Religion law – Helviti http://helviti.com/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 21:56:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://helviti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-1-1-120x120.png Religion law – Helviti http://helviti.com/ 32 32 PM to Introduce Faith Discrimination Bill | Narooma News https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-narooma-news/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 21:56:56 +0000 https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-narooma-news/ Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws. Details of […]]]>

Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws.

Details of the bill were released on Tuesday evening after the coalition common room backed it.

The laws will state that making a statement of belief, in good faith, would not constitute discrimination under Australian anti-discrimination law.

However, this would not apply to statements that are malicious or that a reasonable person would consider threatening, intimidating, harassing or vilifying any person or group of persons.

The bill will restrict the ability of organizations to impose standards of behavior on members of that profession, trade or occupation that would prevent a person from making a private statement of belief.

And it will allow religious organizations such as schools to give preference to people of the same religion as the religious body in employment decisions.

The government says the bill will not allow discrimination based on age, disability, race or sex.

The laws are not expected to be passed by the end of this year, as they will be the subject of a Senate inquiry.

Mr Morrison told his party hall that the bill is about tolerance and the balance between freedom and responsibility.

“This is a bill on religious discrimination, not a bill on religious freedom,” he told members of the coalition.

The Prime Minister also described it as a shield and not a sword.

Some village hall concerns have been raised about the bill, including a contentious clause designed to protect people who have made statements about their religious beliefs.

Others stressed the need to keep the 2019 election promise and pass the legislation.

Separately, crossbencher Pauline Hanson has indicated that she will not be supporting the bill in its current form, while Rex Patrick and Rebekha Sharkie do not see the need for it.

Earlier Tuesday, Equality Australia, which advocates for the rights of LGBTIQ + people, feared that some of the “worst parts” of the bill might remain.

The main objection of the group was the clause allowing people to make statements about their beliefs.

“This will allow someone to defend themselves against a discrimination claim if they say offensive, insulting, inappropriate and unacceptable things,” CEO Anna Brown told ABC Radio.

“In general terms, it reverses existing protections for vulnerable groups, it compromises access to non-judgmental health care and inclusive workplaces.”

Ms Brown was concerned that a nurse, for example, could be protected if she told someone with HIV that the disease was a punishment from God.

“That person at the reception (would, under the bill) be barred from filing a complaint against the person who made that statement because their statement of belief is protected,” she said.

Associated Australian Press


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PM to Introduce Faith Discrimination Bill | Magnet https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-magnet/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 21:56:56 +0000 https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-magnet/ Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws. Details of […]]]>

Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws.

Details of the bill were released on Tuesday evening after the coalition common room backed it.

The laws will state that making a statement of belief, in good faith, would not constitute discrimination under Australian anti-discrimination law.

However, this would not apply to statements that are malicious or that a reasonable person would consider threatening, intimidating, harassing or vilifying any person or group of persons.

The bill will restrict the ability of organizations to impose standards of behavior on members of that profession, trade or occupation that would prevent a person from making a private statement of belief.

And it will allow religious organizations such as schools to give preference to people of the same religion as the religious body in employment decisions.

The government says the bill will not allow discrimination based on age, disability, race or sex.

The laws are not expected to be passed by the end of this year, as they will be the subject of a Senate inquiry.

Mr Morrison told his party hall that the bill is about tolerance and the balance between freedom and responsibility.

“This is a bill on religious discrimination, not a bill on religious freedom,” he told members of the coalition.

The Prime Minister also described it as a shield and not a sword.

Some village hall concerns have been raised about the bill, including a contentious clause designed to protect people who have made statements about their religious beliefs.

Others stressed the need to keep the 2019 election promise and get the legislation passed.

Separately, crossbencher Pauline Hanson has indicated that she will not be supporting the bill in its current form, while Rex Patrick and Rebekha Sharkie do not see the need for it.

Earlier Tuesday, Equality Australia, which advocates for the rights of LGBTIQ + people, feared that some of the “worst parts” of the bill might remain.

The main objection of the group was the clause allowing people to make statements about their beliefs.

