- Iva Tsetkova is with thegroup Mission Impossible.
She joins us now from just outside
Bugaria's capital, Sofia, so Iva,
what is the purpose of this law?
- So the new law is, Iquote, is supposedly, "aiming
"to limit and filter attemptsfor radical influence."
But actually, it would end up reinforcing
the power of the two majority religions;
Eastern Europe OrthodoxChristianity and Islam.
- Who is supporting this?
- There were two bills that were submitted
in Parliament regardingBulgaria's religious law.
The first one was put forward by
the three largest political parties.
One that is in power,and two in opposition.
While the second bill was coined by
the United Patriots,and this is an alliance
of nationalistic groups participating
in the country's Government.
So all of the partiespresented in the government
of Bulgaria have voted for it.
On the first reading a few weeks ago.
- Why does it favor onlyEastern Orthodox and Islam?
- So the official version is, because
the Eastern Orthodox and Islam
are groups that represent more than 1%
of the population of the country.
And the other religious groups
have less than 1%.
- If the law passes, whatwill happen to evangelicals?
- The truth is that no faith
community in Bulgariasupports the proposals,
even the Orthodox Christians and Islam.
So if the bill is passed,evangelical Christians
and other groups would not be allowed
to have foreign ministers leading their
religious services, evangelical Christians
would not be able to run school
and no religious activities can take place
outside of buildings designated for them
and the gospel could be hindered.
Also, most of the protestant churches
must be shut down because they
represent less than 1% of the population.
- This would evenrestrict sermons, correct?
- Yes, yes, exactly.
- How are evangelicals andother religious minorities
fighting this law?
- So after the first bill was in,
we had started the petitionagainst these bills.
Also the leaders of the major protestant
denominations have sent a declaration
to the Prime Ministerand the whole government
and in the last couple of weeks,
we as a Christian community,all over the country
did prayer rallies and peaceful protests
that drew hundreds of people, literally
hundreds of people, unitedin the name of Jesus.
Praying for nation of Bulgaria,
marching on the streets, blessing the land
and lifting up in Jesus.
And in my opinion, rightnow, the church of Bulgaria
is more united than ever before.
And no matter what isgoing to happen on Friday,
we will stand firm.
- What is the likelihoodthat this will pass?
- Let's say I do believethat God has the final word.
He is the one we trust, and we wait for.
So I would say with God,everything is possible.
- You spoke of the churchuniting and protesting.
What's been the responseto those protests, if any?
- We didn't have anyresponse from the media,
from the official media liketelevision or even press,
or online newspapers or whatever,
but I do know that thereis a group in government,
a group from our churches, representatives
of the church in Bulgaria that are sitting
right now on the table with the people
from the government andtalking on these bills.
- How can the global church help?
- No matter if we areheard by the government,
I know that our voice is heard in heaven.
How can the global church help?
- I would like to ask you,and to ask the church urgently
to pray and to encourage other people
to pray to pass and to intercede
and this new bill will notpass in the Parliament.
You can also contact the Bulgarian embassy
wherever you are in your nation
and write a short letter or email
explaining the main problemsin the proposed legislation.
- Iva Tsetkova with Mission Impossible,
thank you so much for your time.
We'll be praying for you indeed.
- Thank you, thank you.