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Evangelicals in Geneva win legal case for public witnessing

The City of Calvin banned religious activities on the streets last September. Local court now condemns council for “disproportionate decision.”

SOURCES RES, EEA AUTHOR Evangelical Focus GENEVA 15 APRIL 2015 13:58 h GMT+1
Geneva Geneva. / Patrick Nouhallier.

Since September 2014, the City of Geneva has decided to take a strong position against “proselytising” and stopped giving further authorisations for religious activities on its public ground.



“Consequently, Christian stands that have been on the streets on a regular basis for many years to share the Gospel in a respectful manner were now banned”, explained the Réseau Evangelique Suisse (RES, the French-speaking Swiss Evangelical Alliance) in a statement.



Evangelicals were “surprised” by the political decision and took action.



“Several affected groups decided to contest this decision in court. A first judgement was pronounced by a local court and condemned the City for its disproportionate decision.”



The judges decided that Geneva City Council’s political decision clashed with Article 15 of the Swiss Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion.



 



“A MORE TOLERANT ATTITUDE TOWARDS RELIGION”



“The Swiss Evangelical Alliance, which supports several of the affected organisations, is relieved about this court judgement and sees it as an important victory for freedom of conscience”, explained RES sokesperson Michael Mutzner.



But the legal battle is not over yet: “The City of Geneva can still appeal against the court decision.”



Swiss Evangelicals are praying that public Christian witnessing “in the City of Calvin” is not stopped. Michael Mutzner asked other European believers to engage: “Thanks for your prayers for this city. We hope it will adopt a more tolerant attitude towards religion in the future and find more constructive ways to handle its fear of seeing extremist groups misusing those rights.”



You can read RES’ opinion on the European Evangelical Alliance website. The longer ‘A victory for freedom of conscience’ statement can be found in French and German.


 

 


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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.