religious communities – Helviti http://helviti.com/ Fri, 25 Mar 2022 21:09:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://helviti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-1-1-120x120.png religious communities – Helviti http://helviti.com/ 32 32 Response to Church Attacks “Indicating Hate and Intolerance” for Religion: League of Catholic Rights – BC Catholic https://helviti.com/response-to-church-attacks-indicating-hate-and-intolerance-for-religion-league-of-catholic-rights-bc-catholic/ https://helviti.com/response-to-church-attacks-indicating-hate-and-intolerance-for-religion-league-of-catholic-rights-bc-catholic/#respond Thu, 08 Jul 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/response-to-church-attacks-indicating-hate-and-intolerance-for-religion-league-of-catholic-rights-bc-catholic/ Catholic Civil Rights League executive director calls for stronger public, political and police action to protect worshipers in response to an early summer conflagration of anti-Catholic arson, vandalism, threats and violence. hate speech. The more than 20 arson attacks and vandalism attacks on churches across the country have been widely seen as a response to […]]]>


Catholic Civil Rights League executive director calls for stronger public, political and police action to protect worshipers in response to an early summer conflagration of anti-Catholic arson, vandalism, threats and violence. hate speech.

The more than 20 arson attacks and vandalism attacks on churches across the country have been widely seen as a response to the recent identification of long-lost graves in abandoned residential schools.

“To their credit, it was the indigenous leaders who made the strongest statements against acts of violence,” said Christian Elia in an interview with The British Columbia Catholic. “There were a lot less other civilian leaders and even law enforcement, quite frankly.

Two women were filmed throwing paint on the facade of St. Jude’s Church in East Vancouver on July 1st. (St. Jude’s Facebook)

“What is alarming for the Catholic Civil Rights League is how much this response really reveals hatred and intolerance towards organized religion, especially ours. I think many Canadians, even though they consider themselves to be very inclusive and very tolerant, conveniently make an exception when it comes to organized religion.

Elia’s voice was one of many alarmed voices following the explosion of physical and verbal attacks on churches, including more than a dozen fires. Yet by the end of the first week of July, few political leaders or law enforcement officials had condemned the attacks.

One of the few was Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who said on Twitter that the Morinville church fire “appears to be another violent hate crime targeting the Catholic community.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the church fire was “unacceptable” when asked about the attacks at a press conference on record temperatures across the country.

A spokesperson for an organization that is often the target of hate crimes said it is clear that the attacks meet the criteria for hate crimes. Nicolas Slobinsky of the Center for Israeli and Jewish Affairs in the Pacific Region said that hateful and anti-Catholic attacks – whether verbal or physical – “should be investigated as hate crimes by the police “.

Slobinsky said his community “shares the pain, anger and frustration felt by many across Canada over the discovery of several anonymous graves at former residential school sites,” but the violence is no longer there. not the correct answer.

“We join in the growing condemnation by indigenous leaders, elected officials and others of arson,” he said. The British Columbia Catholic. “As a society, we have a lot of work to do for truth and reconciliation, but targeting places of worship will not help us build a better future. “

The Saint-Jean-Baptiste church in flames on June 30. (CNS Photo / Diane Burrel, social media via Reuters)

Peter Noteboom, general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, said in an interview that the apparent increase in hate crimes against Christian churches is of growing concern to his organization.

“I also know from conversations with some of my colleagues from other religious communities – the Jewish community, the Muslim community, etc. together, ”Noteboom said. “It’s a new conversation, however, so it’s going carefully and slowly.”

Deacon Andrew Bennett, director of the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute, said that while anger against the Church is understandable in light of what happened in residential schools, “the violence is inexcusable. And if there’s one thing history has taught us, it’s that violence breeds violence and the last thing we want to do is create new victims. Watch the full interview with Father Deacon Bennett.

But at least one community leader in British Columbia who could have joined in such a conversation and advocated for the rights of Canadian Catholics instead used the news of arson attacks to fan the flames of anti-Church hatred.

