Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung highlighted active contributions made by Protestants nationwide to national development during his meeting in Ha Noi on July 24 with Protestant clerics.
Dung told clerics from the General Confederation of Evangelical Church of Viet Nam (South) and the Evangelical Church of Viet Nam (North) that he was impressed by the two regional sects' strict observation of the Ordinance of Worship and Religion, especially the Prime Minister's instructions regarding Protestants.
He said the Party and State always consider religious belief to be a part of the spiritual life of the population, forming part of the process of national development.
Followers of different religions make up an integral part of the national unity. The Party and State have always respected and protected the right to freedom of religion as well as the right to not follow any religion, the Government leader emphasised.
But he warned of severe punishements for any abuse of religious freedom which undermined national development.
The Prime Minister asked authorities at the grassroots level to ensure favourable conditions for Protestants to practise their beliefs that serve the goals of a prosperous people, a strong nation and a just, democratic and advanced society.
The Protestant sects should promote their ideals at the same time encouraging believers to be vigilant against any schemes to sabotage the unity of the nation, he said.
He also called on Protestants nationwide to make a united effort towards economic development and poverty reduction, thus improving their living conditions.