheists, Agnostics and Freethinkers: the Freethought Association, now known as the Lovian Freethought Academy (LFA), founded by Arthur Jefferson. The LFA is one of Lovia's most active non-governmental organizations. In early 2010, the LFA gained prominence through its "Think freely" campaign.
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Religion and politics Edit
Religious people in politics Edit
Politicians rarely discuss their religion when campaigning, and churches and religious figures are usually not politically active, the exception being the CCPL, a Christian democratic conservative party led by current PM Oos Wes Ilava. Although its membership rate was very low when it was founded in 2010, and it was practically a one-man party in the beginning, it is now one of the largest parties in Congress. However, there are Christians in most parties, and a few representatives of smaller religions.
Parties with remarkably low religiosity rates are the Communist Party of Lovia (neo-marxist) and the LDP. The republican movement is also sometimes associated with Christian-democratic politicians. It is generally agreed that the religious influence in Lovian politics has grown over time. In the 2010 Congress, only around 20% of the Members were Christians:
- Alexandru Latin (NPO) - Eastern Orthodox
- Harold Freeman (LU) - non-denominational Christian
- Oos Wes Ilava (CCPL) - Roman Catholic
Many politicians are Atheists, Agnostics, Freethinkers, or do not define their religious belief. Andy McCandless (WLP) and Lars Washington describe themselves as Freethinkers, whereas Edward Hannis (Walden) is an Atheist. Alyssa C. Red (CPL.nm), Arthur Jefferson (independent), Christina Kay Evans (independent), Martha Van Ghent (Walden), King Dimitri I of Lovia (Member by Right) and Yuri Medvedev (CPL.nm) are openly Atheist. Marcus Villanova (Labour) defines himself as a Freethinking Jew and is a member of the LFA.
Religion in the law Edit
Religion is a marginal theme in Lovian politics. Article 2 of the Constitution grants "every human being and citizen [...] the right of freedom of thought, meaning and religion; of equality, by race, religion, political opinion, language, sex, property, birth or other statuses." No references to the Judeo-Christian God or any other religious concept are made in any of the country's laws.
Legal matters on education Edit
In education, the freedom of religion of children is protected from indoctrination. In Article 6 of the Social Law Book of the Federal Law (the Primary Education Act), all doctrinal courses in primary schools are banned:
- "There shall be no doctrinal classes in primary schools."
This is specified as follows:
- "In a course called 'Religions of the world', children may be taught about religions. If the school wishes to teach this subject, all major religions should be brought to attention, as well as a non-religious attitude."
- "Primary schools and their teachers may not try to convince children of a certain religious point of view, nor can they make any pupil exercise a religious act if not wanted by the pupil and/or the parents."
Article 7 of the Social Law Book (the Secondary Education Act) preserves the right for schools to provide doctrinal classes for no more than one hour per week in high schools. Article 184.108.40.206.1 states that no extremist views may be taught: "There shall be no doctrinal classes about extremist views; that is: no far-right, far-left, extremist Islam, extremist Christianity, fascist, violent or extreme nationalist views can be taught."
Students have the right not to take doctrinal classes in schools that provide them. Schools are not allowed to introduce exams and tests for doctrinal courses.
In a recent debate on the topic, the question whether to teach creationist theories in biology classes was raised. In response, government officials claimed the law did not foresee that. In response to claims that all theories should be taught, Yuri Medvedev argued that "when you teach Christianity at school you should also teach" all other religions and belief systems. Edward Hannis (Walden) put it this way: "By that (feeble) logic, I do believe that we should also teach about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and how he created the oceans, the land, and the Beer Volcano. Just because it's a theory that some believe does not justify that we teach kids about it. And they're not both "just theories." One has proof, the other, speculation."
The religion debate in Lovia Edit
As of the late 2000s, especially since the publication of The God Delusion by Birtish biologist Richard Dawkins in 2006, the religion debate has gained a prominent position in Lovian public life. In recent debates on the topic, the atheists' point of view was often taken by eminent Lovian statesmen, including Prime Minister Yuri Medvedev, King Dimitri, MOTC Edward Hannis, or former LFA leader Arthur Jefferson. Others include Marcus Villanova and Martha Van Ghent. In God We Doubt by Edward Hannis is the most recent Lovian publication speaking out against religion.
In a wave of religious debate publications, Medvedev and Ygo August Donia co-authored the Lovian Dialogues in late 2010, in which they present the dialogues between the deceased August Magnus Donia and Prime Minister Medvedev.
Academic research Edit
At Blackburn University, intensive research on religion is done by the Blackburn Royal Center for Religious Survey. Amongst the ongoing activities is a survey on the religious demography of Lovia and a study of Bible use in Lovia. The Blackburn Royal Center for Rational Thought and Skepticism also performs research on religious or pseudo-religious claims.