This happened on July 1 when, in response to a VICE News report that two other Catholic churches had been “burned down,” Harsha Walia, executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, tweeted “Burn it all”. She then argued that the comment was metaphorical, a position ultimately supported by the association’s board of directors. A handful of other commentators also expressed support, including Gerald Butts, former senior adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who called the Tweet “understandable.”

Nonetheless, the most common response to Walia’s statement was condemnation. “I thought it was just disgusting and reprehensible that someone who runs an organization like this would make such comments,” British Columbia Solicitor General Mike Farnworth told reporters. “It is despicable beyond belief, it does nothing to bring about reconciliation. All it does is create conflict and division.

British Columbia Liberal MP Ellis Ross, a member of the Haisla First Nation running for his party’s leadership, said Walia’s statement was “unwarranted.”

“It’s a very reckless statement to make, condoning this type of violence, this type of behavior,” Ross said. The Catholic of British Columbia. “That’s not what we need right now.”

The Vancouver Police Department has not confirmed that it is investigating the tweet as a hate crime. Spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin would only say by email: “We are aware of the tweet and we are reviewing it. “

Established in 1962, BCCLA describes itself as “actively advocating for human rights and civil liberties through litigation, law reform, community legal advocacy, and public engagement and education.” No one at the association responded to British Columbia Catholic maintenance requests.

The remains of the historic Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church in Morinville, Alberta. (Government of Alberta / Flickr)

Derek Ross, Executive Director of the Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF), said The British Columbia Catholic that no one should equivocate the impact of arson in churches. “Attacks on places of worship must be condemned in the strongest terms,” he said in an email interview.

“Burning down a church is not just arson, where the damage is limited to bricks and mortar. It robs a community of their spiritual home and their right to fearless prayer, and sends a harmful public message that their very existence is intrusive. “

He also noted that while attacks on churches are to be condemned, “we must not allow these acts to distract us from the important work that needs to be done to seek justice, healing and reconciliation” with First Nations.

The Archdiocese of Vancouver issued a statement urging the faithful not to lose sight of the importance of advancing reconciliation, even as the Church is under attack.

“It is deeply distressing to hear the recent news of the burning and vandalism of certain churches,” the statement said. “The right way forward is one of reconciliation, dialogue and atonement with Indigenous peoples and following how they would lead us through this process. ”

In a reference to verbal attacks on the church such as those made by Walia, the Archdiocese said: “It is painful to find people in positions of local authority urging crowds to increase hatred and violence. Churches are made up of people, many of them here are made up of indigenous people, refugees and migrants – the same people we should all seek to protect rather than terrorize. “

Although no churches were set on fire in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, at least one church – St. Jude’s in East Vancouver – was vandalized on July 1 by two women who threw orange paint on the doors and windows. exterior walls. An email sent to Georgia Straight The publication of an anonymous account named “154 Years of the Canadian Angenocide” described the vandalism as “a stand-alone action in solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island”. (Turtle Island is a name some Indigenous people and their followers use to describe North America.) The group also distributed photos and a video of the vandalism.

When asked about the St. Jude vandalism, Vancouver police said The British Columbia Catholic, “It is an open and active investigation”.

A bronze statue of Jesus vandalized in Calgary. (Grandin Media)

Across town, the Musqueam First Nation administration in Vancouver hired a security company on June 30 to protect its small church, St. Michael’s, from vandalism or worse. “We had received anonymous information about arsonists in the area and we wanted to mitigate the risks,” said Devin Sharma, administrative director of Musqueam. The British Columbia Catholic.

Days later, Vancouver Police teamed up with the Musqueam to install a high-tech, multi-camera security system that can alert police to suspicious activity around the church. At least one other parish in the Metro Vancouver area, which asked to remain anonymous, also requested police protection over the weekend after Canada Day after receiving a disturbing letter.

Across Canada, more than a dozen churches have been destroyed or damaged by fire in recent weeks, and many more have been vandalized. Much of the destruction took place in churches which, ironically, served indigenous peoples. As the National post reported on July 7, it was often the First Nations themselves who were “left to pick up the pieces” after the coals cooled.

