The draft law on religious organizations has not only angered religious groups. As many as 700 academics and cultural workers are calling on the government to stop meddling with religion. In response, the Ministry of the Interior says the draft law is not an interference with religion. The government, in fact, respects religious freedom. Over the weekend, over one hundred temples and shrines took to the street, unhappy at what they see as government interference in offering incense. Many think that the demonstration was not only linked to the issue of burning incense but also a reaction to the government's current drafting of legislation to regulate religious groups. 700 academics and arts and cultural workers launched a petition and called on the government to stop its improper interference in civil beliefs. They also asked on what scientific evidence the government based its elimination or reduction of incense burning. ==HU TAI-LI Dir., Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology== I think they don't realise what sort of effects this kind of government intervention produces, what kind of psychological effects and damage to culture, I don't think they are very aware of this. ==LIN MEI-REN Prof., Tzu Chi University Institute of Religion and Humanity== Religion and folk beliefs are the most resilient and self-regulating types of belief, in fact, they are the least of things the government has to worry about. The DPP government's draft legislation on religious groups includes limits on legalisation of religion, financial transparency, limits on how profits can be used, donations and fundraising and allows for the finances of religious organisations to come under official scrutiny. Tax, set income tax and tax exemptions are all to be revised and if the management is in violation of tax laws, a court-appointed manager may take over. This has been criticised as the government interfering in religion. The Minister of the Interior clarified and said that the government respects religious freedom and would not suppress religion by control. ==YEH JIUNN-RONG Minister of the Interior== We are not in a hurry to push this legislation through, we actually think that this one legislation needs get a considerable consensus before we enact it. The MOI said that internationally in countries where government and religion were separate, there was respect for religion and it was also regulated. Currently, the legislation was in draft form and had not been sent to the Executive Yuan for review. Views and opinions would be sought before any law was enacted. TRANSLATED BY:CLARE LEAR 包括中研院學者等多達7百多位的學術及文化界人士,也發起連署,呼籲政府應該停止不當干預民間信仰。對此內政部今天特別說明,強調正在草擬的「宗教團體法」,並非要把手伸進宗教,政府尊重宗教自由,絕不是用管制的手法,打壓宗教。 多個宮廟昨天到凱道「進香」,不滿政府要「滅香」,外界認為遊行的原因,可能不單純只是在燒香燒紙錢的爭議,而是因為內政部正在草擬「宗教團體法」,打算規範宗教團體,不過,包括中研院學者等多達7百多位的學術及文化界人士認為不妥,發起連署,呼籲政府應該停止不當干預民間信仰,也批評政府「滅香」、「減香」的科學依據是什麼? ==中研院民族學研究所所長 胡台麗== 這一種政府的介入 我覺得他沒有意識 說不定他沒有意識到 會產生什麼樣的心理效果 而且對文化造成怎麼樣的侵害 ==慈濟大學宗教與人文所教授 林美容== 民間信仰是自己最有彈性 自我調適的能力 是最好的 政府最可以不操心的 就是民間信仰 目前研擬的「宗教團體法」草案,除了宗教法人化的限制外,財務透明更是重點,除了所得財產不得分配盈餘,受贈財務或募款,也要開放查詢; 稅則上,明訂所得稅等,享有部分免徵;如果負責人違法,可由法院派任臨時負責人,卻被批評是政府要把手伸進宗教,干預宗教,內政部下午也特別說明,強調政府尊重宗教自由,絕不是用管制的手法,打壓宗教。 ==內政部長 葉俊榮== 那我們推動這個立法 一點都不急躁 我們其實是認為 這樣子的一個立法 要得到相當的共識 我們才會推出去 內政部強調,國際上,政教分離的國家,對宗教一定是尊重的,管理也有一定的機制,目前宗教團體法草案,還沒有送到行政院審議,還是會廣納各方意見,完善立法。 記者 陳佳鑫 張梓嘉 台北報導