Church Registration Reconsidered in Argentina

Buenos, Aires, Argentina - The Argentine government is drafting new rules that would put an end to obligatory state registration for religious groups.

Various non-catholic religious groups have complained about the current law, which requires churches and other religious groups to register with the state's Worship Department (Secretaría de Culto) as non-profit civil associations.

The measure was enacted during the previous military government, and does not extend to the Catholic Church.

Under the current law, non-Catholic religious groups must pay more taxes and higher prices for public services. The groups are also prohibited from sending their members to study abroad.

To date, previous initiatives to re-write the law failed because overly complex solutions were often presented.

This year, however, the non-Catholic religious groups and the government officials began holding formal weekly discussions to work out simpler regulations and changes.

Through weekly discussions, which began in February, Christian groups hope a new law can be approved in Congress by mid-year.