More on Russia’s anti-evangelism law

Michael Avramovich explains more about Russia’s new laws restricting religion.  We have blogged about the one requiring all Christian evangelism–except for that of the Russian Orthodox Church–to be conducted within a church service (not in a home, not online).  There are other strict restrictions on religious bodies, again, other than the Russian Orthodox Church. [Read more…]

The Libertarian candidate on religious liberty

Is Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson someone social conservatives could vote for as an alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?  Well, check out what he says about religious liberty, which he describes as a “black hole,” a liberty outside the bounds of his kind of libertarianism. [Read more…]

The rest of the religious liberty story

The Christian Science Monitor is running a seven-part series on religious liberty.  According to Julia Duin, it is remarkably fair and balanced, including fuller accounts of the florists and bakers who are losing everything they own because they will not participate in gay weddings.

For example, we learn that the florist in Washington state had done lots of business with the man who would later file a discrimination claim against her.  She sold him $4,500 worth of floral arrangements over nine years.  She didn’t discriminate against him in her business because he was gay.  She knew that he was and considered him a friend.  But when he asked her to create floral designs for his wedding to another man, as a Southern Baptist, she had to draw the line.  But even then the jilted customer didn’t want to ruin her until he was talked into it by the ACLU, who added onto the discrimination complaint a lawsuit that would also seize all of her personal assets. [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]


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