Expert opinion: ‘Promulgation of Law 10221 is overt slap in the face for heads of churches’
Constitutional lawyer, member of government commission for development of church-state relations (2006-2008)
But! The promulgation of 10221 is an overt slap in the face for the heads of churches, who were ready to meet with the government at the first call (even instead of the agreed in advance visit to Brussels). Responding to this call should remind the AUCCRO and individual religious leaders that: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Instead of legitimizing the current government by its willingness to attend a meeting at the first call church leaders should distance themselves from this government that daily violates not only human law, but the law of God.
This does not mean that the government should be ignored – unfortunately, we don’t have another formal legitimate center of governance – but it is worth restoring the natural distance between the churches and the government. The church (or rather the religious community of Ukraine in its broadest sense) should remember that it has the consistent trust of the vast majority of residents of Ukraine, while the level of support for the president is less than 20%, and resume a partnership dialogue with the authorities.
Symbolically it means meeting on neutral territory, at a time approved in advance by both parties and only for discussion – and resolution (!) – of issues of common concern. If no mutually acceptable compromise is found at prior negotiations, there is neither need nor sense to meet.
Overcoming internal servility and the ability of the president's team to impose its own agenda (and the church has a moral right, if to believe that “the only source of power in Ukraine is the people,” who trusts religious organizations and the head of state) is the only way to prevent the repetition of Law 10221.