Practice and Politics

September 25, 2007 by  
Filed under Research

By Kathryn Donev, M.S.

Most of Bulgarian protestant believers pray (88%) and read the Bible (77%) on a daily basis. Over half (59%) have read the whole Bible at least once and own more than 50 Christian books. Only a third fast more than once a week. The majority recognize the use of alcohol as sin (60%) and only a tenth have ever tried drugs. Thus, Bulgarian evangelicals are more traditional than contemporary in conviction, more practical than theoretical in teaching and more conservative than liberal in practice.

A certain level of negativism regarding politics and political order is inherited among Bulgarian evangelicals from the times of the Communist Regime. This feeling may be represented in the broader Bulgarian context by the fact that 80% agree that the average Bulgarian has lost faith in general. The church is not a political organization for most Bulgarian evangelicals (62%) and 57% claim it is not Biblical for a Christian to be a politician. Perhaps, this is the reason why over half (53%) would not vote for the Bulgarian Christian Coalition as a political force formed to represent evangelicals in Bulgaria. The same attitude applies to the broader political scene, as almost half (42%) of Bulgarian evangelicals did not intend to vote in the 2006 Presidential Elections and 48% actually did not vote. However, a much larger number (79%) intend to vote for an evangelical candidate for president. Perhaps, this is the number which the Bulgarian Evangelical Coalition should take into consideration when modeling their future political platform to gain much needed support within the evangelical churches.

Such a political alternative has been much awaited as the majority of evangelicals (64%) feel there is no religious freedom in Bulgaria. As in many other areas of the Bulgarian reality, true religious tolerance is replaced by the monopoly of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Evangelicals have not been heard in the legalization of a number of issues like chaplaincy, capital punishment, euthanasia, abortion, organ donation and so forth. Perhaps, this is the reason why attempts to constitutionalize Eastern Orthodox monopoly are generally met with strong resistant from evangelical circles. This is why a large majority (80%) demand a new Bulgarian law of religion.