ICC NOTE: The Slavic Center for Law and Justice, which is an affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), hosted a webinar yesterday for individuals concerned with the latest anti-terror law which has various anti-religious elements. Foreign missionaries will not be banned from entering Russia and speaking however, they must be invited by a religious organization, receive written authorization to speak upon their behalf, and be limited to speak within the confines of church or religious property. Failure to do so will result in a hefty fine and possibly expulsion for some cases. It is the first time Russian law has defined missionary activity within the legal framework, creating confusion as to what is considered to be under their legal definition and what is not.
8/4/2016 Russia (Christian Post) – Christians in Russia have said they are determined to preach the Gospel and fulfill the Great Commission despite tough new laws signed by President Vladimir Putin that ban evangelism outside of churches.
The Slavic Centre for Law and Justice, an affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice, said a new manner of carrying out missionary work in Russia will have to be established.
The law bans all missionary activities in residential areas and requires Christians who want to share their faith with others, even on the internet, to obtain authorization documents from a religious association. It also imposes a fine of $75 to $765 if the violator is a Russian citizen, and a fine of up to $15,265 in case of an organization, while foreigners would be deported, The Christian Post reported last month.
“A number of restrictions on missionary work were introduced and legal liability was put in place for the violation of these new laws,” the SCLJ explained, promoting a webinar on Thursday that will address the issue.
The organization is set to review the changes to Russia’s law when it comes to freedom of conscience and the activities of religious institution; the rights of foreign citizens to conduct missionary activities in Russia; and how to carry out missionary work in the world’s biggest country without breaking the law.
“Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Russia and pass along the information about this webinar to your pastor and any others who may know about missionaries in Russia who could find it useful,” the ACLJ added in a statement. “We will continue defending Christians around the globe to ensure their rights to share their faith are protected.”
Thousands of churches across Russia came together in prayer and fasting in July against Putin’s law, which effectively punishes any kind of religious evangelization outside of churches.