UOC: Deputies of Rovno regional council provoke religious intolerance
On March 16, 2018, the Rovno Regional Council plans to adopt an appeal to the National Security and Defense Council and the Security Service of Ukraine about the "anti-Ukrainian activities" of the UOC.
The head of the Legal Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Protopriest Alexander Bakhov, commented on the initiative of the political party VO "Svoboda" in the regional council, reports the Information and Education Department of the UOC.
"Deputies of the regional council are trying to create an additional source of tension on religious grounds in the western region and in Ukraine as a whole," said Protopriest Alexander. "Such statements urge one part of the Ukrainian population to hate the other because the latter profess their faith and are faithful to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church."
According to the head of the Legal Department, such actions of the officials are an ordinary populism, and inciting religious hatred in the country is frequent not only in the Rovno region.
"Similar appeals have already been made by the Lvov, Frankovsk and Ternopol regional councils," Bakhov said. "But such statements are essentially void and do not bear any legal consequences."
According to the lawyer, such initiatives of people's representatives are aimed at undermining confidence in the current government in the state.
"Deputies, adopting statements about prohibition, expulsion, destruction for belonging to the UOC, violate the right to freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine, putting the President of Ukraine, the guarantor of the Constitution of Ukraine, in an uncomfortable position," Father Alexander stressed.
He also stated that officials, using the confidence of their electorate, are trying to manipulate their voters and dictate them which Church is right.
"By such decisions, deputies try to prohibit people who, by the way, are their voters to profess the faith in which they were baptized and brought up. Very often in their statements, the regional councils refer to unverified, and sometimes unreliable information that is disseminated in the media. And some of them cannot even give the correct name of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church," said the head of the UOC Legal Department.