BUDAPEST—Actor Jeff Pomerantz joined nearly 800 Scientologists on the streets of this city on November 18 in a peaceful protest against government persecution of a broad array of religions.
The event supporting religious freedom was organized by a local Scientologist, Timea Vojtilla. The protesters assembled at Deák Ferenc Square, named after a 19th century Hungarian statesman and minister of justice known as “The Wise Man of the Nation.” This was fitting for the freedom fighters as, they noted, the current government attacks against numerous religions are bereft of any wisdom.
Candles were lit by some marchers while others displayed smartphone flash lanterns. A drummer pounded a steady beat in company with the crowd’s chant: “I protect my religion, I stand for my rights.”
A kilometer-long column of Scientologists from Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and other nations marched to a hotel in the city’s Nyugati Square.
Jeff Pomerantz is certainly not new to the cause of fighting for religious freedom. As far back as 1985, in Portland, Oregon, Jeff led marches in what has become known as the Scientology Religious Freedom Crusade—a movement that inspired not only people from Portland but religious advocates from all over the world. For 60 days, they assembled for peaceful marches, concerts and candlelight vigils, which culminated with a landmark legal victory for religious freedom in America.
Pomerantz proclaimed that attacks upon religion in Hungary are “not within the true Hungarian tradition … peacefully demonstrating for freedom is the real Hungarian tradition.”
Many religions have been targeted by the repressive Hungarian measures. The WorldPost, published by the Berggruen Institute, reported that under a law passed in July 2011, “only 14 of 362 Hungarian religious organizations registered under the earlier law (passed in 1990) will be officially recognized. As a number of Hungarian human rights activists pointed out in an open letter, ‘Among the churches that were discriminated against are, to mention only a few: Hungary’s Methodist, Pentecostal, Adventists and reform Jewish churches; the Salvation Army and Jehovah’s Witnesses; and all the Islamic, Buddhist, and Hinduist congregations.”
Since then, Hungarian Scientologists have reported that corrupt individuals within the government have illegally interfered with the peaceful practice of their religion.
“We stand for freedom of religion,” Timea Vojtilla said. “And we want Hungary to remain the home of freedom.”
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and are not necessarily those of World Religion News.
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