Bulgarian Christians protest against anti-church laws
Thousands of Bulgarian Christians rallied in favour of religious liberty last month, in protest against new laws restricting mission and worship.
Christians gathered in Sofia for three consecutive Sundays on 11, 18 and 25 November in opposition to amendments to the Law on Religious Communities.
If passed, the amendments would place restraints on evangelising, bans on worship outside officially recognised buildings, restrictions on training denominational ministers and a membership threshold of 300 people required for official recognition of groups. Financial donations are also being targeted, with the state demanding greater control over “international donations for religious purposes”.
Alarm has been raised by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in support of the Baptist World Alliance. In a letter to the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borissov, the Commission said: “No state, we believe, should be in a position to control the training and activities of ecclesiastical ministers, nor should a state favour one faith expression over another.”
The Bulgarian constitution itself guarantees freedom of religion stating “The practising of any religion shall be unrestricted.”