Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin refused to sign the “Law on religious cults and their constituent structures” and returned it to parliament for improvement, Interfax was told on June 28 in the legislature of the republic.

“The basic statement of the head of state comes down to this, that nothing is said in the law about Orthodox as the traditional religion of the people of the country,” the news agency’s source declared.

In addition, Voronin considers it necessary to remove from the draft law the concept of “dissemination of faith,” which, in the opinion of the president, “opens a loophole for proselytism” on the part of sects and nontraditional religious organizations, the source specified.

The draft of the “Law on cults” was adopted by parliament of Moldova on 11 May. Previously the draft law had been subjected to stern criticism on the part of the Kishinov and Moldova metropolia of the Russian Orthdox church for a number of provisions that represented, in the opinion of the clergy, a threat to the traditional confessional balance in the country.

The draft of the law provides, in particular, for replacing permissive registration of a religious cult with notification registration, which would permit any resident of the republic, including foreigners, to declare himself a following of any cult, whether it actually exists or is imaginary, and it would be automatically registered, upon submission of the signatures of 100 persons.

Also the law grants to any resident of Moldova the right to belong simultaneously to two or more cults, which will make it more difficult, in particular, for the Orthodox church to resist heresies and schisms, which would acquire the possibility, protected by law, of acting without hindrance in the name of church structures.

In addition, the draft law does not make a distinction between a traditional religion and other confessions, which have appeared in a great number in recent years in Moldova, and it also does not distinguish between totalitarian, destructive, commercial, satanic, and pseudoreligious cults from generally accepted ones.

In the opinion of a number of local sources, one of the developers of the draft law is the leader of the parliamentary fraction of the Christian Democratic National party, the secretary of the Bessarabian metropolia of the Romanian patriarchate, Vlad Kubriakov.

Voronin, on his part, while returning the draft law for improvement in parliament, noted the necessity of spelling out precisely a number of provisions of the law, in particular, the very concept of “cult,” and of giving a definition of various kinds of cults and the distinctions among them, and spelling out criteria for distinguishing a religious organization from the cult to which it belongs, and determining the right of theological academic institutions to accreditation.

Also the Moldovan president insists on the exclusion of provisions of the draft law regulating the work of ministers of cults by the standards of labor legislation.

Source: Russian News Agency Interfax, Moscow/Russia