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Slovak Party Quits Ruling Coalition Over Religious Issue --> Slovak Prime Minister Dzurina (right) did not agree that Catholic doctors should be able to act according to their conscience, instead of the law (file photo) (CTK) 6 February 2006 -- Slovakia's Christian Democrat party, the KDH, today quit the governing coalition after the country’s prime minister refused to adopt a Catholic conscientious objection clause as part of a treaty with the Vatican.

Anna Andrejuvova, the KDH's spokeswoman, said that after Mikulas Dzurinda refused to sign the clause of conscientious objection, the party decided to leave the coalition.

The controversial clause would allow Catholics to refuse to act if their conscience considered it against their faith and morals.

The text, written into a treaty signed between Slovakia and the Vatican in 2002, would allow Catholic doctors to refuse to carry out abortions and Catholic employees to refuse to work on Sundays.

The KDH quit the coalition ahead of parliamentary elections in September.


Panel On Religious Freedom

Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrating Orthodox Christmas (CTK, file photo)

RELIGION AND SOCIETY: On December 21, 2005, RFE/RL's Washington office hosted a panel discussion on issues related to religious freedom in the former Soviet Union. Panelists included CATHERINE COSMAN, a senior policy analyst for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; FELIX CORLEY, editor of the Forum 18 News Service; and JOHN KINAHAN, Forum 18 assistant editor.
Cosman argued in her presentation that the Russian Orthodox Church receives preferential treatment from the government. She also expressed concern about the estimated 50,000 skinheads active in Russia. Corley focused on Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, arguing that many governments in the region "fear institutions they can't control." Kinahan's presentation concentrates on the Uzbek government's assertions that Islamist extremists were behind the May uprising in Andijon.


Listen to the complete panel discussion (about 90 minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media

See also:

Central Asia: Region Returns To Muslim Roots

Central Asia: Regional Leaders Try to Control Islam

Unholy Alliance? Nationalism And The Russian Orthodox Church

THE COMPLETE STORY: A thematic webpage devoted to issues of religious tolerance in RFE/RL's broadcast region and around the globe.