(Sebianna NewsPost) Officials in the Serbian government and the Western press have singled out the Serbian Orthodox Church, the largest denomination in Serbia, for an attack because of its opposition to a controversial law that is, critics say, misnamed as a “law against discrimination” but whose ambiguity on the issue of homosexuality and religious sects would expose all religious faiths in Serbia to legal badgering and government sponsored mandate to ban religion.
“A Serbian official says that opposition from Serbia’s Orthodox Church is stalling the approval of a key law against discrimination… The law is part of pro-EU reform,” reported Associated Press and thus, critics say, passed to the world an erroneous cliché that the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) is a backward, anti-European discriminatory institution.
A pro European leader in the Serbian Parliament, Dragan Markovic Palma, said that he will vote against the bill.
“If homosexuals have to lead Serbia into Europe, then we’ll stay in Serbia,” Palma said.
In Serbia, the opposition to the law has fostered a remarkable and cohesive inter-denominational and interfaith solidarity.
Catholic Church, Evangelicals and other Christian groups have banded together with the Serbian Orthodox Church to oppose the law because of the ambiguities.
Serbia’s Islamic Community has also joined the coalition, as did Serbia’s chief Rabbi.
The secretary of the Islamic Community of Serbia, Eldin Asceric, confirmed that the Islamic Community has been in consultations with the Serbian Orthodox Church.
“From SPC we got some complaints and, as they explained it, it is a question of some double meanings from two amendments, that can affect the SPC, but also all other religious organizations, and that we seek extra time so that those issues could be precisely defined,” said Asceric.
Asceric said that, along with Serbia’s Rabbi Isaac Isiel, they will respond verbally.
Catholic Church in Belgrade, report the media, has confirmed that they agree with the complaints of other churches and religious communities on the issue.
“Catholic Church is not against the law against discrimination but only that it needs to be refined because it has many unclearities that would bring this Church in a situation to be discriminated against because of its position,” said Milutin Novakovic, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Belgrade.
Leader of Serbia’s homosexual Queer Movement, Predrag Azdejkovic attacked the Church as being discriminatory.
“The SPC rests on that discrimination and it wants to keep its privileges,” said Azdejkovic.
Azdejkovic accuses Serbia of being an “instrument of the church”.
“If we look at Serbia, where on every corner pops out some church, where almost every hospital has a name of some saint, religious studies in schools, icons in government institutions, rosaries are the greatest modern hit, where there are massive fasts and atheists are viewed from aside, we realize that we live in an Orthodox Serbia,” said Azdejkovic.
Azdejkovic then issued the warning to the church that they are in line to be dealt with.
“But don’t worry, soon you will come up in the line,” warned Azdejkovic.
March 6, 2009