In response to lawmakers’ queries about this issue, Minister Thiện affirmed that religion and belief are spiritual demand of part of the population, and religious practices are the legitimate right and demand of the people, helping to diversify the spiritual life and develop people comprehensively.
Vietnam’s laws always respect and protect the freedom of religion and belief of the people, he emphasised.
However, some individuals have taken advantage of religion and belief to practice superstition and violate laws, he admitted, noting that punishments for such superstitious practices are stipulated in laws, and the public have also condemned violations of ethics and traditional culture.
To deal with those violations, it is necessary to continue fine-tuning legal documents on superstition prevention, increase communications to improve public awareness of traditional cultural values in religious activities, and condemn and strictly handle superstitious practices in the name of religion and belief.
Localities should also work more to improve people’s material and spiritual life, build more cultural and sports facilities, and step up inspections of cultural activities, the minister added.
At the question-and-answer session, Minister of Home Affairs Lê Vĩnh Tân gave additional information about the State management of religious activities.
He also pointed out the fact that recently, several persons have taken advantage of places of worship for Buddhists and people’s belief to practice superstition to seek profit, which has stirred public concern.
In the time ahead, the Ministry of Home Affairs will continue proposing legal documents to the Government to realise the Law on Belief and Religion, including a decree on administrative fines for infringements, in order to prevent practices that abuse belief and religion and deviate from Vietnam’s ethical and cultural standards.
He also underlined the need for stronger dissemination of legal regulations on belief and religion to the people, especially religious followers, and for more training in the field to workers of local authorities.
On this matter, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam said the abuse of belief and religion to seek profit must be strictly handled in line with laws and by religious organisations. This problem also needs to be resolved by increasing communications.
He reiterated that the Party and State always respect the freedom of belief and religion of all people, and create conditions for religions to be practiced in line with laws.
The two-and-a-half-day hearing, broadcast live on television and radio, was part of the ongoing seventh session of the 14th parliament.