Russia forbids evangelizing outside of church

A new Russian law forbids evangelizing except within a church service.  This includes using e-mail or other online communication.  It even outlaws private evangelistic conversations within one’s own home.

This is not the work of Godless communism.  It comes out of the Russian Orthodox Church and its resistance to “proseletyzing” on the part of Western Protestants and Roman Catholics. I wonder what would happen, under this law, if a devout Orthodox Russian tried, over glasses of vodka, to persuade an old-line Communist to embrace Orthodox Christianity.  I suspect this would be allowed.  My impression is that the Russian Orthodox Church considers all of Holy Russia to be its domain, even among the unbaptized.  But I don’t know.

 Ironically, the recent Great and Holy Council of the orthodox, the Russians not attending, put out a statement affirming religious liberty that pointedly did not include “the right to convert.”  I’d love to hear from Orthodox readers about why this is.

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Chinese state government confiscates churches’ offerings

In more state repression of religion, the government in China’s Zhejiang province is confiscating the tithes and offerings that churches receive. [Read more…]

No exemptions for church services “open to the public”?

The Iowa Civl Rights Act forbids discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  Churches have an exemption for “a bona fide religious purpose.”  But the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has ruled that if a church service “is open to the public,” it is a “public accommodation” that may not discriminate.

This would mean a congregation must allow only members to attend worship services, excluding visitors and non-members.

UPDATE:  The commission is now clarifying that it didn’t have in mind “worship services,” just services offered by the church, in the sense of child care, food pantries, etc.

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Christian dating sites must arrange same-sex matches 

A California judge is requiring a company that operates Christian dating sites to provide its services to same-sex couples.  Affected are ChristianMingle.com, CatholicMingle.com, AdventistSinglesConnection.com, and BlackSingles.com.

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Trump vs. Clinton on religious liberty

At Donald Trump’s conclave with evangelical leaders, he notably dodged the religious liberty questions.  That’s understandable, since Trump supports the LGTB cause , the source of the current efforts to punish Christians and Christian organizations for holding to their religious beliefs about sexual morality.

But surely Hillary Clinton would be worse than Trump on religious liberty issues, wouldn’t she?  Maggie Gallagher thinks otherwise, after the jump.  She argues that if Clinton is elected, Christians could oppose her from the base of a major political party.  But if Trump is elected, both parties would have abandoned the issues, and Christians would have no political advocates.  Do you agree with her reasoning?
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Christian pharmacists must stock abortifacients

A Christian-owned pharmacy chain refuses to stock “emergency contraception” drugs on the grounds that they cause abortion.  The state of Washington wants to compel the chain to carry the drugs, even though that would violate the owner’s religious beliefs.  The case would seem to be similar to that of Hobby Lobby, which won a ruling from the Supreme Court allowing it to opt out of Obamacare requirements.  But this time the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.  The pharmacies will have to sell the products.

In addition to the pro-life and religious liberty issues, I would think there would be business liberty issues.  Should the government really be able to mandate what products a retailer has to stock? [Read more…]


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