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Romania’s Christian Minorities Protest Proposed New Legislation

ANS - Romanian Christians are upset about a new proposal targeting unrecognized religious minorities. According to a news release from www.revivalromania.ro, the proposal is restrictive and discriminatory against religious groups founded after the 1989 Romanian Revolution which resulted in the fall of Communism.

The news release stated that Christian groups felt the need to do something about the impending restrictions, so among other efforts they attempted to initiate changes to the proposed draft and protested in a number of Romanian cities. According to the news release, if the proposed changes become law they will result in all religious groups of 300 people or less being denied the ability to start a religious association as a legal umbrella for their work.

This will mean, the news release stated, that “they cannot promote their identity, having no right to purchase property, to build churches or to have paid staff or ministers.”

The news release explained that a group with between 300 and 22,000 members (0.1% of the Romanian population) can register as a religious association, but is not officially recognized as a denomination. That is a situation, the news release commented, “which may lead to discrimination and persecution.”

All religious groups currently functioning as registered associations, the release stated, will be forced to dissolve. Then if they meet the proposed new requirements, the news release said, each group can register as a new religious association.

“There are several thousands of religious groups in this situation,” the news release read. “Their organizations own property, have built church buildings, have paid staff and are in danger of not receiving new authorization. Approval for starting a new religious association is to be given by the court. In the court the government is represented by a prosecutor, and by an inspector from the Religious Department of the Romanian government. We do not consider this to be appropriate.”

The news release further commented, “The general spirit of this proposed law is that religious minorities are only tolerated, but not equal in rights and freedom with other denominations. This can lead to further discrimination and persecution, and does not respect the Romanian Constitution, which guarantees absolute equality between people, regardless of religion. The results of the recent nationwide census show clearly that three recognized denominations in Romania have less than 0.1% of the country’s population in membership.”…[Go To Full Story]

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