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Prometheus Slovakia — Who we are

[22. 06. 11]

Life in Slovakia has taught many of us the value of religious freedom and human rights. We live in a small, mountainous country in Central Europe which was created as an independent country in 1992 by splitting the former Czechoslovak republic into two „succession states“. We are on the very edge of the European Union, which we joined in 2004.

The collapse of Communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989 did not bring us the full freedom we had hoped for. This is because the Catholic Church has been trying to turn back the clock. It wants to usurp for itself the tremendous power it enjoyed during WWII when Slovakia was Hitler’s puppet state and its president was the Catholic priest, Monsignor Josef Tiso. However, this is not a national past that we in the Prometheus Society wish to glorify. Instead, we look to the future, in a Europe that is united by respect for human rights. Our activities reflect his.

* We stand for equality between the sexes. Our member, Ms Viera Faragulová contributed to the London Empowering Women Conference 2003, presenting her paper, Women’s rights in clerical Slovakia.

* We aim to reduce the number of unsafe abortions and, acting through the European Humanist Federation, we lobbied in support of the resolution on „Access to safe and legal abortion in Europe“ which was passed by the Council of Europe in 2008. We also work to draw attention to the increasing restrictions being imposed on access to abortion and birth control in Slovakia. In 2008 a law was passed here which has caused concern in the rest of Europe: „This is the first time that an EU member state has managed to create significant barriers to women accessing abortion.“

* But above all, we strive for the separation of church and state because this is a precondition for the exercise of many human rights, including religious freedom. In 2003 our member, Dr. Rastislav Škoda presented a letter to the conference in Paris, „For secularity in Europe“. His letter warned about current trends in Slovakia, „Building a Catholic dictatorship in Slovakia“.

* We provide English translations of important Catholic Church documents which show what this international organisation is planning to do, first in Slovakia and perhaps later elsewhere. In 2001 the Slovak Bishops Conference issued a five-year plan for evangelising the whole country. Our member, Prof. Alexander Rehák has translated and annotated this revealing document. He has also written a summary, „PEP: A five-year plan for theocracy?“ which outlines the document’s „recommendations for tightening Church control in almost every area of life“.

We in the Prometheus Society respect personal piety and advocate religious freedom for all. However, religious freedom ends where it infringes on the human rights of others. In Slovakia, where these rights cannot be taken for granted, the Prometheus Society speaks up for their defence.


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