Hungarian lawmakers under this law reportedly reduced number of officially recognized faith communities from over 300 to less than 40; excluding Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic congregations.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was a “step in the right direction” to establish religious equality and freedom in Hungary.
Should not all religions be equal before the law in a democracy? Is not Hungary part of the European Union which boasts of being the human rights leader in the world? Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked.
Rajan Zed had expressed dismay at this Hungary’s law on religion when it came into force last year, saying that it was a setback to religious equality. The official recognition process was suffocating, cumbersome, unnecessarily burdened the Hungary’s minority religions/denominations, smelled of favoritism, discriminatory against certain faith groups and was without any right to appeal. It was a step in the wrong and backwards direction, Zed then noted.
Zed then stated that Hungary seemed to have created its own narrow “definition” of religion which might not be compatible with European and international religious equality and freedom standards. This exclusionary approach sent a worrying signal, a cause for concern. Zed then stressed the need for more openness, equality and religious freedom in Hungary; the country of Lake Balaton, romantic Danube River, Franz Liszt and Bela Bartok.
Rajan Zed then pointed out that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion in the world with a rich philosophical thought and about one billion adherents. Are not these enough qualifications for a religion to be recognized?
Zed further said that nations should not be in the business of regulating religion, which was very powerful and complex; and governments should not tell who was “church” and who was not.
In a past survey, 44% Hungarians reportedly replied that they believed that there was a God. Roman Catholics were the largest group with reportedly about 52% Hungarians as followers. Majority of Hungary became Christian in the 11th century. Budapest synagogue is said to be the largest in Europe. Janos Ader and Viktor Orban are President and Prime Minister respectively of Republic of Hungary.