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Hungary bans Anglicans: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 12, 2011 p 6. August 12, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Hungary has introduced a new law governing the registration of religious groups that critics charge discriminates against minority faiths, and strips St Margaret’s Anglican Church in Budapest of its status as a religious organisation.

On 14 July the Hungarian Parliament adopted “The Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion and on the Status of Churches, Religions and Religious Communities” Law, by a vote of 254 in favour to 43 opposed.

Introduced on 10 June in Parliament, the proposed legislation would have created three tiers of religious groups, with differing authorities to conduct worship and engage in charitable activities under Hungarian law. Human Rights activists, NGOs and a number of religious leaders objected, arguing, in the words of the Washington think-tank, the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, the bill gave Hungary “a tiered system offering an inferior religious status to minority faiths that violates the right to religious freedom and the right to be free from religious discrimination.”

On 12 July the governing Fidesz party with their coalition allies the Christian Democrats amended the bill, eliminating the tier system and recognising 14 religious organisations as Churches. Hungary’s 348 other faiths and denominations were stripped of their legal status as religious organisations and lost their tax exempt status and entitlements to state subsidies.

The 14 denominations that were allowed to retain their registration were the Roman and Greek Catholic Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Lutherans, the Calvinists, select Jewish denominations, the Hungarian Unitarians, the Baptists and the Faith Church.

Among those losing recognition were Hungary’s Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostal, Adventist and reform Jewish congregations, the Salvation Army and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu groups.

The Institute on Religion and Public Policy condemned the new law saying it “creates the most burdensome registration system in the entire OSCE region while codifying systematic discrimination of religious minorities. The Religion Law is completely inconsistent with fundamental human rights as it contravenes the principles of equality and non-discrimination.”

A coalition of human rights and democracy activists that opposed the communist regime submitted an open letter to the European Union asking it to intervene. “Never before has a Member State of the EU so blatantly dared to go against the principles of freedom of beliefs, equality before the law, and separation of church from state. These are all established fundamental rights in our common Europe,” the 8 August letter stated.

“In the 1970s, under the Soviet domination over Eastern Europe, all we could do in similar situations was to hold vigils at worship sites that had been shut or demolished.

We fought for a Europe that is united under human rights. Have our hopes been in vain,” they stated, urging the EU to “start an official inquiry into this violation of the rights that are possessed by all Europeans.”

Comments

1. Hungary bans Anglicans: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 12 … - Christian IBD - August 12, 2011

[…] Jehovah's Witnesses, and Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu groups. … View full post on anglican – Google Blog Search Tagged with: Anglicans • Bans • CHURCH • England • Hungary • […]

2. Felix Adebola Agbolade - August 12, 2011

This is a scheme from the pit of hell! What signal is the Hungarian Govt. trying to pass across? It is an AntiChrist move and must be resisted by the whole Christian community all over the world.

3. Hungarus - August 13, 2011

The article is not correct. 14 churches/religious communities obtained the status of a state recognized church automatically. These are traditional communities and a new but big neo-protestant church. The others have to negotiate with the government but I am sure that the Anglican community will get this status.
The new law was necessary, because of abuses of the status (pseudo-churches).

The Christian values are very important for the government.

Anonymous - August 22, 2011

Dear Hungarus,

How close are you to Prime Minister Orban? What power do you have in the Fidesz government to change things? If you are close tot he Prime Minister and have such power, then please do something about this mistaken policy.

4. Lewis {LAJOS] - August 20, 2011

Galations:2.16 [ today as I Have my Quiet Time I Read.]
Knowing that a Man is not Justified by the works of the Law, But by the Faith of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter: 5.7 Casting all your Care upon HIM; HE careth for you.
Prov:16.3 Commit thy Works unto the LORD ,andthy Thoughts shall be established.

5. Frank Hegedus - August 26, 2011

With reference to your recent article, “Hungary Bans Anglicans,” I wish to assure your readers that Hungary has done no such thing. The new church law is a complicated matter, involving history, politics, taxation, and finance. Saint Margaret’s Anglican Episcopal Church continues in communication and dialogue with appropriate representatives of the Hungarian government. However, Saint Margaret’s has in no way been banned in Hungary, nor has the Anglican Communion.


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