Warning regarding the speech of Bishop Nikanor of Banat

Inciting to physical violence, discrimination, and hatred in the speech of Bishop Nikanor of Banat to the gathered believers, which was reported by the media and social networks, is to be strongly condemned.

Expression of opinions and ideas that call for hatred and violence against members of the LGBTI community and insult the dignity of anyone based on their origin or nationality is inadmissible and prohibited by law, said the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Janković, and added that it is difficult to understand that, irrespective of dogmas and canonical rules, such dangerous words are uttered by a man whose vocation, among other things, is to spread tolerance and understanding.

Respecting the autonomy of the Serbian Orthodox Church and other religious communities and the religious sentiments of the citizens of Serbia, the speeches of church dignitaries should remain within the framework of religious issues and not transgress into matters of the achievements of democratic societies, among the most important of which is respect for human rights and freedoms.

In particular, it should be taken into account that the speech was delivered by a high church dignitary, whose word has a special weight and influences the formation of public opinion, which is why the obligation to refrain from hate speech is even more emphasized. By respecting other people’s differences, we also show how much we respect ourselves and what we fight for and stand for.

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