Catholic bishops in Vietnam fear that new proposed legislation on “faith and religion” is designed to “profoundly interfere with religious affairs,” the AsiaNews service reports.

The government took the unusual step of sending the draft law to the Catholic hierarchy for their comments. But some bishops see that gesture as a bid to “appear democratic,” when in fact the new law would expand government control over religious affairs.

Bishop Hoang Duc Oanh of Kontum said that the draft legislation would violate both the constitution of Vietnam and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. He argued that it is absurd for a government of “non-believers” to set standards for religious faith.