“This will allow someone to defend themselves against a discrimination claim if they say offensive, insulting, inappropriate and unacceptable things,” CEO Anna Brown told ABC radio.

“In general terms, it reverses existing protections for vulnerable groups, it compromises access to non-judgmental health care and inclusive workplaces.”

Ms Brown feared that a nurse, for example, could be protected if she told someone with HIV that the disease was a punishment from God.

“That person at the reception (would, under the bill) be barred from filing a complaint against the person who made that statement because their statement of belief is protected,” she said.

Associated Australian Press


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PM to Introduce Faith Discrimination Bill | Flinders news https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-flinders-news/ Mon, 22 Nov 2021 21:56:56 +0000 https://helviti.com/pm-to-introduce-faith-discrimination-bill-flinders-news/ Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws. Details of […]]]>

Discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity will be made illegal in the areas of employment, education and the provision of goods and services, under a bill to be submitted to the federal parliament this week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will personally present on Thursday the government’s long-promised religious discrimination laws.

Details of the bill were released on Tuesday evening after the coalition common room backed it.

The laws will state that making a statement of belief, in good faith, would not constitute discrimination under Australian anti-discrimination law.

However, this would not apply to statements that are malicious or that a reasonable person would consider threatening, intimidating, harassing or vilifying any person or group of persons.

The bill will restrict the ability of organizations to impose standards of behavior on members of that profession, trade or occupation that would prevent a person from making a private statement of belief.

And it will allow religious organizations such as schools to give preference to people of the same religion as the religious body in employment decisions.

The government says the bill will not allow discrimination based on age, disability, race or sex.

The laws are not expected to be passed by the end of this year as they will be the subject of a Senate inquiry.

Mr Morrison told his party hall that the bill is about tolerance and the balance between freedom and responsibility.

“This is a bill on religious discrimination, not a bill on religious freedom,” he told members of the coalition.

The Prime Minister also described it as a shield and not a sword.

Some village hall concerns have been raised about the bill, including a contentious clause designed to protect people who have made statements about their religious beliefs.

Others stressed the need to keep the 2019 election promise and get the legislation passed.

Separately, crossbencher Pauline Hanson has indicated that she will not be supporting the bill in its current form, while Rex Patrick and Rebekha Sharkie do not see the need for it.

Earlier Tuesday, Equality Australia, which advocates for the rights of LGBTIQ + people, feared that some of the “worst parts” of the bill might remain.

The main objection of the group was the clause allowing people to make statements about their beliefs.

“This will allow someone to defend themselves against a discrimination claim if they say offensive, insulting, inappropriate and unacceptable things,” CEO Anna Brown told ABC radio.

“In general terms, it reverses existing protections for vulnerable groups, it compromises access to non-judgmental health care and inclusive workplaces.”

Ms Brown feared that a nurse, for example, could be protected if she told someone with HIV that the disease was a punishment from God.

“That person at the reception (would, under the bill) be barred from filing a complaint against the person who made that statement because their statement of belief is protected,” she said.

Associated Australian Press


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California bans state-funded travel to Ohio over religion law https://helviti.com/california-bans-state-funded-travel-to-ohio-over-religion-law/ Fri, 24 Sep 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/california-bans-state-funded-travel-to-ohio-over-religion-law/ California bans state-funded travel to Ohio due to new state law allowing doctors to deny medical services to people on moral or religious grounds. Ohio measurement triggered a California law of 2016 which forces the attorney general to ban state-funded travel to states that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, according to a […]]]>

California bans state-funded travel to Ohio due to new state law allowing doctors to deny medical services to people on moral or religious grounds.

Ohio measurement triggered a California law of 2016 which forces the attorney general to ban state-funded travel to states that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, according to a press release issued by California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Friday.

The ban takes effect on September 30, the statement said. Ohio will become the 18th state in which California will not pay for travel, the statement said.

Ohio lawmakers incorporated the provision into a massive budget bill, Bill 110 House, which was adopted recently.

The language of the provision is broad, allowing not only doctors but also nurses, counselors, social workers, researchers, pharmacists and others to refuse services if they have a “conscientious objection” to the specific service requested.

