Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hungary's Cabinet To Consider New Law On Churches

Politics.hu reports today that Hungary's cabinet will be presented within a few weeks with a proposed new law on churches.  It will prohibit the government from controlling or supervising churches. The bill will define churches as communities primarily engaged in religious activities, and will exclude from the definition activities such as data management, lobbying, psychical or parapsychology services, and medical and business ventures. The bill will define 9 groups as "historic churches" in Hungary: Catholic, Reformed and Lutheran, Jewish, various denominations of the Orthodox church, Unitarians, Baptists, Methodists and Pentecostals. It will then have other categories: "new Protestant churches" (such as the Faith Church), "religious communities recognised by Parliament", and "churches with considerable public activities that can conclude an agreement with the government." The law will define criteria for recognition as a church: a focus on religion, a creed, a 20-year history in Hungary, at least 1000 members and formal organizational documents and elections.