Thursday, May 11, 2017

Russia's Attack On Freedom Of Religion Under The Guise Of Fighting "Extremism"


One organization that celebrated the ruling was the Russian Orthodox Church, which said the Supreme Court made the right decision and that the ban would protect families. “This will save families and people’s lives and I think a (court) ruling of this kind is only welcome,” declared Metropolitan Ilarion, the head of Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. Conceding that the ruling would not be able to completely eradicate the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, he said it was good that the group's impact would be reduced. “To paraphrase it, this product won’t be represented anymore on the market of existing denominations of Christianity,” Metropolitan Ilarion said, adding that the ROC had not been involved in the court ruling.

But despite their unorthodox doctrines, the Witnesses are hardly alone in facing the wrath of Russian authorities under strongman Vladimir Putin. In fact, the same statutes ostensibly targeting “extremism” have also been used to target more traditional Christians, including protestants, evangelicals, and more. Last summer, Moscow even adopted a law purporting to ban Christian evangelism anywhere outside of church buildings registered with the state. The law also purports to ban house churches and requires missionaries to have government permits, along with myriad other draconian restrictions that have been widely condemned by Christians across Russia and around the world.
In an open letter, Russia’s Baptist Council of Churches wrote that the new religion regime would “create conditions for the repression of all Christians.” “Any person who mentions their religious view or reflections out loud or puts them in writing, without the relevant documents, could be accused of illegal missionary activity,” the Baptist Council warned. In an open letter to Russian leader Putin, Sergei Ryakhovsky, head of the Protestant Churches of Russia, warned of even more terrifying implications. “Soviet history shows us how many people of different faiths have been persecuted for spreading the word of God,” he said. “This law brings us back to that shameful past.”
But one ostensibly Christian church has fared very well under the Putin government — the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). Many conservatives and Christians in the United States have even cited that fact as supposed evidence of Putin's Christianity and support for traditional values. However, as The New American's Senior Editor William F. Jasper explained in a cover story for this magazine, there is much more to the story than meets the eye. The first thing that must be understood, he explained, is that Putin is a creature of the Soviet KGB, “a truly diabolical organization nonpareil, which stood for murder, terror, and grand deception.”
Indeed, the mass-murdering Soviet Communist Party used the KGB to brutally suppress religion, persecute and ruthlessly torture Christians, demolish churches, infiltrate religious organizations to subvert them, and much more. “The KGB destroyed thousands of Christian churches, monasteries, convents, and schools, and slaughtered millions of Christians,” Jasper pointed out. “But it did not destroy the churches utterly. There remained an underground church, whose members were always at risk of discovery, arrest, torture, and martyrdom. Above ground, the KGB took control of the Russian Orthodox Church, which became a very useful organ of the Soviet atheist state.”

Outside of the United States, the trend is even more advanced — and more alarming. The United Nations, for example, has called for a global jihad against free speech and unapproved "ideologies" under the guise of stopping “extremism” on the Internet. In Europe, Europol, the fledgling EU “law enforcement” agency, announced plans to censor the Internet to tackle “extremism.” And in the United Kingdom, even believing in unapproved “conspiracy theories” and End-Times theology was labeled by then-Prime Minister David Cameron as “non-violent extremism” that must be battled by governments and the UN.

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