An All Too Typical Political Precedent in Russia: Yarovaya Laws Hit Minority Faiths First

By: Paul Goble

Students of Russia know that court decisions there do not have precedential value, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t precedents in Russian legal practice. One of the most typical and despicable is now very much on public view: the application of harsh new laws to minorities lacking in support, in order to define the limits of the permissible and set the stage for attacks on other larger and more popular faiths later, effectively recreating the situation Pastor Niemoeller described in Nazi Germany.

Permanent Link: http://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/8/30/an-all-too-typical-political-precedent-in-russia-yarovaya-laws-hit-minority-faiths-first

Russia’s New Anti-Missionary Law in Context

By: Elizabeth A. Clark

As of July 20th of this year, ordinary Russian citizens and foreigners living in Russia face enormous fines for sharing their beliefs, even if they do so in their own homes. This represents a new level of repression of free speech and civil society in post-Soviet Russia.

Permanent Link: http://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/8/30/russias-new-anti-missionary-law-in-context

Two Decades of Bipartisan Cooperation on Government Funding and Religion . . . this can’t possibly be about the U.S.

By: Carl H. Esbeck & Stanley Carlson-Thies

Ours is a time of polarization, partisanship, and decline in religion’s influence in public life, with heated debates about government’s relationship with religion. And yet, receiving little attention but no less significant than the divisiveness, is the 20-year bipartisan cooperation over federal aid to religious organizations that serve the poor and needy.

Permanent Link: http://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/8/22/two-decades-of-bipartisan-cooperation-on-government-funding-and-religion-this-cant-possibly-be-about-the-us

Toward a Strategy for Engaging a Resurgent Russia on Democracy, Human Rights, and Religious Liberty: Part II

By: Karrie Koesel and Christopher Marsh

When the regime you are engaging has invaded the territorial sovereignty of its neighbor (Ukraine, a U.S. ally), and is also on the brink of war with another one of your alliance members (Turkey) over the shooting down of one of its aircraft, it seems that the promotion of religious, civil, and political liberties is hardly a primary concern. Part I ended by asking the million-ruble question: How does the international community promote basic human rights in Russia? We first detailed the nature of religious freedom in contemporary Russia, how it has transformed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and identified the challenges facing religious communities at risk. Next we lay out several strategies of engagement, some cautious and some more ambitious.

Permanent Link: http://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/8/15/toward-a-strategy-for-engaging-a-resurgent-russia-on-democracy-human-rights-and-religious-liberty-part-ii