Fidesz Submits New Church Bill; Recognized Religions In Hungary Must Be At Least 100 Years Old

Budapest, Hungary - Barring a few amendments, the bill practically agrees word for word with the law that was struck down by the Constitutional Court on procedural grounds on Monday.

One new element makes formal recognition of the Hare Krishna movement impossible, while another undoes a clause that would have deprived the group of its land.

The new bill stipulates that Parliament’s religious committee, rather than a cabinet minister, will assess requests for official church status, from January 1. To date, 72 communities have submitted such requests.

Fidesz MP Gergely Gulyás said about 12 new churches could be recognised by late February.

As the threat of a national security risk is grounds to refuse recognition, the Church of Scientology will not get official status, Gulyás noted.

The Constitutional Court struck down the church law passed last summer, which acknowledged 14 denominations, because it was completely rephrased with amendments by a committee shortly before the final voting procedure. The Court objected to the way the law was passed rather than its content."