The finding was similar to that shared two days earlier by three Indigenous women, who held a press conference in Vancouver calling for an end to the church fires. “We don’t spread hatred, we love people, we don’t destroy other people’s places of religion,” Jenn Allan-Riley told reporters. “We are asking the people who are starting these fires to stop now.”

She pointed out that the arson attacks had injured the very people the vandals claimed to support by triggering traumatic feelings. “Burning churches is not in solidarity with us, the indigenous peoples. “


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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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100 Bulgarian evangelical pastors sign declaration against new religious law, Evangelical Focus https://helviti.com/100-bulgarian-evangelical-pastors-sign-declaration-against-new-religious-law-evangelical-focus/ https://helviti.com/100-bulgarian-evangelical-pastors-sign-declaration-against-new-religious-law-evangelical-focus/#respond Thu, 06 Aug 2020 23:33:49 +0000 https://helviti.com/100-bulgarian-evangelical-pastors-sign-declaration-against-new-religious-law-evangelical-focus/ On Sunday November 25, more than 3,000 people attended a large rally to defend religious freedom in Sofia (Bulgaria). Many journalists covered this demonstration, compared to the two previous events. Almost all national television networks, newspapers and major websites sent journalists to cover the protest. At first, the crowd, made up of members of evangelical […]]]>


On Sunday November 25, more than 3,000 people attended a large rally to defend religious freedom in Sofia (Bulgaria).

Many journalists covered this demonstration, compared to the two previous events. Almost all national television networks, newspapers and major websites sent journalists to cover the protest.

At first, the crowd, made up of members of evangelical churches, gathered in front of the Bulgarian parliament, and several pastors spoke of problems with the new legislation.

The second part of the rally was a prayer time. The whole meeting interceded against the new legislation.

Then the Christians started walk to the prime minister’s office building. There was another prayer time there and then the walk returned to the original location.

ONE HUNDRED PASTORS SIGN A DOCUMENT AGAINST THE LAW

All along, pastors were sign a document that was submitted to Parliament on Thursday 29. This is an official view on behalf of evangelical churches, containing 13 pages of legal arguments against amendments to the law on religion. Aronud a one hundred pastors signed the declaration.

About 100 pastors have signed a declaration against the law on religious denominations which may soon be passed in parliament.  / Vestnik Zornista

On Wednesday November 28, evangelicals in Bulgaria had a National Day of Prayer and Fasting. The Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance and other organizations encourage Christians all over the country and abroad to “continue to pray with us”.

There have been reports that lawmakers are determined to pass the new law in the coming weeks. So far, however, the Parliament does not discuss the bill.

Evangelical leaders will remain in their demand for international intercession: “for the freedom of the gospel in Bulgaria; for the wisdom and fear of the Lord in the hearts and minds of our politicians; and against the amendments to this law ”.

LETTERS TO THE PRIME MINISTER

Several international organizations such as the Global Evangelical Alliance and the Baptist World Alliance called on the Bulgarian parliament to stop a bill that “legalizes state interference in the affairs of religious communities, which invariably comes at the expense of religious freedom ”.

The president of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance sent a letter alarming about the profound consequences that such a law would have on all evangelicals in the country.

The rally started and ended in front of the Bulgarian Parliament in Sofia.  / Vestnik Zornista

In an interview with Evangelical focus, Rumen Bordjiev said: “The testimonies of faith of our brothers and sisters who suffered before us are still strong in our memories”.

Vlady Raichinov contributed to this article. Read more information on Bulgaria.

Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
– 100 Bulgarian evangelical pastors sign declaration against new law on religion


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Religion law puts “thousands of people in a vulnerable position,” says Spanish EA to Bulgarian ambassador, Evangelical Focus https://helviti.com/religion-law-puts-thousands-of-people-in-a-vulnerable-position-says-spanish-ea-to-bulgarian-ambassador-evangelical-focus/ https://helviti.com/religion-law-puts-thousands-of-people-in-a-vulnerable-position-says-spanish-ea-to-bulgarian-ambassador-evangelical-focus/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2020 07:08:36 +0000 https://helviti.com/religion-law-puts-thousands-of-people-in-a-vulnerable-position-says-spanish-ea-to-bulgarian-ambassador-evangelical-focus/ Bulgarian evangelical Christians have received support from several international organizations, after the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance warned against drafting a new law on religion that would severely restrict religious freedom. After the reactions of the European Evangelical Alliance, of the Global Evangelical Alliances, and the Baptist World Federation, national alliances also began writing to political representatives. […]]]>


Bulgarian evangelical Christians have received support from several international organizations, after the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance warned against drafting a new law on religion that would severely restrict religious freedom.

After the reactions of the European Evangelical Alliance, of the Global Evangelical Alliances, and the Baptist World Federation, national alliances also began writing to political representatives.

“We have learned of the adoption on first reading of a law on religious freedom in the Parliament of the Republic of Bulgaria (…) which restricts the exercise of religious freedom,” said one letter to the Bulgarian Ambassador to Spain, signed by the Secretary General of Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE).

The bill, the letter said, would control foreign funds received by religious minorities, interfere in theological teaching and establish state controls over ministers. If the law is passed, “the Bulgarian state would inadequately assume power over the internal life of religious communities,” writes the Spanish Evangelical Alliance.

“Almost all of the articles in these new legislation imposes political authority over religious life wrongly, ”says the letter signed by EEA Secretary General Jaume Llenas.

As a result of the proposed law, “thousands of citizens would be placed in a situation of fragility and the exercise of one of their fundamental human rights would be restricted: religious freedom”.

Spain has a past in which religious minorities have been persecuted, explains the EEA in the letter. “As a religious minority in our country, we know how fundamental and vital this freedom is, and how much suffering and injustice the denial of this essential right has caused in the past. We believe religious freedom is the foundation of a prosperous and open society”.

The letter sent to the Bulgarian Ambassador to Spain, Ivan Kondov, ends by saying: “We ask the Bulgarian Embassy in Spain to intercede with its government to stop the approval of this bill, and promote a more just law, which guarantees the religious freedom of all citizens. , whatever religion they adhere to”.

The Spanish Evangelical Alliance sent a similar message letter To Members of the European Parliament.

Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
Law on religion puts “thousands of people in a vulnerable position”, says Spanish EA to Bulgarian ambassador


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Kosovo Serbs mobilize against Montenegro’s new law on religion https://helviti.com/kosovo-serbs-mobilize-against-montenegros-new-law-on-religion/ https://helviti.com/kosovo-serbs-mobilize-against-montenegros-new-law-on-religion/#respond Thu, 09 Jan 2020 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/kosovo-serbs-mobilize-against-montenegros-new-law-on-religion/ Hundreds of ethnic Serbs rallied on the outskirts of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, to protest the alleged suppression of religious and other rights of Serbian minorities in neighboring Montenegro. On January 9, demonstrators marched through Gracanica, a small municipality populated by Serbs, waving religious banners and a cross. “[Kosovo] against ghosts, the brothers protect […]]]>


Hundreds of ethnic Serbs rallied on the outskirts of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, to protest the alleged suppression of religious and other rights of Serbian minorities in neighboring Montenegro.

On January 9, demonstrators marched through Gracanica, a small municipality populated by Serbs, waving religious banners and a cross.

“[Kosovo] against ghosts, the brothers protect the holies, “said a banner.

The march was organized by youth organizations and supported by the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Three similar protest rallies were held in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, against a controversial new religion law that was passed by Montenegro’s parliament last month.

By law, religious communities must prove pre-1918 ownership.

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 opposition parties fear the law will allow the Montenegrin government to seize Church property, although officials deny any intention to do so.

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

Montenegro is NATO’s newest member and aspires to join the European Union.


