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Fri, 12 Oct 2018 09:37 - Updated Fri, 12 Oct 2018 09:37

Executive reiterates neutrality and impartiality from religions

Luanda - The Angolan state is neutral and impartial in regard to religious practices, without discriminating any religion, as long as they (religious denominations) assume their role and do not act against human rights and the country’s Constitution, Culture minister Carolina Cerqueira said last Thursday, in Luanda.

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Culture minister Carolina Cerqueira

Photo: Rosario dos Santos

The minister said so when delivering a speech at the opening ceremony of the conference on “The Religious Phenomenon in Angola”, in representation of the Angolan Head of State, João Lourenço.

Carolina Cerqueira went on to stress that if on one hand it is necessary to defend the freedom of religion, on the other hand one must be conscious of the fact that religion and religious denominations must not interfere in the matters of the state.  

She clarified that religious denominations are privileged partners of the state, since they have the important mission of contributing to social harmony and the pacification of the minds of citizens.

The minister also explained that it is not acceptable to let illegal religious denominations continue with their activities, some of which even mix their practices with commercial work or adopt actions that undermine human rights and the principles of urbane living.  

“The state has the mission to guarantee respect for the Constitution and the rights of citizens, thus not allowing the promiscuousness observed throughout the country. We must safeguard the respect for the principles of secular religious practices (...)”, emphasised the Angolan Culture minister.

She then reiterated that the mission of religious denominations must not be confused with an entrepreneurial undertaking, reason why the state is obliged to stop the action of some groups that put in danger the spiritual and social role played by religion.

She also reminded that the pastoral mission requires training in theology, without which one should not be allowed to be a preacher.  

The conference – which is analysing the crisis in religious values and is also intended to contribute to a social and scientific debate on the religious phenomenon – is being attended by representatives of religious denominations legally recognised in Angola, as well as by government officials and foreign  guests.   

The event is scheduled to end on Friday (October 12).

According to official data, Angola has 84 recognised religious denominations, however it is estimated that the country is host to over 1,200 different religious groups which are not functioning legally.


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