Outdoor Christian events allowed again in Swiss canton of Geneva


Central Europe


Baptismal ritual in Lake Geneva. Still YouTube

In the canton of Geneva, outdoor Christian events can resume. The Federal Court has issued a ruling that religious gatherings in the public domain do not threaten the principle of secularism.

The Federal Court published a ruling decided last December, Christian website Evangeliques.info writes. It concerns article 6 (about religious events of a cultic and non-cultic nature) of the law on the secularity of the State. The article has been in force in the canton of Geneva since November 2019. The court now opposes this legislation, which prohibited religious events, such as baptisms and other Christian gatherings, in the public domain (except with special authorisation).

Such gatherings will now be allowed again, Michael Mutzner, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, writes on his LinkedIn page on 12 May. "It can be deduced from this that religious events such as baptisms on the shores of Lake Geneva must be permitted under the same conditions as any other event in the public domain."

"Such a prohibition of principle – even with exceptions – constitutes such a serious limitation of citizens' freedom of conscience and belief that it is out of proportion to the aim in question, even in the strongly secular context prevailing in Geneva," the judges declared. The Federal Court also considers that this law does not pursue public interest and that the principle of secularism does not concern religious events since the State is in no way involved.



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