Published February 26, 2013
BUDAPEST, Hungary – Hungary's top court has struck down parts of the country's law on churches, saying that the process by which only Parliament can grant churches official status is too political and lacks transparency.
Last year Hungarian lawmakers cut the number of officially recognized churches — which, among other advantages, enjoy tax-free status, qualify for government support and may collect donations — from around 370 to 32.
Tuesday's ruling by the Constitutional Court repealed the law and called on Parliament to work out new rules to weed out groups which declare themselves to be churches but do not carry out religious activities.
The court said the current procedure was unconstitutional because, for example, the lawmakers' decision could not be appealed and no written justification was provided.