Vietnam – Nguyen Ngoc Bao and Nguyen They Hang

Joe Hepworth
Research Advisor

Nguyen Ngoc Bao:  The Protestant religion has been in Vietnam for 100 years. Protestantism has become one of most important religions in Vietnam. Over 400 separate churches. As long as they follow the laws and regulations, they can have all freedoms in accordance with what they believe in. They must live in accordance with laws as well as peacefully with each other. The purpose of requiring official status is to keep the peace.

Baptist church is allowed to have many missionaries in the country, and managing them is very difficult. The Government is responsible for printing bibles in Vietnam. The government allows religious organizations to print Bibles in Vietnam using the government printing presses.

Obtaining official recognition can be very slow, given the large numbers requesting it and limited resources. Many churches are operating without official recognition.

Many people do not identify themselves as members of a particular church. The records are not good. The ministry is trying to improve the records.

Foreign churches are very hard to manage. Many of the actions of the churches are against the regulations of the government but the government doesn’t have the manpower to manage them.

Converting to Christianity is often counter to the culture of Vietnam. Through these actions they might alienate them from the country as a whole. Unauthorized missionary work is converting people to religions that they don’t know about. Regulating religion brings stability without offending others.

Regulations allow religions to practice their religion freely. Approval is required for all events, including meetings.

Nguyen They Hang:   Vietnam has many different beliefs and religions but can live in harmony 54 tribes. For hundreds of years, Vietnam has not had religious conflicts. The Vietnamese people are very open to new religions. Religion is important to peoples’ peace, happiness and development.

Killing others in the name of religion is based on a lack of understanding and dialog. Christians, Muslims and Buddhists must take responsibility for all of their lives. Communication is easier. Cultural empathy is necessary. Unfortunately, world is not yet peaceful. Interreligious dialog must take place. Religions must build faith, kindness, brotherhood among different faiths and cultures. Step by step, understanding will increase and violence in the name of religion will be eliminated. We should tolerate beliefs of others, both in word and action.

The Vietnamese government promotes values of culture and religion. It also establishes policies to eradicate discrimination based on religion. Religious harmony is necessary to obtaining overall harmony. It creates solidarity because all sides are necessary to create one people.

Vietnamese government has committed to respect religions and those who choose not to be religious. Unchecked, the religious situation may threaten peace. This is why every country should have tolerance and understanding for each other. They should be allowed to practice according to their principles. They should have freedom toward what they teach. They should have respect for each other and resolve disagreements through peaceful dialog.

Together we can build a more peaceful, progressive world, where we are more safe. All religions should be able to practice in those ways as long as they do so in the way that everyone decides is right.

In 1992, an amendment to the constitution gave freedom of religion to believe or not believe, and no one is to persecute them for their beliefs and non beliefs and that all religions are equal under the law. Vietnam has freedom of belief – to believe or not to believe.