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Belgrade protesters rally against Montenegro’s new religion law https://helviti.com/belgrade-protesters-rally-against-montenegros-new-religion-law/ https://helviti.com/belgrade-protesters-rally-against-montenegros-new-religion-law/#respond Wed, 08 Jan 2020 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/belgrade-protesters-rally-against-montenegros-new-religion-law/ BELGRADE – Thousands of people gathered in the Serbian capital to protest the alleged suppression of religious and other rights of Serbian minorities in neighboring countries. The January 8 march to St. Sava’s Church in Belgrade was led by Serbian Orthodox priests and brought together right-wing groups, football fans and others. It was the third […]]]>


BELGRADE – Thousands of people gathered in the Serbian capital to protest the alleged suppression of religious and other rights of Serbian minorities in neighboring countries.

The January 8 march to St. Sava’s Church in Belgrade was led by Serbian Orthodox priests and brought together right-wing groups, football fans and others.

It was the third time that protesters took to the streets of Belgrade against a controversial new law on religion that was passed by Montenegro’s parliament last month.

Under the law, which came into force on January 8, religious communities must prove ownership of property 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 opposition parties fear the law will allow the Montenegrin government to seize Church property, although officials deny any intention to do so.

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

Montenegro is NATO’s newest member and aspires to join the European Union.

With reports from AP and Balkan Insight


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Montenegro parliament approves law on religion despite protests https://helviti.com/montenegro-parliament-approves-law-on-religion-despite-protests/ https://helviti.com/montenegro-parliament-approves-law-on-religion-despite-protests/#respond Fri, 27 Dec 2019 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/montenegro-parliament-approves-law-on-religion-despite-protests/ PODGORICA (Reuters) – Montenegro’s parliament on Friday approved a law on religious communities despite street protests and a last-minute attempt in the hemicycle by pro-Serbian opposition MPs to block the vote. By law, religious communities in the small Adriatic state would have to prove ownership from before 1918, when predominantly Orthodox Christian Montenegro joined the […]]]>


PODGORICA (Reuters) – Montenegro’s parliament on Friday approved a law on religious communities despite street protests and a last-minute attempt in the hemicycle by pro-Serbian opposition MPs to block the vote.

By law, religious communities in the small Adriatic state would have to prove ownership from before 1918, when predominantly Orthodox Christian Montenegro joined the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, the predecessor of defunct Yugoslavia.

The pro-Serbian Democratic Front (DF) and other critics of the legislation say it is an attempt to promote the small Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which is not recognized by other large churches, to at the expense of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the dominant Church in the country of 620,000 inhabitants.

They also accuse the pro-Western President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, and his ruling Democratic Socialist Party of corruption, links to organized crime and seeking to drive the country away from Serbia, its bigger neighbor.

DF MPs brawled with their opponents just before the vote, which took place in the early hours of Friday after a long nighttime debate.

Police first detained the 18 DF deputies, but then released 15. Among the three who remained in detention pending charge was DF chief Andrija Mandic.

“We said we were ready to die for our church,” Mandic told reporters after the crash.

Hundreds of opposition supporters and clergy took to the streets of Podgorica on Thursday to demonstrate against the law. Roads in the north of the country were also blocked for hours.

The Serbian Orthodox Church has around 12 million followers, mainly in Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro. It has 66 monasteries in Montenegro, most of them dating from the Middle Ages, as well as dozens of churches and other real estate.

Patriarch Irinej, head of the church, called on the Montenegrin authorities to end what he called their “brutal terror”.

“His Holiness (…) demands the immediate release (…) of the political representatives of the Serbian Orthodox people in Montenegro”, he declared.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Belgrade would seek to ease tensions through diplomatic means.

“We will help our people (in Montenegro), but we will not destroy the bridges with our neighbors,” said Vucic.

The Church suspects the Montenegrin state of wanting to seize its assets, which the government denies. Djukanovic accused the Church of promoting pro-Serbian policies with the aim of undermining the Montenegrin state.

Montenegro separated peacefully from its former federal partner in 2006. It is now a member of NATO and, like Serbia, a candidate for membership of the European Union.

