Is new Russian law anti-terror or anti-freedom?
by Don Hank
The new Russian anti-terror law is being used by the Neocon media to stoke fear and hatred of Russia, and many observers are now saying that this is a propaganda effort intended to create a war atmosphere. Since we can ill afford a war with a major nuclear power, I have decided to post this as a bit of an antidote.
Our heartfelt thanks to Stephen Beet for writing and distributing the article posted below. As stated in his article, it is not Christian denominations that are targeted by the new Russian anti-propaganda law. Although the Russian Duma cannot say so, it is mostly aimed at preventing Muslim terror. In order to keep the very large Muslim population happy, however, it is written so as to appear impartial and hence includes Christian activity as well. It is also aimed in part at sects that are claiming falsely to be Christian when a closer look shows they differ from Christianity in obvious ways.
The best example of this is an American self-anointed “priest” who planned to officiate at a pro-gay ceremony in Russia (now you’d think he would know better.) Russia has a law banning gay propaganda aimed at children, and this new anti-terror law in part reinforces this ban. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/american-clergymans-plan-to-officiate-gay-wedding-thwarted-in-ukraine
Stephen discusses Mormon missionaries in Russia in this context. For those who think Mormons are just another Christian denomination, have a look at this, in addition to reading the article below:
And before you open the below link, a caveat: every major Western religion has child and woman abuse stories swirling around it. Read with an open mind. However, the Mormon church seems to imitate the Catholic church in that, in some cases, clerics have not been much encouraged to report child sex and other abuse. Again, cases like this could possibly found in all major denominations. However, I chose the following link because if contains a large compilation of abuses:
If you are a Mormon, I hope you will not take offense. This information is focused on the church itself, not the followers.
At any rate, I think most readers will understand that the new Russian law only targets abuses, and Stephen’s brief report should make it understandable why Russian lawmakers were concerned about protecting Russian children and others.
Another sect that Russians are generally skeptical of is Jehovah’s Witnessses. As a reader of Koine Greek, I have seen an example of a serious flaw in the JW translation of the New Testament. I have read the entire New Testament in the original Greek (or what has been identified as the original Greek, taken from early manuscripts) and will be glad to share my linguistic analysis this with anyone interested. But more important in this context is the way JW teachings indirectly encourage their followers to commit suicide. I personally knew a JW father of 4 who committed suicide. Shortly thereafter his children, who had been well behaved until then, wound up in foster homes and had brushes with the law. I had no idea until later that JW doctrine leads to high suicide rates.
Finally, Stephen is a British Christian, NOT Russian Orthodox, and obviously, he does not feel in any way threatened by this new law, which has been the object of the usual Neocon Russophobic propaganda that pervades Western msm and also politics (eg, Hillary campaign’s silly claim that Russia hacked her emails).
I have read a resume of the new Russian law in Russian from this site https://50.xn--b1aew.xn--p1ai/PU/Law_news/item/7906913/
and can assure you this law is not as represented in the Western press. It is so vague as to be very difficult to enforce and can be expected to be enforced and interpreted in the courts so as to prevent terror, not to stop Christians from sharing their faith.
Just published by the Church of England Newspaper, Don. Stephen
By Stephen R Beet
A number of anti-terrorism measures passed by the Russian Duma on June 24th and signed by the President have been widely criticized and deliberately misrepresented in the Western Press. In fact, if one reads the legislation and examines the background, this law has no substantial affect at all on freedom of worship and is entirely positive.
Alexey Komov, an official of the Russian Orthodox Church puts the legislation into context:
“New regulation of missionary activities is just a minor part within the set of the new amendments to various [anti-terrorist] laws. It says that foreign missionaries need to receive a permission/registration to do their work, and that they should preach only at their mosque/church/etc. But this applies only to the official representatives of a religious organization. All normal people can freely express/preach/promote their religious and other beliefs with no limitations (which is a Constitutional right), and the law does not forbid that.
The law (?????: “? ??????????????? ????????????? ????????????”, ???????? ???????? ??????????????? ??????? ?? ????? ???? ???????? ???????????????…) states that all traditional beliefs are valid and sacred and can be preached. But those who abuse the sacred texts of any religion will be restrained.”
I have lived and worked in Novosibirsk for over ten years and know the background to this proposed legislation, which is aimed not at bona fide Evangelical Christians going about their lawful business, but at dangerous and persistent groups who are operating in Russia with the aim of the aggressive proselytizing of young people and the destruction of the official Russian Orthodox Church.
I have witnessed the methods of these people and can confirm reports of their gaining the trust of ordinary Russians before luring them into their sects. Many of these groups are financed from the US – especially those professing the beliefs of the Mormons, who are not Christians and who believe (to quote their official website): “Additional books of scripture – including the Book of Mormon – strengthen and reinforce God’s teachings through additional witnesses. These groups work mainly by targeting young children in ways that would not be tolerated in the UK. In fact, if they went about their business in like manner in the UK, they would be arrested.
I have noted the tactics of these ‘missionaries’, mainly young men who operate in small groups. They are sent to Russia (on student visas) with the specific purpose of evangelizing young people, and work under the cover of teaching English in small private language schools, of which there are very many, thus gaining access to children and young people. After they have gained their trust they begin to teach their message subtly and invite children to meetings and parties where they can meet other young people and discuss religious issues. In Novosibirsk they operate on the main metro line in pairs. Being highly trained in the Russian language, they easily get into conversation with unaccompanied young people and give out leaflets which, on the surface, seem innocuous, mainly invitations to “discussion groups”. Sometimes they openly advertise a church meeting. I lifted one of these leaflets and can confirm that it was from the Mormon organisation.
In the Summer these young men easily get work in children’s language camps where they can have longer and unsupervised access to children and ample opportunity to impart their message. Some years ago I witnessed such a group who had hired a classy motor launch and were spending the Summer touring the banks of the River Ob, offering to give puppet shows to the many children living in organised camps. I attended one of these shows and the whole proceedings were a blatant and highly talented attempt to proselytizing from the Orthodox Church, which these people mistakenly believe is synonymous with Rome. At the end they gave out expensive ‘Bibles’ in Russian. The whole operation must have cost a fortune! Other cults are operating in Russia and there have been several reports of children taking their own lives after becoming involved.
This is the background to the new legislation which is designed to limit and perhaps ban the activity of these non-Christian sects and to protect unsuspecting persons. If bona fide Evangelical Christians are also engaging in these underhand ways of ‘evangelizing’, it would seem fair to say that they deserve to have their activities similarly limited.
The author is a UK citizen who lives and works in Russia.