The Constitutional Court has thrown out yet another controversial piece of government legislation, this time one that stripped dozens of religious communities of official recognition, and thereby the right to tax breaks and subsidies. While few might mourn the unrecognition of the “Hungarian Late Rain Community” and the “House of Universal Love”, the loss of special status by Hindu, Methodist and other religions drew international condemnation.
Picking & choosing not kosher
Aimed, the government said, at weeding out fake “churches” established for financial gain, the law saw only 14 of almost 300 outfits retain official church status, although several have since been recognised by parliamentary vote. Several mainstream religious groups who lost official recognition petitioned for the court review.
The Constitutional Court found the law to be overly arbitrary and open to political abuse because the decision on whether to recognise a church rested solely with Parliament. This year the court scotched government legislation that would have meant anyone who failed to register two weeks or more before the next general election would have been barred from voting.