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New bill concerning faith-based communities

Government is expected to present a new bill proposal this autumn

Generally speaking, the faith communities are satisfied with the final result which to a high degree reflects current unwritten praxis. Photo: pexels.com

The Danish government is currently preparing a legislative proposal concerning all other faith-based communities in Denmark than the Evangelical-Lutheran Church. Thus, these include such communities as the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, Buddhist and Islamic organisations etc.

The bill concerns under which terms faith-based communities can receive formal recognition from the Danish state and under what terms the recognition can be withdrawn. The bill will affect §69 of the Danish Constitution and the law-making process is long overdue since the question has been put aside ever since the foundation of the Constitution in 1849.

Faith-based communities have recently responded a second time in their hearing statements. In the first draft it was proposed that faith-based communities should have transparent membership democracy, and that faith-based communities should implement measures to promote equality (e.g. concerning gender). The National Council of Churches strongly opposed these suggestions because it would render it impossible for churches such as The Catholic Church to operate in Denmark. The proposals were left out in the second edition.

In the draft to the bill there is also a higher amount of regulations concerning donations and the right to wed couples. Generally speaking, the faith communities are satisfied with the final result which to a high degree reflects current unwritten praxis.

Some critics have said that the proposals are casting suspicion on faith based communities, whereas others, such as Mads Christoffersen, general director of National Council of Churches, have raised the point that the bill might place too large an administrative burden on churches and other faith-based communities.

The government is currently reviewing the formal responses from the FBCs and is expected to present a bill proposal to the parliament this autumn.