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 HOME  Slovakia –the Trojan horse in the future unified Europe?
A.) Laws regulating State and church relations

B.) Concordat with the Holy See

C.) Special legal instruments for holding up Slovakia’s deviation from the European normative.

D.) Negative attitude to anti discrimination law.

In the International Humanist News – December / January issue of 2001 a statement of IHEU was issued denouncing the situation  of nondenominational citizens  and humanists in Slovakia, asking the national and international bodies to rectify such neglects of fundamental human rights before  accession of Slovakia in EU. The statement was published also on IHEU website and received a considerable number of supporting feedback.

 After two years the situation did not improve whatsoever, but worsened to an unprecedented scale. However the neglect of the very existence of the 13 – 16 % of the total population claiming no religious adherence is just a minor particular point, but not the whole strategy of that regime. Its strategy became clear especially in view of legal steps that have been implemented and the statements, which are time after time expressed by mainstream politicians representing the current ruling power.

 We want to enlarge just on the legal steps and disclose a handful of evidence to elucidate the real policy of all Slovak governmental set-ups, which instead of building a democratic and rule- of- law- abiding State , go out of their way to enshrine in the whole legal system the basics of a religious fundamentalist regime.

A.) Laws regulating State and church relations

After the November  1989 overturn of the old regime, constitutions and laws were passed in the former Czechoslovak republic, and later in the Slovak republic, which unequivocally  made good  fundaments for transforming the State in a democratic civil society .This pledge was very soon violated . It happened by passing the law No 308 of July 1991 ( in CSFR) called:: “Law about freedom of religious creed and the status of churches and religious communities.” This important law ignored entirely the very existence of more than the half of the total population of nondenominational citizens ( in CSFR) –it failed to regulate the relation of State to them.

This (intentional) negation was ever more accentuated after the creation of the new sovereign Slovak republic , with acceptance of many legal provisions for regulating the relation  of State and the religious communities, yet there is no law regulating the relation of State and the nondenominational communities. At the current clerical atmosphere, initiating such a law is quite out of question, implementing the international rules about complete parity between religious and non-religious life stance is relentlessly being ignored

In the new Slovak republic moreover a new law was passed – the law No 192 of March 1992 “About registering churches and religious communities”. This law put cement on the fundamentalist non-acceptance of any other religions by a most rigorous condition of registering new churches demanding a petition with at least 20.000 signatures of citizens with a permanent residence in Slovakia. The aim of it was clear: to secure the dominant position of Catholicism, which cannot be challenged any more.

 Simultaneously the State kept to feed huge financial and real-estate facilities to the Catholic church, using for it the restitution law (law  No.282/1993 Z.z), and consequently the church received from the State possessions, which prior to restitution never belonged to them (See: Dr .K. Zavacká, PRÁCA , 2. June 2000)

Since then the State firmly supports morally and institutionally the church and a huge proportion of the budget earmarked for developing the national culture goes to church. Being encouraged by the propaganda emanating from all mass media proselytising the “infidels” started. Especially in rural areas pressures are exerted accompanied by intimidation, so that non-.believers are afraid to claim their life stance, to meet with equal -minded ones, and are sometimes forced to have their children attend classes of religion against their will and the will of their parents. The impact of these trends was disclosed at the last census in 1999 at which a considerable statistical (not real) increase in numbers of religion-claiming citizens was assessed. ( 84 % of religious believers, 13 % nondenominational, 3 % refused to indicate their life stance)The fundamentalist politicians vice versa make use of the statistical figures to tighten more their pressures, especially on parliamentarian levels.

 B.) Concordat with the Holy See

The second landmark on the route to religious fundamentalist State was the Basic treatment with the Holy See (Concordat), which was finally ratified in the parliament without any objections, despite its gross deficiencies consisting in interference in the .domestic legal system and contradicting fundamental human rights.

