Here is an interesting article concerning freedom of religion in today’s New York Times – At Expense of Others, Putin Picks a Church.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, a deeply religious man, believes that being Russian means being Russian Orthodox. In 988, the entire nation was baptized as Christian by imperial decree. It was called the baptism of ancient Russia. The government wants to do a similar thing now. Now the bad news – all other forms of Christianity are regarded as sects. Proslytizing by Protestants and Catholics is strictly prohibited.
On local television last month, the city’s chief Russian Orthodox priest, who is a confidant of the region’s most powerful politicians, gave a sermon that was repeated every few hours. His theme: Protestant heretics.
“We deplore those who are led astray — those Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, evangelicals, Pentecostals and many others who cut Christ’s robes like bandits, who are like the soldiers who crucified Christ, who ripped apart Christ’s holy coat,” declared the priest, the Rev. Aleksei D. Zorin.
Such language is familiar to Protestants in Stary Oskol, who number about 2,000 in a city of 225,000.
Aren’t you glad that we don’t live in a “Christian” country like Russia?