Hungarian religious minorities fight discriminatory law

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Hungarian religious minorities fight discriminatory law

Post by plwk » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:20 am

Buddhists in Hungary are faced with a current major political crisis.
The issue, if not immediately dealt with will result in Buddhist organisations being deprived of all legal status, thus losing considerable financial benefits and official legitimation enjoyed by other religions.

Last year, elections in Hungary brought to power a conservative nationalist party, winning two thirds of the seats in Parliament. The character of this government is illustrated by its share of significant elements of an extreme right wing party in Parliament, which is more or less explicitly racist, anti-Gypsy and anti-Semitic.

With such a substantial majority, the government has been able to write a new constitution for Hungary that gives Christianity a privileged status. On that basis Hungarian legislators have introduced a new law on churches, redefining what is religious congregation, entitlement to legal status and the tax and other benefits that go with it.

In the new law, called "Law on the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion, and on Churches, Religions and Religious Community", or famously known as "the church law" in Hungary, only ‘historic Hungarian churches’ are automatically recognised. These include Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Orthodox and a few other traditional Christian churches. These denominations are all explicitly accepted in the law, and no other Christian sects are acknowledged.

While some traditional Jewish congregations are included, reformed Jews are not. In this legislation, not a single Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist organisation is accepted.

The law allows for other religious congregations to be recognised in future, if they can prove that they have a membership of at least one thousand and have been in existence for more than twenty years.
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