Religious Persecution Continues
Earlier this summer, it was announced by the Kremlin that Russian religious groups would no longer be able to worship or meet outside of the church as of July 20th. Since this announcement, people have called for the law to be revoked, but it still stands. Christians are now facing religious persecution throughout Russia, and are struggling to practice their faith with fellow worshippers and believers.
These anti-terrorism laws, said to be the most restrictive of the laws that have been enacted since the Soviet era, are causing people to reflect on their past and the growth of the country. Churches are now trying to comprehend what this will mean for their religious freedom, and how they will continue to practice their faith. Groups that meet in homes are also struggling with these new laws as text messages, pictures, and so forth will be provided to authorities. Emails are also being monitored making it difficult to contact and communicate with others.
Thomas J. Reese, the head of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said that, “the new restrictions ‘will make it easier for Russian authorities to repress religious communities, stifle peaceful dissent, and detain and imprison people.’”
Religious persecution has impacted countries and religious groups throughout history and is continuing in many countries today. As followers of Christ, we are called to worship, pray and minister to others, but laws such as these make it difficult to do so. People are remaining strong in their faith, however, and are taking refuge in God’s word. We are blessed to be able to express our beliefs freely in Canada, and pray that the people in Russia are soon able to do so as well.