Monday, January 7, 2013

Religious Freedom in Switzerland

I am accustomed to thinking of Western Europe as a bastion of freedom, but religious freedoms may take a back seat to labor laws, at least in Switzerland.  The story I am quoting was published December 13, 2010 (“American Mormon missionaries to be phased out of Switzerland”) so there is a chance that the law was not implemented.  It is an example of a political institution, not a custom, that negatively affects missionary work. 
In Switzerland, foreign missionaries enter under a worker’s visa.  A bi-lateral agreement with the EU, favors workers entering from the EU over workers from other countries.  According to the article, missionaries from the United States were limited to 80 in 2010, 50 in 2011, and zero in 2012. 
The restriction does not seem severe.  Missionaries could be redirected from other EU countries to Switzerland.  The law is less than optimal.  Optimal is an assigned church leader,  guided by the Spirit, issuing calls.  If you were wondering, the Swiss did not contact me when negotiating with the EU. 

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