Through our support center “Secularism without compromise” we offer support and advice regarding preserving secularism and freedom of/from religion in the educational system.
In the sense of law, the term secularity means the institutional (and mental) procedure of separation of religious communities from the state, which is also stated in Art. 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia.
Ustav Republike Hrvatske:
Jamči se sloboda savjesti i vjeroispovijedi i slobodno javno očitovanje vjere ili drugog uvjerenja.
Sve vjerske zajednice jednake su pred zakonom i odvojene od države.
Vjerske zajednice slobodne su, u skladu sa zakonom, javno obavljati vjerske obrede, osnivati škole, učilišta, druge zavode, socijalne i dobrotvorne ustanove te upravljati njima, a u svojoj djelatnosti uživaju zaštitu i pomoć države.
Secularity is two-way : It not only prevents the codification of religious dogmas of particular religious communities into state laws that should apply to all citizens but also does not interfere with the state's religious affairs, thus ensuring freedom of religion for everyone citizens. The legal order of the Republic of Croatia should be valid on the territory of the Republic of Croatia, parallel legal systems should not be valid on the territory of the Republic of Croatia, which are often in conflict with human rights charters and the Constitution and lower laws of the Republic of Croatia.
- protection of secular values guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia;
- dissolution of harmful interstate treaties with the Holy See;
- changing the way religious communities are financed and taxed (religious communities should be taxed like other legal entities and should be financed by their members);
- abolition of legal privileges for religious communities and their leaders;
- protection of victims of sexual, physical, and psychological violence within religious communities, punishment of concealment of sexual offenses within religious communities and prevention of criminal prosecution, and compensation of damages to previous victims;
- removal of religious symbols from kindergartens, schools, medical, military, police and court facilities, and other state institutions;
- abolition of church blessings of state buildings and property in the protocol of opening or renovation;
- informing about children's rights to their own choice of religion and belief (Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child);
- proposal on independent and voluntary enrollment in the membership of religious communities;
- informing about the right to withdraw from religious communities, ie the right to change one's religious affiliation, ie the right not to belong to any religious community.
Center for Civil Courage has been sending formal requests to the Ministry of Education demanding to ensure systematic and professional care for children who do not attend religious education. At the moment, such children are usually left unattended in school hallways or are, most alarmingly, asked to stay in classrooms during religious classes since no members of school staff are available to look after them.
It is wrong to equate secularism with atheism, because secularism does not mean the non-existence of religion, on the contrary, the precondition of secularism is the existence of freedom of conscience and religion, the right to belong to a religious community, the right to change or leave a religious community or belonging to any religious community. Secularity not only protects the rights of religious minorities or non-believers, but above all it protects the freedom and human and civil rights of the believers themselves. Freedom of religion belongs to individual human beings, not to religious institutions.
For many years, the Center for Civil Courage has been opposed to the systematic relativization, distortion, and denial of the idea of human rights, ostensibly in the name of freedom of religion, or in the name of one of these same human rights. Consistent application of the constitutional provision on secularism should guarantee the legal equality of all citizens and prevent further polarization of Croatian society. The protection of secular values is a necessary condition for maintaining and strengthening a democratic society based on respect for human rights. Secularity is the guarantor of equal freedom of conscience for all citizens - in our association, secularity is supported by both believers and non-believers.