Serbia rushes controversial religion law.

By April 24, 2006

Serbia (MNN)–Serbia’s National Assembly rushed a controversial religion law through Parliament last week that has Christians concerned.

There is suspicion about why the law was rushed through parliament just before the Serbian Easter holiday. While the Religion Ministry insists the law is being received, church leaders counter saying they can’t comment on something they’ve not been able to read. In fact, they are very concerned that the law’s final text is not publicly available.

Forum 18 notes that from what is available, the law favors the Serbian Orthodox Church at the expense of other faiths. It also complicates state registration and may cause trouble for similarly named churches and denominations.

President Boris Tadic has been asked to sign the law quickly, so that on May 4th or 5th, the government can approve the draft text of a law on returning properties to the Churches and send it to the Parliament.

Legal experts say this will discriminate against the right of many smaller religious communities who are looking to get property confiscated from them after 1945 returned.

The scenario could degenerate into the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ based on affiliation. That’s why some church leaders believe the law will deepen the gulf between religious communities, but it is unclear how this law will affect ministry.

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