Tuesday, February 22, 2005

New Protestant instructions praised

A new directive on Protestant affairs approved by PM Pham Van Khai was described as a “landmark in Vietnam’s religious policy” by Dr. Nguyen Thanh Xuan, deputy director of the government’s Committee for Religious Affairs, in an interview with Nhan Dan Feb. 18. Xuan said Instruction No. 1/2005 -- the first instruction issued this year by the Prime Minister -- aims at creating favorable conditions for Protestants and their organizations. He added that Protestant organizations which have not been legally recognized will be assisted through the proper procedures to gain recognition, and that local authorities are required to facilitate their normal religious activities. For ethnic minority members living in the northern mountains, local authorities are to “devise proper procedures in consideration of their religious demands.”

Protestantism has risen fast in the urban areas and among ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands and northern mountains; there are now around one million Protestant Christians in Vietnam, according to official estimates. The Evangelical Church of Vietnam (northern region) was recognized by the government in 1958, while the General Confederation of the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (southern region) was not recognized until 2001. Last year the State recognized 36 Protestant branches in the Central Highlands, according to a spokesperson for Vietnam's Commitee for Religious Affairs. (VNA Feb. 18, BBC Monitoring Feb. 18, Vietnam News Briefs Feb. 17.)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home