The law allows health insurers to refuse payment for services on the same grounds.

“Whether it’s refusing a prescription for drugs that prevent the spread of HIV, refusing to provide gender-affirming care, or infringing on a woman’s right to choose, HB 110 unnecessarily puts the health of women on the line. Americans in danger, ”Bonta, a Democrat, said in the press release.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s office did not immediately respond to an email on Friday.

Ohio law provides that “when possible and when the physician wishes, the physician should seek to transfer the patient to a colleague who will provide the requested health service.”

It also designates that emergency treatment does not qualify for objections.

In addition to Ohio, California has banned travel to Arkansas, Florida, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

This story was originally published September 24, 2021 2:46 pm.

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Wes Venteicher presents the popular cover of The Bee’s State Worker in the newspaper’s Capitol Office. It covers taxes, pensions, labor, state expenses, and the California government. Originally from Montana, he reported on healthcare and politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh before joining The Bee in 2018.


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Bhopal’s Wife Has Her Husband Arrested Under Freedom of Religion Law | Bhopal News https://helviti.com/bhopals-wife-has-her-husband-arrested-under-freedom-of-religion-law-bhopal-news/ https://helviti.com/bhopals-wife-has-her-husband-arrested-under-freedom-of-religion-law-bhopal-news/#respond Sat, 04 Sep 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/bhopals-wife-has-her-husband-arrested-under-freedom-of-religion-law-bhopal-news/ BHOPAL: A resident of Bhopal has been convicted under Madhya Pradesh’s religious freedom law for allegedly hiding his religion and pressuring his wife to convert to Christianity with their newborn baby. In her complaint, the 26-year-old woman said her husband was posing as a Hindu when they met in April 2020. “The accused lured her […]]]>
BHOPAL: A resident of Bhopal has been convicted under Madhya Pradesh’s religious freedom law for allegedly hiding his religion and pressuring his wife to convert to Christianity with their newborn baby.
In her complaint, the 26-year-old woman said her husband was posing as a Hindu when they met in April 2020. “The accused lured her into his trap out of friendship. After three to four months, when she got pregnant, she asked him to keep her promise. He reportedly refused and tried to pressure her to have an abortion, but she refused. He then revealed that he was a Christian, ”investigator SI Ramesh Singh said. He tried to pressure her to convert, but she continued to resist, Singh said. The accused and his sister then accepted the marriage without conversion and the marriage took place in January in Arya Samaj.
The woman gave birth to a child on March 19 and the very next day, while still in the hospital, her husband and family members began to pressure her to give them the child to convert, indicates the complaint. She refused again.
“Since then, the woman has lived with her parents. On his complaint, a case under Articles 3 and 5 of Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Ordinance, 2020, was registered at Koh-e-Fiza Police Station on August 2. Our investigation is ongoing, ”added SI Singh. The accused had not yet been arrested until Friday evening.


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Activists continue fight against French anti-religious law https://helviti.com/activists-continue-fight-against-french-anti-religious-law/ https://helviti.com/activists-continue-fight-against-french-anti-religious-law/#respond Wed, 21 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/activists-continue-fight-against-french-anti-religious-law/ Opponents of a bill that restricts religious freedoms are winning a small victory as they seek to overturn the widely condemned law. A Canadian court struck down elements of a controversial law that restricted the religious rights of public sector employees wearing religious clothing in French Quebec. A Canadian scholar of Sikh origin called the […]]]>

Opponents of a bill that restricts religious freedoms are winning a small victory as they seek to overturn the widely condemned law.

A Canadian court struck down elements of a controversial law that restricted the religious rights of public sector employees wearing religious clothing in French Quebec.

A Canadian scholar of Sikh origin called the decision “A small victory in the fight to eliminate one of the most discriminatory and xenophobic laws in Canada.

The Superior Court of Quebec ruled that the law on secularism in the region violated the fundamental rights of minorities, but it still maintained the main tenants, to the dismay of opponents.

The ruling overturned a contentious part of the law – according to which government employees are prohibited from wearing religious symbols – which she says cannot be applied to English schools.

