New Constitution in Hungary Decertifies Major Christian Deno
New Constitution in Hungary Decertifies Major Christian Denominations
More than 300 religious groups – including several Christian denominations – have lost official recognition in Hungary under the country’s controversial new constitution, reports Barnabas Aid.
The code, which came into effect on January 1st, introduces a new law on religion that was deemed unconstitutional by the country’s Constitutional Court last month.
It grants state recognition to 14 religious groups and decertifies the rest, meaning that over 300 denominations lose their official status, including their tax exemptions and freedom to run state-funded schools.
These include a number of major Protestant denominations, including Episcopalians, Methodists and all but one of the evangelical churches, as well as many small Catholic orders. No version of Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism can operate with state approval any longer.
The new constitution, which in combination with other recent laws curtails the independence of the country’s central bank and courts, has been widely opposed. The day after it came into force, tens of thousands of Hungarians took to the streets of Budapest in protest. The European Union and United States have also asked for the law to be withdrawn.
Opponents say that it threatens democracy by removing the checks and balances that were set up in 1989 when Communism fell. These have been aimed at eliminating constitutional guarantees such as press freedoms, and solidifying the governing party, Fidesz’s, hold on power.
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