PROTECTION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN THE CRIMINAL LAW OF
ROMANIA AND OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA
Associate professor Aurel Octavian PASAT1
This scientific artic le is devoted to the reconceptualization of the legal -criminal protection of religious freedom
in the criminal law of Romania and of the Republic of Moldova. The purpo se of this scientific message consists in the
meticulous identification and analysis of the special leg al object of the criminal offenses referred to in paragraph (2)
art. 381 Romanian Criminal Code and art. 185 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova. On this occasion they
were subjected to a tho rough analysis: the European legislation in the field of religious freedom, the criminal and
extra-legal legislation in the field of religious freedom in Romania and the Republic of Moldova, as well as the
contemporary doctrine of recent years. Following the study carried out, certain legislative gaps were identified that can
be easily removed by reviewing the incriminating framework of the criminal acts that affect the religious freedom o f the
person. The conclusions of the broad law and the recommen dations de lege ferenda created under the empire of the
latest legislative tendencies at European level can be taken into account in the legislative process.
Keywords: religious freed om; religious belief; the right to religious belief; religious worship; esoteric worship;
spiritual worship; attacks on religious freedom.
JEL Classification: K10, K14
1. Introductory considerations
According to paragraph (2) art. 381 Romanian Criminal Code (Impeding of the exercise of
religious freedom), obliging a person, by constraint, to participate in the religious services of a cult
or to perform a religious act related to the exercise of a cult is a fact criminal. At the same time, we
find a similar legal-criminal norm in art.185 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova
(Attention to the person and to the rights of citizens in the form of preaching religious beliefs and
performing religious rites) incriminated by the following legislative formula: "The organization,
management or active participation in a group whose activity, carried out in the form of preaching
religious beliefs and carrying out religious rites, is accompanied either by causing damage to the
health of the citizens, or by other attacks on the person or its rights, or by instigating citizens to
refuse to fulfill their citizens' obligations".
The main legal object of the facts listed above is the freedom of religion the inadmissibility
of abusive proselytizing, as well as the physical and mental security of the person subjected to such
abusive actions or inactions.
Religious pluralism involves establishing the principles that must govern the coexistence of
representatives of different religions, denominations or cults. According to the Romanian author E.
Dumea, pluralism means the coexistence, within the same society, of intellectual, cultural and
ideological positions so different and opposed, that they contradict each other in a way that leaves
no room for a possibility of dialogue and unity2. The state must be neutral and impartial in
exercising its right to regulate this area and in its relations with the various religions, cults and
beliefs (assuring religious pluralism), and must ensure equal protection before the law of all
persons, being a fundamental guarantor. against any form of discrimination. According to the
Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova, secularism does not imply the state's indifference
to religions, but rather the state guarantees the protection of religious freedom in a regime of
1 Aurel Octavian Pasat - “Bogdan Petriceicu Hașdeu” State University, Faculty of Law; Republic of Moldova, “Dunarea de Jos”
University, Cross-border Faculty, Galați, Romania, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Dumea E. Cultura și religia în Europa: materiale suplimentare. http://www.cse.uaic.ro/_fisiere/Documentare/Suporturi_curs/II_
Cultura_si_religie_in_europa.pdf, consulted on 1.10.2019.