Bolivian Christians fear law may criminalize evangelism

Thaís , Publicado em 12/01/2018

Evangelical leaders have come together to call for the annulment of Bolivia's new Penal System Code. In their understanding, article 88, which foresees 7 to 12 years of imprisonment for those who encourage people to participate in religious or religious organizations, can be used as a pretext for religious persecution. "A person who, by himself or by third parties, will capture, transport, transfer, deprive of liberty, receive or receive persons for the purpose of doing so shall be punished with imprisonment from seven (7) to twelve (12) years and financial repair. recruiting people for their participation in armed conflicts or religious or religious organizations, "says the text of the new Penal Code. The new Penal Code, which is still in the approval phase, would silence almost two million evangelical Bolivians, who represent 19% of the population. On Monday (8), evangelical leaders gathered in Murillo Square, in the city of La Paz, capital of Bolivia, to request the revocation of the new Penal Code before the Government Palace and the Legislative Assembly. Pastors also took the opportunity to pray for religious freedom in the country. "So if we take a person or a group to a camp, will they report us? I can not go out and preach the Gospel? "Said Pastor Miguel Machaca Monroy, president of the Evangelical Churches of La Paz. The pastor says that the new article impairs his performance," especially in helping the needy and restoring dysfunctional homes, " and also affects his work of "attracting, welcoming and helping people trapped in addictions such as alcoholism and drug addiction." The secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of the Catholic Church in Bolivia also criticized the new Penal Code in an official communiqué issued on Tuesday, claiming that its text was made "tailored to the interests of power." According to the clergy conglomerate, the articles "violate human rights and fundamental citizens" represent "a setback for the democratic values ​​conquered by Bolivian society." Christians are not the only ones protesting against Evo Morales' new Criminal Code, but also journalists. Articles 309, 310 and 311 make crimes any kind of "insult, slander and defamation" and even the publication of "secrets" in the media, in violation of the Press Law and the Constitution itself.

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