MP Vadym Novynsky, also known as an archdeacon with the Moscow Patriarchate, together with colleagues from the Opposition Bloc party on July 30 tabled Bill No. 5835, which, although allegedly calling for the “protection of citizens’ rights to freedom of conscience and religion,” is, in fact, aimed at misleading people and restricting freedom of religion.
The bill provides for the exclusion from the Law on Freedom of Conscience of two large blocks of rules:
- On the obligations of religious organizations belonging to a religious association, the center of which is located in the aggressor state (Russia), to reflect the name of this religious association in its official title;
- On the mechanism of change of subordination by a religious community.
That is, it is proposed to repeal laws No. 2662 and No. 2673, respectively.
Despite the provisions of Law No. 2662, the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine continues to unlawfully exploit the name “Ukrainian Orthodox Church”, thereby misleading both its followers and the public. The rule of law is designed to bring to a unified form the factual and legal status of this religious association, which in its Charter recognizes itself part of the Russian Orthodox Church, while hiding this fact in its title. Thus, being called a Ukrainian organization, the religious association is part of the Russian structure controlled by the Kremlin (ROC MP). In the conditions of hybrid aggression Russia is waging against Ukraine, the actual influence of the aggressor on the religious association in Ukraine is a constant tool of hostile influence. Our country is a democracy, so it doesn’t act as they do in Russia, restricting in every possible way the structures that have foreign centers of influence, funding, are controlled from abroad or simply have foreign partners.
However, the citizens of Ukraine need to know the TRUTH about a religious association they choose to trust, to be able to make a CONSCIOUS choice, not a decision based on manipulation and concealing the affiliation to the Russian leadership center.
NON-FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
The internationally established definition of freedom of conscience is as follows (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Article 18):
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
That is, freedom of conscience has three key elements:
– Right to religious or other worldviews;
– Right to manifest and practice them (individually and collectively, privately and publicly);
– Right to change their views (including religious subordination).
In fact, Mr. Malkhasyan and his colleagues seek to deprive both individual believers and religious communities of the right to change jurisdiction, making religious communities serfs of the relevant center of influence, i.e. the Moscow Patriarchate. Personally, someone may quit the MP, but even if the whole community leaves this organization – its leaders will always find a dozen of people who will declare themselves a “community” and on this basis will keep the temple and other property.
Not surprisingly, the Myriany NGO, a front organization covering for the church activities in the interests of Moscow, immediately declared its support for the bill.
But all those who are not indifferent to the TRUTH and true FREEDOM of conscience must oppose this yet another manifestation of Russian hybrid aggression.