Freedom Of Religion In Belarus
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion; however, the Government restricted this right in practice.
Respect for religious freedom has recently worsened. The Government continued to restrict religious freedom in accordance with the provisions of a 2002 law on religion and a 2003 concordat with the Belarusian Orthodox Church (BOC), a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the only officially recognized Orthodox denomination. Although there is no state religion, the concordat grants the BOC privileged status. Protestants in particular attracted negative attention, presumably for their perceived links with the United States. Numerous anti-Semitic acts and attacks on religious monuments, buildings, and cemeteries occurred with little discernible response from the Government. Authorities kept many religious communities waiting as long as several years for decisions about property registration or restitution. Authorities also harassed and fined members of certain religious groups, especially those that the authorities appeared to regard as bearers of foreign cultural influence or as having a political agenda. Foreign missionaries, clergy, and humanitarian workers affiliated with churches faced many government-imposed obstacles, including deportation and visa refusal or cancellation.
While some members of society took positive actions to promote religious freedom, instances of societal abuses and discrimination occurred, including numerous acts of vandalism and arson of religious sites, buildings, and memorials.
Famous quotes containing the words freedom of, freedom and/or religion:
“The only conception of freedom I can have is that of the prisoner or the individual in the midst of the State. The only one I know is freedom of thought and action.”
—Albert Camus (19131960)
“In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the freehonorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)
“We think of religion as the symbolic expression of our highest moral ideals; we think of magic as a crude aggregate of superstitions. Religious belief seems to become mere superstitious credulity if we admit any relationship with magic. On the other hand our anthropological and ethnographical material makes it extremely difficult to separate the two fields.”
—Ernst Cassirer (18741945)