Report by Stevo Vasiljevic in Podgorica; Written by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Gareth Jones


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Montenegrin parliament set to debate disputed religion law https://helviti.com/montenegrin-parliament-set-to-debate-disputed-religion-law/ https://helviti.com/montenegrin-parliament-set-to-debate-disputed-religion-law/#respond Tue, 24 Dec 2019 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/montenegrin-parliament-set-to-debate-disputed-religion-law/ A policeman watches over priests and nuns of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Podgorica, Montenegro, in 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE / BORIS PEJOVIC The legislative committee of Montenegro’s parliament on Tuesday approved a bill on freedom of religion, the last hurdle before the legislation is debated by lawmakers on Thursday amid fierce objections from the Serbian […]]]>



A policeman watches over priests and nuns of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Podgorica, Montenegro, in 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE / BORIS PEJOVIC

The legislative committee of Montenegro’s parliament on Tuesday approved a bill on freedom of religion, the last hurdle before the legislation is debated by lawmakers on Thursday amid fierce objections from the Serbian Orthodox Church, SPC.

Hundreds of Serbian priests and monks demonstrated in front of the parliament ahead of the commission session to demand the bill’s withdrawal.

The bill includes a register of all religious objects and sites which, according to the authorities, once belonged to the independent kingdom of Montenegro before it became part of the Serbian-dominated Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918 as as the precursor of Yugoslavia.

Under the law, religious communities will be required to provide clear evidence of ownership in order to retain their property, a provision which the SPC says is designed for the government to strip the church of its property.

The government denies having any designs on the assets of the SPC, but pro-Serbian opposition MP Andrija Mandic told MPs they risked curse if they approve the bill.

Justice Minister Zoran Pazin rejected allegations that the bill is discriminatory, telling the committee session: “Curses because of the law are not fair and it is an expression of intolerance.

After the demonstration, the priests held a liturgy at the Church of Christ Resurrection in Podgorica and signed a declaration pledging to defend the church.

“We hope that the deputies will hear the voice of their people and of the priesthood,” said Metropolitan SPC Amfilohije.



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Bulgarian evangelicals alarmed by religious law “threatening the rights and freedoms of churches”, Evangelical Focus https://helviti.com/bulgarian-evangelicals-alarmed-by-religious-law-threatening-the-rights-and-freedoms-of-churches-evangelical-focus/ https://helviti.com/bulgarian-evangelicals-alarmed-by-religious-law-threatening-the-rights-and-freedoms-of-churches-evangelical-focus/#respond Fri, 09 Nov 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/bulgarian-evangelicals-alarmed-by-religious-law-threatening-the-rights-and-freedoms-of-churches-evangelical-focus/ Bulgarian evangelicals called on international bodies to respond to new legislation that could severely restrict religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities. “The Bulgarian state wrongly takes power in the internal life of religious communities”, Evangelical Alliance Bulgaria (EAB) denounced in a letter sent this week to the European Evangelical Alliance. “Almost all the […]]]>


Bulgarian evangelicals called on international bodies to respond to new legislation that could severely restrict religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities.

“The Bulgarian state wrongly takes power in the internal life of religious communities”, Evangelical Alliance Bulgaria (EAB) denounced in a letter sent this week to the European Evangelical Alliance.

“Almost all the articles of the newly proposed bills wrongly and unjustly claims political authority over religious life», Writes the pastor Roumen Bordjiev.

In the last few months, parliament discussed new legislation that will allow a “state policy of interference in church affairs,” the EAB president said.

WHAT DOES THE NEW LEGISLATION SAY?

Here are the main issues with the new legislation:

Only Bulgarian citizens may exercise liturgical activity if they have followed a theological training in Bulgaria or if their foreign school is accredited.

– Only Orthodox and Muslim believers in the East will be able to to train the clergy and run schools.

– A foreigner will only be able to preach if he does so with an ordained Bulgarian minister.

Foreign donations will only be allowed for building construction or social assistance and will require government approval. No pastor’s salary, for example, could be paid from abroad.

No religious activity can take place outside the buildings designated for them.

– Only religious groups of +300 people will have legal status.

