Government rules on behalf of Catholic Church; bus, gas stations exemptSource: Adventist News Network
The Croatian Parliament ruled in July that stores must close on Sundays, an act carried out in deference to the wishes of the Roman Catholic Church. The law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2009.
The Catholic Church makes up 90 percent of Croatia's religious population, and the Associated Press reports the church has made its presence felt in the Croatian government with continued lobbying for the passing of Sunday legislation.
The law permits stores in gas, bus and train stations to remain open on Sundays throughout the year. Other business, such as bakeries, newsstands and flower shops are not included in the ban. The Sunday shopping ban is also lifted during the summer and for winter holidays.
Local Adventist church leaders expressed concern over the ruling. Sretko Kuburic, secretary for the church in the Adriatic region, said while the legislation could have future consequences, the law shouldn't be viewed as the end of civil liberties. Kuburic also said the church should continue to monitor the situation after the law takes effect in 2009.
The Adventist Church has supported religious liberty around the world since it launched what is now the International Religious Liberty Association in 1893. The organization has grown into the world's largest forum on religious freedom.
Currently, about 3,000 Adventists live in Croatia, a nation of 4.5 million people.