New Curbs On Religious Freedom Cast Soviet Shadow Over Russia

By: Geraldine Fagan

This July, Vladimir Putin introduced the severest restrictions on religious freedom in Russia since the Soviet era. The regulations on ‘missionary activity’ form part of a sprawling package of legislation nicknamed the Yarovaya law after its main sponsor. Its express aim is “to counter terrorism and ensure public safety.” The new controls are the long-awaited fruit of fierce lobbying by opponents of religious freedom in Russia.

Permanent Link:

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:

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:

Freedom to Proselytize Associated with Lower Religious Hostilities

By: Brian Grim

A new analysis by the Weekly Number shows that religious hostilities are consistently more likely to occur in countries where governments restrict proselytizing than in countries without such restrictions. For instance, looking at Pew Research data, hostilities over proselytizing are five times more likely in countries with laws restricting proselytism than in countries with no such restrictions. Also, hostilities over conversions are more than four times as likely in countries with laws restricting proselytism as in countries without restrictions. (See data here and at the bottom of this post.) 

Permanent Link:

Proselytism or a Global Ethic?

By: Asoka Bandarage

On March 4, the Religious Freedom Project of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University held a day-long public dialogue in Washington, DC on the controversial topic of proselytism and global development. Three panels of religious leaders, development practitioners, and scholars examined the issue from diverse perspectives. The keynote conversation featured Pastor Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church, and Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service. This column seeks to contribute to the discourse on this timely and important subject.

Permanent Link: