Draft Bill In Discussion Banning Religion From Public Life

Country: Belgium

Date of incident: December 9, 2009

The advent season is used by Belgian anti-religious politicians to propose ban of religious symbols on objects serving a public function and a ban on religious traditions of public life.

Belgium discusses the separation between the church and state: The senatorial commission for Institutional Reform will discuss a draft bill proposed by PS senator Philippe Mahoux and supported by Open VLD senators Paul Wille and Jean-Jacques De Gucht, MR senator Christine Defraigne and Ecolo-senator Josy Dubié, which calls for a general ban on the wearing of headscarves by public service employees as well as a ban on civil servants airing their religious or ideological convictions. Further, no religious symbols would be tolerated on any moving or stationary objects serving a public function, including cemeteries. According to the bill, individual graves may be adorned with religious relics, but a cross at the entrance to a cemetery, for example, must be removed. Critics says that the this could infringe upon freedom of opinion, freedom of worship, freedom of conscience and religious freedom. See: Nieuwsblad /Kempen; Wednesday 09 December 2009 http://www.mediargus.be/flanderstoday.admin.en/rss/24446414.html?via=rss&language=en