But the detractors of the Quebec law on secularism were surprised by the judge’s decision to recognize the discrimination and to affirm it.

“Welcome to Canada, a country where a judge ruled that the # Quebec the government has the right to restrict religious symbols worn by public sector employees, including teachers, police and lawyers ”, noted a militant.

Bill 21, which is the official name of the law on secularism in the predominantly French-speaking region of Quebec, has been widely criticized since its adoption in 2019.

It is considered discriminatory against religious minorities who wear conspicuous religious symbols, especially Muslim women and Sikhs.

Quebec is a predominantly Catholic region of Canada and has adopted a rigid form of secularism – an import from France.

The 240-page decision comes as the Quebec government was on the defensive in explaining why the bill was needed.

The government believes that without the bill, the French version of secularism in the region, known to be rigid and restrictive, would be threatened by the increasingly multicultural face of Quebec.

Supporters of the bill were also disappointed with the court’s ruling that English schools were exempt from applying religious restrictions on their staff. The verdict effectively creates parallel laws along linguistic lines in the region.

“The fact that the law is unconstitutional as applied to minority language schools … shows how irrational the law is and should be repealed”, noted a law professor.

Although the court did not change the rest of the bill much, opponents say the ruling asserted that the law is discriminatory.

“As a Muslim woman of color living in # Quebec, today’s announcement on # Bill21 and the #GeorgeFloydverdict are tiny glimmers of hope and reminders of the work that remains to be done, ”said one campaigning against the bill.

Many Canadian politicians have also spoken out against the law, which does not apply to the rest of the country.

The country’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also spoke out against the bill as an imposition on the rights of religious minorities.

Following the ruling, local politician Patrick Brown urged activists to continue their fight against the bill.

“Today’s decision by the Superior Court of Quebec was a step forward in overturning certain aspects of # Bill21 But we must go further. Bill 21 should be deemed unconstitutional in its entirety, ”he said.

“In Canada, it doesn’t matter which God you worship. Everyone should have the same opportunities, regardless of their faith. No one should have to hide their identity,” Brown added.

A to study in 2018 revealed that the Quebec City area has some of the most negative attitudes towards Muslims in Canada.

Although there are anti-Muslim views in the rest of the country, the French-speaking Quebec region stood out with over 57 percent of respondents having negative views of Muslims.

According to a 2017 survey, more than 32 percent of people living in Quebec believe Muslims should be banned from entering the country, compared to 23 percent of the general population.

The regions’ increasingly anti-Muslim hostility culminated in the mass shooting in the Quebec mosque in 2017, which left 6 worshipers dead and five injured. The shooter’s motives were motivated by Islamophobia.

Source: TRT World



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India’s religious freedom law destroys interfaith marriage https://helviti.com/indias-religious-freedom-law-destroys-interfaith-marriage/ https://helviti.com/indias-religious-freedom-law-destroys-interfaith-marriage/#respond Thu, 18 Mar 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/indias-religious-freedom-law-destroys-interfaith-marriage/ 03/18/2021 Washington, DC. (International Christian Concern) – Since the passage of the Religious Freedom Bill (FoR) on March 1, 2021, in Madhya Pradesh, India, Christian residents have started to see a worrying increase in daring physical violence and church closures. Right-wing religious nationalists threaten Christians in this region on a daily basis. International Christian Concern […]]]>

03/18/2021 Washington, DC. (International Christian Concern) – Since the passage of the Religious Freedom Bill (FoR) on March 1, 2021, in Madhya Pradesh, India, Christian residents have started to see a worrying increase in daring physical violence and church closures. Right-wing religious nationalists threaten Christians in this region on a daily basis.

International Christian Concern (ICC) recently interviewed a man suffering from the new anti-conversion law.

Mr. Kaluram, a young Christian from a remote village in Madhya Pradesh, married his wife Kesar, a Hindu woman, three years ago, despite their different religious practices. Until recently, they had a peaceful and happy marriage. This law now criminalizes religious conversions, including interfaith marriages.

