All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations: 'Ukraine Should Have a Single State Agency for Religious Affairs'
Participants of the meeting of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations declared that Ukraine should have a single state agency for religious affairs. They expressed concern that the liquidation of the State Committee of Ukraine on Nationalities and Religions and transfer of its functions to other authorities will hurt social harmony and the church-state dialogue.
After holding a discussion, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations unanimously adopted an appeal to President Viktor Yanukovych to resume the work of a state agency on religious affairs. The council considers a possible option in the context of administrative reform would be the creation of a State Service of Nationalities and Religions that will govern the registration of religious organizations and hold all other functions provided by the Article 30 of the current Law of Ukraine "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations."
Also, representatives and heads of denominations have expressed concern over the president's initiative to liquidate the National Expert Commission of Ukraine on the protection of Public Morality.
The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations expressed support for the Commission for the Protection of Public Morality. In this regard, the Council Secretariat will prepare an appeal concerning the need to preserve both the commission and the applicable law of Ukraine "On the Protection of Public Morality" with the possibility of improvement.
The council appealed to the president of Ukraine and requested to amend Article 157 of the Tax Code that excludes religious organizations from the scope of the first paragraph of § 157.11 of the Code – paying taxes from charitible offerings during Liturgies.