ALL RELIGIOUS GROUPS OPPOSE THE LAW

After receiving the “Green light” at first reading in parliament on October 4, a deadline for possible objections and discussions has been opened. Parliament authorized a interim period for possible objections which will end on November 16. In the meantime, a working group made up of politicians and religious representatives is supposed to work on the drafting of the proposed articles. At present, however, the working group has not yet started its work.

After carefully analyzing the law, the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance declared that the legislation “is so flawed, amendments cannot solve the problems – Instead, it should be scrapped ”.

“Literally, no religious community has expressed its agreement with the proposed changes,” said the Bulgarian evangelical body. In fact, the The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Muslim religion, all Protestant faiths, the Armenian community, the Jewish community and the Catholic Church have all issued statements of protest.

EVANGELICS RISE IN DEFENSE OF THE EXPRESSION OF FAITH

Evangelical Christians are one of the minority faith groups that would see their rights and freedoms affected. This is why the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance “insisted on being invited to the committee to discuss the amended articles of the law (…) We also have requested a special meeting with the Prime Minister of the country, Mr. Boyko Borisov in order to express our explicit refusal to accept such government intervention in religious affairs ”.

In addition, “various NGOs are also considering joining forces and possibly even taking legal action, led by the unanimous opinion that the the law is discriminatory, unconstitutional and unfair”.

PEACEFUL RALLIES AFTER SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES

Evangelical churches organize peaceful gatherings in several cities.  / VAE

It happens Sunday afternoon November 11, Evangelical Christians across the country will take to the streets after worship at peaceful gatherings for their right to practice their faith. Churches of various denominations in the towns of Sofia, Ruse, Bourgas, Silistra, Dobrich, Kotel (among others) mobilize their members to join the street demonstration.

They will wear signs, saying New Religion Bill Takes Us Back to Communism!, and Religious freedom in Bulgaria is in danger!

‘WRITING LETTERS TO THE BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT’

The Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance also called on believers to take the following actions: “pray” for the situation; “Alarm” other Evangelical Covenants about the situation in Bulgaria, contact “the European institutions, MEPs and international organizations for the defense of human and religious rights”; write letters to the Bulgarian government.

EEA: THE SITUATION IN BULGARIA IS “ALARMY”

In response to the letter from the Bulgarian Evangelicals, the European Evangelical Alliance Express his concern at the “alarming developments in Bulgaria”.

The European Evangelical Alliance has called for writing to MEPs on the situation in Bulgaria.

According to the body representing millions of evangelical Christians across the continent, the new legislation would give “enormous and unnecessary power to the Bulgarian state to interfere with all religious communities”. Therefore, “If the Parliament wishes to continue the discussions, then the representatives of the churches should be involved”.

The AEE calls “to pray and encourage others to pray” and to “contact the Bulgarian Embassy in your nation and write to politicians in Sofia. Write a short letter / email explaining the main issues of the proposed legislation as stated above. Ask politely but firmly why Bulgaria would introduce legislation so excessive and so harmful to all religious communities. Demand that the legislative proposal be abandoned ”.

For those in European Union Member States, the EEA encourages them to ‘write a short letter to MEPs in your country, explaining the main issues of the proposed legislation and asking them to speak urgently to their Bulgarian colleagues to ask them why Bulgaria would introduce such legislation. excessively controlling and would cause great hardship to all faiths. Click on here to find MEPs from your nation”.

WORLD EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE: STRENGTHENING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

The Global Evangelical Alliance‘s also reacted to the letter of the Bulgarian evangelicals.

general secretary Efraim Tendero said: “At a time when governments around the world face the challenge of strengthening freedoms while maintaining security, we call on Bulgaria and other democratic countries to lead by example and strengthen the right to religious freedom rather than weaken it”.

The EAJ statement added: “We call on the Bulgarian authorities to reconsider their bill to amend the law on religious denominations (…) and we call on evangelicals around the world to accompany our brothers and sisters in Bulgaria in prayer as ‘they engage with their political leaders to identify the best way forward”.

Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
– Bulgarian evangelicals are alarmed by religious law “threatening the rights and freedoms of churches”


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