“EEverything was going well until the enactment of the new anti-conversion law that the Madhya Pradesh government recently passed in the state. I only have two options in front of me. One, deny my faith and keep my wife, or two, keep my faith but leave my wife, then go to jail. “

Kaluram’s life changed dramatically on February 27. Acting on the January 7 directives to end illegal religious conversions, a group of right-wing RSS members threatened Kaluram. The men told Kaluram to stop her Christian prayers or face serious consequences and demanded proof that he did not marry Kesar to convert her to Christianity.

A week later, two days after the ForR passed, the RSS members returned with Kesar’s parents. “We are not going to keep our daughter with you because we come from different religions and the marriage is not valid, ”they said. Kesar’s father went with members of the RSS to the local police station and filed a complaint against Kaluram, claiming he tricked Kesar into marrying her.

Police informed Kaluram he had 30 days to convert to Hinduism or face up to 10 years in prison and lose his family.

I don’t know what to do. Everything seems to be going against me. My family and I are worried about the weather. “

Christians and congregations feel strangled by pressure and harassment from religious nationalists who use the FoR law as a legal means to attack and destroy religious minorities in India.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: press@persecution.org


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President of Montenegro rejects changes to controversial religion law https://helviti.com/president-of-montenegro-rejects-changes-to-controversial-religion-law/ https://helviti.com/president-of-montenegro-rejects-changes-to-controversial-religion-law/#respond Sat, 02 Jan 2021 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/president-of-montenegro-rejects-changes-to-controversial-religion-law/ Montenegrin President Milo Dukanovic refused to approve amendments to a controversial law on religion which has been strongly criticized by ethnic Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church. Dukanovic sent the amendments back to parliament along with six other laws passed by the ruling coalition, his office said on January 2. A total of 41 deputies […]]]>

Montenegrin President Milo Dukanovic refused to approve amendments to a controversial law on religion which has been strongly criticized by ethnic Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Dukanovic sent the amendments back to parliament along with six other laws passed by the ruling coalition, his office said on January 2.

A total of 41 deputies from the ruling coalition, which is made up of pro-Serbian parties and closely aligned with the Serbian Orthodox Church, in the 81-seat Legislative Assembly supported amendments to the law on freedom of religion during a vote on December 29 which was boycotted by the opposition.

The president’s office said it was not clear whether the required number of lawmakers were present in parliament during the vote.

Dukanovic heads the long-ruling Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) which is now in opposition.

If lawmakers vote for the amendments again, the president is obligated to sign them.

Under Montenegro’s religion law adopted a year ago, religious communities must prove ownership before 1918.

This is the year that Orthodox Christian majority Montenegro joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – and the Montenegrin Orthodox Church was subsumed by the Serbian Orthodox Church, losing all of its assets in the process.

The Serbian Orthodox Church, its supporters and pro-Serbian parties have claimed the law could allow the Montenegrin government to seize Church property, although officials deny any intention to do so.

The new government, which came to power after the August elections, said it would rewrite the law to ensure that property remains in the hands of the church, based in neighboring Serbia.

Serbia and Montenegro were part of a federation until 2006, when Montenegro declared its independence.

Montenegro is a member of NATO and aspires to join the European Union.

With report by dpa


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Montenegro lawmakers back changes to contentious religion law amid protests https://helviti.com/montenegro-lawmakers-back-changes-to-contentious-religion-law-amid-protests/ https://helviti.com/montenegro-lawmakers-back-changes-to-contentious-religion-law-amid-protests/#respond Tue, 29 Dec 2020 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/montenegro-lawmakers-back-changes-to-contentious-religion-law-amid-protests/ PODGORICA, Montenegro – The parliament of Montenegro has approved changes to a controversial law on religion that had been heavily criticized by ethnic Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church. A total of 41 deputies from the ruling coalition, made up of pro-Serbian parties and closely aligned with the Serbian Orthodox Church, in the 81-seat Legislative […]]]>

PODGORICA, Montenegro – The parliament of Montenegro has approved changes to a controversial law on religion that had been heavily criticized by ethnic Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church.

A total of 41 deputies from the ruling coalition, made up of pro-Serbian parties and closely aligned with the Serbian Orthodox Church, in the 81-seat Legislative Assembly supported the amendments to the law on freedom of religion during the meeting. a vote in early December 29 which was boycotted by the opposition.

