UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
 
You are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.
 


 
Germany - Constitution

Adopted on: 23 May 1949 (Document Status: 3 Nov 1995)

Article 3 [Equality] 

(3) No one may be disadvantaged or favored because of his sex, his parentage, his race, his language, his homeland and origin, his faith, or his religious or political opinions. No one may be disadvantaged because of his handicap.
Article 4 [Freedom of faith, of conscience, and of creed] 
(1) Freedom of creed, of conscience, and freedom to profess a religious or non-religious faith are inviolable. 
(2) The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed. 
(3) No one may be compelled against his conscience to render war service involving the use of arms. Details are regulated by a federal statute.
Article 7 [Education] 
(2) The persons entitled to the upbringing of a child have the right to decide whether the child shall attend religion classes. 
(3) Religion classes form part of the ordinary curriculum in state schools, except for secular schools. Without prejudice to the state's right of supervision, religious instruction is given in accordance with the tenets of the religious communities. No teacher may be obliged against his will to give religious instruction 
(5) A private elementary school has to be permitted only where the education authority finds that it serves a special pedagogic interest, or where, on the application of persons entitled to upbringing of children, it is to be established as an interdenominational school or as a school based on a particular religious or non-religious faith and only if a state elementary school of this type does not exist in the commune.
Article 33 [Equal political status of all Germans] 
(3) Enjoyment of civil and political rights, eligibility for public office, and rights acquired in the public service are independent of religious denomination. No one may suffer any disadvantage by reason of his adherence or non-adherence to a denomination or to a philosophical persuasion.
Article 56 [Oath of office] 
On assuming his office, the President takes the following oath before the assembled members of the House of Representatives and the Senate: 
"I swear that I will dedicate my efforts to the well-being of the German people, enhance their benefits, avert hamm from them, uphold and defend the Constitution and the statutes of the Federation, fulfil my duties conscientiously, and do justice to all. So help me God." 
The oath may also be taken without religious affirmation.
Article 116 [Definition of "a German," re-granting of citizenship] 
(2) Former German citizens who, between 30 January 1933 and 8 May 1945, were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds, and their descendants, are regranted German citizenship on application. They are considered as not having been deprived of their German citizenship where they have established their residence in Germany after 8 May 1945 and have not expressed a contrary intention.
Article 140 [Law of religious bodies] 
The provisions of Articles 136, 137, 138, 139 and 141 of the German Constitution of 11 August 1919 are integral parts of this Constitution.
Article 141 ["Bremen Clause"] 
Article 7 (3) 1 does not be applied in any State in which different provisions of State law were in force on 1 Jan., 1949.
Note: Further information on the constitutional background of Germany is provided by the International Constitutional Law Project at the University of Wuerzburg. 
 


To MOST Clearing House Homepage