Written by Don Byrd

Leaders of the Baptist World Alliance and the European Baptist Federation are urging Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov to reject legislation that would curtail religious liberty in that country. The controversial amendments to Bulgaria’s Law on Religious Communities were approved on first reading in October, but in a letter during the public comment period prior to the second reading, Baptist leaders warned of its impact on religious minorities.

The Baptist Standard’s Ken Camp reports on the contents of the measure, and the efforts of Bulgarian Baptists to oppose it:

The legislation grants Eastern Orthodox and Muslims believers the exclusive right to train clergy and operate religious schools; restricts religious activity only to designated buildings; gives legal religious status only to groups with more than 300 adherents; places limitations on preaching and teaching; restricts missionary activity; and limits foreign donations to religious groups.

“These efforts to interfere with theological education, restrict missionary and worship activity, and control international donations in fact wrongly extends government power into the internal life of Bulgarian religious communities,” the letter stated.

“No state, we believe, should be in a position to control the training and activities of ecclesiastic ministers, nor should a state favor one faith expression over another. The Bulgarian constitution rightly guarantees freedom of religion; we urge that this principle be adhered to as the right of all the Bulgarian people.”

The deadline for public comment is November 16, according to the report. You can read the letter signed by the Baptist leaders here.