On December 28, several thousand people demonstrated outside the parliament building in the capital, Podgorica, against the changes proposed by the new government, waving Montenegrin flags and chanting slogans such as “Treason” and “This is not Serbia ”. No clashes were reported.

The rally was the first major demonstration in the Balkan country against the coalition government of Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic, which came to power after the opposition won a narrow majority over the ruling Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) during legislative elections in August.

Krivokapic greeted the vote in parliament as “a victory for the rule of law”.

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic, who now heads the opposition DPS, has seven days to sign the amendments or send them back to parliament. If the deputies vote again for the amendments, the president is obliged to sign them.

Under Montenegro’s religion law adopted a year ago, religious communities must prove ownership before 1918.

This is the year that Orthodox Christian majority Montenegro joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – and the Montenegrin Orthodox Church was subsumed by the Serbian Orthodox Church, losing all of its assets in the process.

The Serbian Orthodox Church, its supporters and pro-Serbian parties have claimed the law could allow the Montenegrin government to seize Church property, although officials deny any intention to do so.

The new government has proposed to rewrite the law to ensure that property remains in the hands of the church, which is based in neighboring Serbia.

Serbia and Montenegro were part of a federation until 2006, when Montenegro declared its independence.

Montenegro is a member of NATO and aspires to join the European Union.



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Controversial advice on the law on religion Election in Montenegro …… | News and reports https://helviti.com/controversial-advice-on-the-law-on-religion-election-in-montenegro-news-and-reports/ https://helviti.com/controversial-advice-on-the-law-on-religion-election-in-montenegro-news-and-reports/#respond Thu, 03 Sep 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/controversial-advice-on-the-law-on-religion-election-in-montenegro-news-and-reports/ For the first time in his life, Bishop Amfilohije, 82, voted in an election. His example led a record number of citizens of Montenegro to do the same last Sunday. Spurred on by what he saw as government attacks on his beloved Serbian Orthodox Church, he launched an “everyone but them” campaign against the Democratic […]]]>

For the first time in his life, Bishop Amfilohije, 82, voted in an election.

His example led a record number of citizens of Montenegro to do the same last Sunday.

Spurred on by what he saw as government attacks on his beloved Serbian Orthodox Church, he launched an “everyone but them” campaign against the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), which held power in that country. Eastern Europe for 30 years.

“[Vote] for the saints and against the lawless, ”Amfilohije said a week before the August 30 elections, according to at Balkan Insight. Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic is accused of running a corrupt government.

Preliminary results indicate a reassuring victory for the bishop.

The opposition coalition won 41 of 81 seats in parliament.

The DPS claimed the largest solo share with 30, but will return to power for the first time in Montenegro’s 14-year history if all coalitions hold.

“This is the freedom so many have longed for,” Pastor Sinisa Nadazdin told CT. Its Gospel of Jesus Christ Church is located in the capital of Podgorica and is one of the five registered evangelical churches in the country.

“The myth of Djukanovic’s invincibility is finally shattered.

Montenegro is the sixth least evangelical country in Europe, according to to the Joshua Project. Believers were not united behind any particular party, but many welcomed the democratic message.

“This is an opportunity to inject new blood into the system, to reduce corruption and cronyism,” said Stanisa Surbatovich, pastor of a small church in the country’s second largest city, Niksic.

“Personally, I don’t see the results as a win or a loss,” he told CT.

But many Serbian Orthodox Christians are celebrating.

The turnout was 77%, with many motivated to vote by the same controversial “religious freedom” law that primarily animated the bishop.

CT reported last February how the parliament of Montenegro passed a bill guaranteeing the right to change religion. But he also demanded that churches provide proof of ownership of all churches and monasteries built before 1918, lest they be incorporated as part of state-owned cultural heritage.

Orthodox roots run deep in the Balkan nation roughly the size of Connecticut. Its first diocese in what is now Montenegro was established in 1219.

Three quarters of the country’s 620,000 inhabitants identify as Orthodox Christians; 70 percent of them belong to the traditional Serbian church.

