PRESS RELEASE | New religion law in Bulgaria
EEA calls to action in support of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance
Many of you will have seen news of alarming developments in Bulgaria. A new religion law has passed its first reading through the Parliament. If it completes the legislative process without significant amendment, the impact on all faith communities will be serious.
Read the letter from the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance giving details and asking for help.
Here is a summary of the main problems with the proposed legislation:
-Only Bulgarian citizens will be able to carry out liturgical activity if they have had theological training in Bulgaria or their foreign school is approved.
-Only Eastern Orthodox & Muslim believers will be able to train clergy and run schools.
A foreigner will only be able to preach if doing so with a Bulgarian ordained minister.
-Foreign donations will only be allowed for building construction or social aid and will need government approval. No salaries of pastors for example could be paid from abroad.
-No religious activities can take place outside of buildings designated for them.
Only religious groups with +300 people will have legal status.
-The new legislation would give huge and unnecessary power of the Bulgarian State to interfere with all faith communities. No faith community in Bulgaria supports the proposals.
The Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance believes that the legislation is so flawed, amendments cannot solve the problems. Instead, it should be scrapped. If the Parliament wishes to continue discussions, then representatives of the churches should be involved.
We would like to ask you urgently to pray and encourage others to pray. There are other things that you can also do to help. All of this should be done in the next few days.
Contact the Bulgarian embassy in your nation and write to the politicians in Sofia. Write a short letter/email explaining the main problems in the proposed legislation as outlined above. Politely but firmly ask why Bulgaria would introduce legislation that is so excessive and also harmful to all faith communities. Demand that the legislative proposal be scrapped.
For those in EU Member States, write a short letter to the MEPs of your nation, explaining the main problems in the proposed legislation and asking them to speak urgently to their Bulgarian colleagues to ask why Bulgaria would introduce legislation that is so excessively controlling and would cause great difficulties for all faiths. Click here to find the MEPs of your nation.
Thanks for telling us how you respond so that we can encourage our Bulgarian friends.