The character of “International treaty “.was justified by the that-time director of the Office of Justice Ministry Mr. D. Lipšic ( who is now holding the position of the justice minister). He expressed the opinion (with reference to the art.27 of Vienna convention on International Treaties) stating: “no State can refer to its own legal system at failing to observe the provisions of an international treaty” (D.Lipšic  in: Domino Forum , November 1999)

 The intention was thus quite clear: to secure the dominance of Catholic Church in Slovakia in such a way in order to reach the priority  of the Concordat over the domestic legal system (including the Constitution)

The Basic Treaty (Concordat) contains provisions constraining substantially the democratic principles of the Slovak legal system. Some articles of the Treaty formulate the right of the Catholic Church to enforce the rules of Canonical law to all Slovak citizens, regardless of their consent or disagreement with such a  purely religious code of belief. The main article among these is the art 7. It reads: The Slovak republic acknowledges the right to everyone to carry out his / her stipulations of conscience in accordance with the teachings of creed and moral principles of Catholic church. The extent and conditions of implementing that right will be declared in a special international treaty concluded between the contracting parties. The draft of this Treaty has been just recently made accessible (proposed by justice minister D. Lipšic), and it evoked horrific feelings despite of the spreading apathy.

The draft concerns mainly  the following sectors of public life: A,) activities in armed forces and other armed units. B.) Health services (abortions, assisted artificial pregnancy, experiments and manipulating with human organs, human embryos, and with male and female reproductive cells, euthanasia, cloning, sterilisation and contraception) C.) Education of youth. (right to refuse teaching such matters, which are not consistent with Catholicism-despite the officially approved curricula) D.) Verdicts in lawsuits made by judge at the court of justice.( refusal of divorces, etc)

In all of these cases (and some others) the citizen can refuse his / her  participation, without bearing legal responsibility for it –in case he/she  has stipulation of conscience  (declared by Catholic church )

All that does not need any further comment.

 C.) Special legal instruments for holding up Slovakia’s deviation from the European normative.

The Slovak Parliament passed at the end of January 2002  a “Declaration about the sovereignty of Slovak State in cultural and ethic issues” It was immediately evident, that this declaration stipulates preserving “Christian values and ethical tenets”  (See: P.Sýkora in SME, 6.and 7 February, 2002 – article entitled : “A further step to a theocratic State”). This presumption was confirmed in an article by V. Palko (the interior minister in the new Dzurinda government) in an article published in a biweekly “DOMINO FORUM” (No 19 /2002 – May 9-15,2002) entitled: “The Euromarxist scandal” He admitted that this Declaration about the cultural and ethical sovereignty of Slovakia was really meant to preserve the Slovakia’s  Christian visions. In addition he disclosed that similar Declarations are underway in the Polish parliament (the Sejm) and that the vice chairman of the Czech  KDU-ČSL- Ján Kasal declared that his party is contemplating to  propose a similar declaration. Is that a conspiracy against the pluralist and civil society order accepted by EU the candidate countries prepare to overrule? We have to leave this question open.

 D.) Negative attitude to anti discrimination law.

In the mid of 2002 the Slovak parliament was to discuss a  new law about the non-admissible discrimination against some groups of citizens in Slovakia. It was one of the conditions imposed to our approximation with the European legal systems. This draft contained (besides prohibiting discrimination for diverse philosophical life stances) also a ban of discriminating against persons for their SEXUAL ORIENTATION (homosexuals and lesbians). The Christian Democratic Party MP-s swept this draft off the agenda, with the argument, that the Christian morals do not allow for passing such a law.

It is evident that the Slovak parliament at its current set-up does not take decisions based on fundamental human rights , but it makes only decisions which cannot contradict the Christian Churches religious dogma.

 Why to depict this situation in the official bulletin of International Humanist Movement? Someone could object that this is more or less a regional problem of Slovak humanists only. That’s a great mistake. Slovakia after its accession to the European union threatens the democracy, and the  pluralist attitude of the whole community. Its role at the contemporary political constellation is to erode from within the order of EU after Slovakia was accepted as a member of the EU, and to bring as many nations as possible back again in the sheep-pen of the Holy See from which they gradually and inexorably are running away.

 What can the humanist national member organisations do about it. Don’t take it easy . It is your imminent problem too.  Slovakia cannot be allowed to play a role of the “fifth column” after its accession in European Union. All efforts should be done to follow closely the devious events in that country and insist on their redressing before it is not too late.

 The humanist organisations in the member States of EU should approach their own governments and demand a strict observance of human rights in all counties aspiring accession in the EU. The occasional controls of approximation with the European law system should especially concentrate on the equal  status of non denominational citizens  these countries grant / or are not ready to grant and on the accomplished steps to secure  them by LEGAL measures .