The government has repeatedly denied plans to seize church property, but Amfilohije fears politicians will remove Serbian Orthodox jurisdiction in favor of the newly established Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which claims 30 percent of local Orthodox believers .

But among Montenegro’s population, roughly equal to that of Vermont, only 3 in 10 are ethnic Serbs. And when parliament passed the religion law by 45-0, lawmakers from the Serbian-led Democratic Front boycotted the vote.

“The church does not have its own electoral list”, Amfilohije noted, “But rejoices in those who are against this lawless law.”

Since February, leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church have led massive protests, stopped only by the COVID-19 pandemic. But they resumed before the election, drawing the ire of politicians.

“The Serbian Orthodox Church is not a religious organization but a parapolitical one,” said DPS official Caslav Vesovic, according to at Balkan Insight. “The church interferes in the electoral process by telling believers how to vote. “

Prime Minister Dusko Markovic upped the ante, predicting an election victory.

“After the elections, the church and its priests will return to the churches,” he said. “They will no longer be at political rallies, where they curse our ancestors, us and our children.”

But President Djukanovic called it an existential crisis.

A former Yugoslav communist leader before Montenegro’s independence in 2006, he is currently serving his eighth term. But he is now asking for the nation’s membership of the European Union (EU), having joined NATO in 2017.

“These elections are the most important in the history of Montenegro,” Djukanovic said.

“We have to choose whether Montenegro should continue its integration into the EU or become a theocratic state.”

Djukanovic wanted the law on religion cement the nation’s unique civic and cultural identity. United with Yugoslavia and then Serbia for 88 years, many Montenegrins simply considered themselves Orthodox Slavs.

The president accuses religious leaders, including Amfilohije, of undermining national independence, in favor of Serbian and Russian alignment.

Although Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, recently agreed to grant the Ukrainian Orthodox Church a tomos (decree) of spiritual independence of Moscow, it does not not to recognize Montenegrin has separated from its Serbian patriarchate. Any seizure of a church would be an illegitimate expropriation.

“During hundreds of years of Ottoman (Turkish Muslim) occupation, the Serbian Orthodox Church – and its metropolis of Montenegro – kept the flame of Christianity alive in the Western Balkans,” adviser Vladimir Leposavic told CT. legal form of the Montenegrin church.

“This heritage and our identity should not be sacrificed to satisfy a president’s desire for a national church.”

But some evangelicals believe that the local Serbian Orthodox Church is sacrificing Montenegrin identity.

The native Montenegrin Orthodox Church believes it was independent during the Ottoman Empire, said Surbatovich, the nation’s only Montenegrin evangelical pastor.

He thinks the president aims to treat all churches equally. But Serbian Orthodox want a privileged position, even though so few regularly practice their faith.

In Niksic’s population of 35,000, he estimates that his 25-member congregation represents 10 percent of Sunday worshipers.

“It is not appropriate that the church is political,” Surbatovich said. “I would like them to talk about the gospel and not about politics.

But if Nadazdin, the evangelical pastor of the capital, rejoices, he wants the majority Orthodox church to rally the faithful beyond the elections.

“They should have been much more vocal on family issues, abortion and other social issues on which churches around the world are mobilizing,” he said.

“My objection to the behavior of the church is that it should be more active in social affairs, not less.”

Surbatovich hopes that the evangelical community can move in this direction, in particular against the idea that “secularism is good”.

Nothing prevents the church from speaking in the public square, he said, except limited resources.

For now, believers will watch the coalitions come together. Surbatovich notes that in order to govern, Serbian-led parties will have to include pro-Montenegrin and pro-European parties. It is unlikely that there will be a “radical departure” from the general course of the nation.

The winners have called for reconciliation, to join hands with the DPS. Djukanovic promised respect the election results.

But Nadazdin is not so sure. Rumors suggest that radical elements in the ruling party may attempt to provoke violence and undermine the winning coalition.

Either way, the two evangelical leaders in Montenegro offer the same advice.

“We demanded justice,” Nadazdin said. “Now we have to pray hard for this country. “


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