Members of human rights organizations and religious groups said they are discontent with the new Law of Cults, which renders the process of recognizing the status of cult more difficult, and they intend to take legal action to settle the situation.
According to Forum 18 News Service, cited by spcm.org, human rights activists and members of several religious communities said they are surprised and concerned with the fact that on December 27, 2006, president Traian Basescu approved the new and controversial Law of Cults, especially since they had requested the president to send the law back to Parliament for reanalysis. Discontent with the law’s stipulations, human rights activists and religious members intend to propose that the law be sent to the Constitutional Court and maybe even to eth European Court for Human Rights.
Adventist pastor Adrian Bocaneanu said he is worried about the provisions regarding “religious denigration” and “public offense to religious symbols”, arguing that the “essence of religious freedom is being able to freely express one’s belief and comparing it to that of others”.
Bocaneanu emphasized that the way in which the law is implemented is crucial.
“If the law is interpreted so as to silence other religions, and this becomes a way of doing things, than it is bad. However, it does not seem likely to be this way right now,” Bocaneanu added.
Jehova’s Witnesses, recognized as cult in Romania in 1990 and which was several times in danger of being outlawed, has 83,000 members in 540 congregations throughout Romania, who firmly oppose the law. “The law is very restrictive and it does not support the whole of society and only help a few religious communities,” said the general superintendent of the Union of Penticostal Churches in Romania.
The law regarding religious freedom and the general status of cults was enacted in the plenary session of the Chamber of deputies on December 13, 2006, was promulgated by president Basescu on December 27.
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