Yesterday the Russian Federations Supreme Court judged that non-combative, anti-violence and evangelical Christians could be banned as extremists.
Read the outcome of the case The Russian Orthodox Church and the Government has decided that to claim that you have the true religion is incitement to civil unrest and discord. It is the same as membership of terrorist organisations and presents a real danger to the public.
The case presented by Jehovah’s Witnesses coherently demonstrated that the evidence was fabricated. However this judgement did not rely on evidence just the Ministry of Justice stating that this group and the 175,000 members should be criminalized.
Where was the support for religious freedom? “Well its only Jehovah’s Witnesses and they are annoying, so does it really matter?” That sentiment has been expressed by many religious people. Here in the UK some have welcomed the judgement and feel that religious freedoms should be curtailed.
This precedent enables the Russian Federation to label every religious group that fails the Ministry of Justice standard (a movable feast) to be banned. Even the Russian orthodox Church. When the President of Russia decides to step down the replacement could be even more draconian. We will wait to see.
The Political elements of this world are tiring of religious groups and their demands for representation when most countries have become democratic secular societies and as a consequence they are no longer a major voice in the country. Legislation like this exists to fight the war on terror but as Russia and Eritrea have already demonstrated it can be used to curtail religious freedom.
Think carefully about how much of a Christian you are prepared to be when it is a choice between freedom and loyalty to your faith. We know Jehovah’s Witnesses will remain loyal to their faith, their preaching will continue, they will go to prison and they will sacrifice their lives to remain loyal.
The price of true freedom can be your human rights. So Christians Jehovah’s Witnesses are now extremists in the Russian Federation so watch them grow, 200,000 dedicated witnesses is a small stride for this committed group of evangelists.
Watch out for the appeal it will be turned down and the ECHR rulings will be ignore but not one Jehovah’s Witness will fight the state, fail to pay taxes or fund terrorism.