Ukraine’s Draft Church Ban Breaches Religious Freedom

“By all appearances, 8371 is a pretence for a ban on religious freedom, period.”

The Ukrainian parliament’s cautious nod of approval for bill 8371 banning the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) breaches religious freedom.

Approval was tentatively given to ban the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate over long-held concerns the church was “engaged in pro-Russian/anti-Ukrainian activities.”

However, ending the UOC’s traditional, political, and doctrinal ties with the Pro-Putin Russian Orthodox Church seems to only make up part of the deal.

8371 as a whole, appears to be a lot more sinister, than a temporary war-time legislative pause on fundamental freedoms.

Headlined “Humanitarian policy,” 8371 isn’t just a useless stunt using the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate, as a political football.

By all appearances, 8371 is a pretence for a ban on religious freedom, period.

Proposed in December 2022, then registered in February 2023, Bill 8371’s stated purpose is,

“[to] establish restrictions on the exercise of freedom to practice religion or belief, which are necessary for the protection of public safety and order, life, health and morals, as well as the rights and freedoms of others citizens.”

Although 8371 is yet to pass, Thursday’s “initial” assent pushes 8371 closer to being the law.

The Hill rightly described the legislation as “dangerous,” saying undermining democratic freedoms undermines support for Ukraine’s fight to preserve itself as a free, and democratic state.

“Religious Freedom is at the centre of a system that protects the integrity of the human person, the right to think and to believe.

“As history has made all too clear, when the right to freedom of religion is undercut, all other human rights are in peril,” they added.

Volunteer legal eagles at The Jurist said, the UOC has denied claims its still loyal to Russia, signalling they’re prepared to challenge the constitutional viability of 8371 in court.

There have been mixed responses, The Jurist explained.

Ukrainian lawmaker Iryna Herashchenko called the decision “historic.”

He then denied that the bill was “about religion or church.”

Contrary to 8371’s implied intention, for Herashchenko, the bill to ban religious freedom, is about “protecting the national security of Ukraine.”

This rationale is hard to defend.

In May last year, the UOC-MP broke with Moscow over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

They considers themselves to be an “independent and separate church,” as per, the Associated Press, and The Guardian.

Additionally, approximately 4% of the population – down from 15% in February 2022 at the start of the war – make up the church.

According to an April 2022 Info-Sapiens sample survey, those who left OUC-MP shifted to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).

Established in 2019 after a schism, the OCU at 52% of the population is the biggest religious entity next to atheism, which comprises 14% of the war-torn country.

UOC lawyers are preparing to oppose the law.

8317 “grossly violates key provisions of [Ukraine’s] Constitution,” they argued in a statement.

“We believe that this draft law is dangerous for Ukrainian society and all religious communities in Ukraine, as it introduces a mechanism for unjustified interference in the internal affairs of a religious organisation.”

This bill, OUC’s legal department said, “We [therefore] emphasize that in accordance with the norms of international law, and the Constitution of Ukraine, national security is not a reason for limiting the right to freedom of religion.”

In his sermon on October 22, OUC Primate, Orest Volodymyrovych Berezovsky, remarked, “What can be said about this? I will say one thing – we are not offended by anyone.”

Answering accusations that he’s a Putin puppet, Berezovsky said he was only led by God, “The centre of management of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church is in Ukraine, in this holy city of Kyiv.

“Everyone is looking for a spiritual centre,” he continued.

“From where we are controlled, it also exists, but it is in Heaven. There is the Founder and Head of our Church – our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Bing translation)

In early 2022, Berezovsky had requested Putin end the “fratricidal war, because it was a repetition of the sin of Cain, who killed his own brother out of envy.”

“Such a war,” he said, “has no excuse, neither from God nor from people.”

Ukraine sacrificing religious freedom on the altar of safetyism is ultimately self-destructive.

To quote UOC’s lawyers, “8371 will significantly complicate the process of European integration for Ukraine.”

We therefore “urge Parliament to remove Bill 8371 from the agenda and not to put it to a vote.”

What replaces the Cornerstone of Western Civ. once it’s been completely ripped out?

From CCP-19 to Biden-in-the-White-House, to Putin-in-Ukraine, to HAMAS-in-Israel, we’re getting a taste of what’s to come.

Western Civics without Jesus Christ at the core of its Classical Liberal being is unrestrained vacuous nihilism.

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