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LEGAL STATUS OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS AND CHURCHES

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Most European governments have created measures to ensure the religious rights and freedoms of historically important churches as well as independent religious organizations.

For example, the Norwegian Constitution states: “All subjects in the kingdom may enjoy the freedom of religious worship.”

There are regulations in which the guarantee of religious rights takes precedence over the rights of citizens, in a manner consistent with the wishes of churches or religious organizations. For example, the Portuguese Constitution states: “Freedom of religion is necessary.”

Religious organizations, which are established in order to carry out anti-state and anti-church activities in order to establish a certain religion, violate the social rights of citizens. Measures have been taken in this regard in the constitutions of the following countries: Belgium (Article 1.5), Switzerland (Article 49), Finland (Article 3), Germany (Article 136).

In the normative acts of some countries it is considered that the religious rights and freedoms are determined and given by the state. Such examples are the constitutions of Denmark – Article 7 reads “Danish citizens have the right to establish religious congregations”; Rwanda – Art. 13 and Art. 16 “Religious rights and freedoms of all citizens are allowed”; The government of the citizens does not create restrictions on religion or denomination, etc.

There are state regulations that stipulate that religious freedom is guaranteed in principle for all citizens of the country. The Federal Constitution of Argentina states: “The religious freedom of all Argentines and foreigners is ensured, regardless of whether it is a question of citizens or emigrants “.

Legislation in some countries declares that freedom of religion or belief is guaranteed “to all people,” “to every individual.” This group includes countries such as Bolivia, Chile, Cyprus, Ecuador, Spain, Italy, Mexico, and Poland. , Turkey, Venezuela and others.

The legalization or official recognition of religious organizations and churches has raised the issue of religious cults in general. Sociologists, philosophers, historians and political scientists have come to the same conclusion.

It is much more difficult to create normative acts that would determine the directions of religious life and morality, especially in these acts there is a lack of definition and specification of the two main categories that characterize religious life. The majority of legislators are of the opinion that the nature and activity of cults, churches and organizations should be studied.

There are situations when some religious organizations claim to be religious, but different laws and administrative bodies do not agree. Therefore, some legislators create the content and nature of religious activity. They are of the opinion that every cult, every church or organization, should be included in the limit set for it.

Their rights and freedoms, as well as their religious activities, must be considered by law, which can ensure religious rights and freedoms in a society.

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Petar Gramatikov

Dr. Petar Gramatikov is the Editor in Chief and Director of The European Times. He is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Reporters. Dr. Gramatikov has more than 20 years of Academic experience in different institutions for higher education in Bulgaria. He also examined lectures, related to theoretical problems involved in the application of international law in religious law where a special focus has been given to the legal framework of New Religious Movements, freedom of religion and self-determination, and State-Church relations for plural-ethnic states. In addition to his professional and academic experience, Dr. Gramatikov has more than 10 years Media experience where he hold a positions as Editor of a tourism quarterly periodical “Club Orpheus” magazine – “ORPHEUS CLUB Wellness” PLC, Plovdiv; Consultant and author of religious lectures for the specialized rubric for deaf people at the Bulgarian National Television and has been Accredited as a journalist from “Help the Needy” Public Newspaper at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

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