Archive for April, 2017

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The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned as an extremist group in a Supreme Court decision that observers fear signals a further step back for religious liberty.

“For Jehovah’s Witnesses, this is going to be a frightening time,” Lorcan Price, ADF International legal counsel in Strasbourg said. “It effectively means that holding their beliefs and manifesting them is tantamount to a criminal act in Russia. They risk new levels of persecution by the Russian authorities,” which reverses positive trends seen in Russia in recent years.

“What we’re seeing really is the slide back into the type of attitude that characterized the worst of oppression in the 20th century by the Soviet regime in Russia,” he added. “It’s obviously very sad and disheartening to see that happening again.”

The Russian Orthodox Church, which is the official state church in Russia and its predominant religion, fears the influence of minority religions, in particular the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But will this lead to the persecution of other churches not favored by the Russian Orthodox Church as well? Russia’s federal security service, the FSB (formerly the KGB), also holds the denomination under deep suspicion.

Russia’s Justice Ministry in March ordered that the Jehovah’s Witnesses denomination be liquidated and disbanded. Judges ordered the closure of the denomination’s Russian headquarters and almost 400 local chapters. The denomination’s property would also be seized.

The denomination’s lawyer, Viktor Zhenkov, said the group would appeal the court ruling upholding the order. “We consider this decision an act of political repression that is impermissible in contemporary Russia,” Zhenkov told the New York Times.

The Supreme Court’s decision is more accurately characterized as religious repression with political consequences. For instance, Russia has duties under the European Court of Human Rights to protect freedom of worship and belief.

Svetlana Borisova, who represented the Justice Ministry in the Supreme Court, charged that the denomination’s members had shown “signs of extremist activity that represent a threat to the rights of citizens, social order and the security of society.”

“Last year in particular the government adopted some very draconian and far-reaching legislation that has severely disrupted the right of worship and freedom of belief in Russia,” he said. The government made it illegal to invite someone to a religious meeting, even on Facebook and other social media.

Also, anti-terrorism measures have given Russian police powers to disrupt private worship services, to arrest and detain individuals handing out unapproved religious materials, and to outlaw any public preaching without prior approval from Russian authorities.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered intense persecution under the Soviet era until the fall of communism in 1991. A 2002 anti-extremism law and a broader definition of extremism in 2006 once again put legal pressure on the denomination.

Price said an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights could produce a positive response, but Russia has “a long history of ignoring decisions” from that court, which relies on diplomatic pressure to enforce its decisions. “For Christians and minority faiths in Russia this is a frightening time,” he said.

“What we hope is ultimately the Russian government will take notice of international condemnation and reverse these policies.”

The persecution of the Jehovah’s Witnesses lays a foundation for persecution of other religious minorities in Russia once case law has established precedents. The enemy is angling to restrict the true followers of Jesus by first establishing hatred and persecution of others.

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” II Timothy 3:12.

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Rumors of War

Posted: April 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

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The Pentagon announced on April 8, that a Navy carrier strike group has been order to move toward the Western Pacific Ocean to provide a physical presence near the Korean peninsula. The carrier group includes the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, with support from several missile destroyers and missile cruisers.

In light of the provocative behavior from North Korea, H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser said, “It’s prudent to do it, isn’t it?”

Meanwhile the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson insisted that he was hopeful that China would put pressure on Pyongyang. “This is a rogue regime that is now a nuclear-capable regime, and President Xi and President Trump agreed that that is unacceptable, that what must happen is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” he said. Tillerson said the meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Mr Trump’s Florida estate, had helped convince the Chinese to take action.

“President Xi expressed agreement that the regime has reached new levels of concern.”

Tillerson also said on a Sunday talk show that he expected the Chinese to take concrete steps. “We expect that they will. They have indicated that they will. And we need to give them time.”

Meanwhile North Korea released a video perporting to show a US aircraft carrier being blown up, as it warned the US against carrying out military action, and warned that more intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

On Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korea’s leader, acting president Hwang Kyo-Ahn, spoke by phone. The White House said the two agreed to stay in close contact about North Korea and other issues.

On Sunday the White House confirmed a conversation between Mr Trump and Shinzo Abe, the Japanese leader, which reiterated US support for Japan in the region and their desire to work together on the problem of North Korea.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars…” Matthew 24:6  The Ultimate Deliverance

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