WHEN GOD HIDES HIS FACE
by Platon Prokhorov
ReligioPolis, 10 May 2017
Belatedly by several days it was reported that in the village of Lutsino of the Odintsov district of Moscow province a still unidentified perpetrator set fire to two houses in which a family of Jehovah's Witnesses lived.
The news agency of the religious organization, which has recently been declared by the Russian Supreme Court to be "extremist," reported this event quite laconically:
"On 30 April 2017 another act of vandalism was committed with respect to adherents of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. In the village of Lutsino (Moscow province), one of the local residents who had previously spoken out negatively against this religion, in an inebriated condition, threw a bottle with a flammable liquid into a house where a Jehovah's Witnesses family lived. The resultant fire destroyed two houses and the cars of the believers. The perpetrator of the arson was arrested in hot pursuit."
However, this is typical of Witnesses, who usually are not inclined to describe in detail overt persecutions against them in order to elicit sympathy. But it was possible to elucidate in "hot pursuit" something of the calamity that befell our religious compatriots.
Having returned from a meeting with their fellow believers, the Jehovah's Witnesses Dmitry D. and his wife Veronika P. learned that in one of the houses a wake for a recently deceased resident was going on, after which there began a traditional brawl. Veronica's father passed by the drunken and brawling peasants and was wounded, although not seriously. While conversing with him, the couple was approached by a participant in the brawl, a neighbor who could barely stand up, and when he saw that they did not particularly want to converse with him he shouted that now he would set them on fire.
Dmitry and Veronika did not attach special significance to this, considering everything to be the result of drunken courage, and they went home. But several minutes later, looking out from the balcony, Veronica saw that the reeling neighbor had shown up again, who threw a bottle through the open doors of the garage attached to the house. Then she heard a clap and saw flames gushing up.
In the twenty minutes until fire fighters arrived, while the couple tried to save something out of the burning home, and then from the neighboring home of Veronica's parents, the fired reached a stage that it was impossible to put it out. As a result, two houses and the garage with cars burned down.
Neighbors said that when the police arrived they put the arsonist in handcuffs. But this embittered him even more and he continued to threaten the believers whose home he burned that his "revenge" will not end with this.
A couple of days later, after sleeping and coming to understand finally what he had done, the arsonist came running to ask for forgiveness, and he begged that they not compose a statement, promising to completely compensate the damages. He said that his attitude toward the believers and their religion had changed and that he even "envied" their faith, because they were not hostile to him regardless of what had happened, etc. Despite that neighbors tried to persuade the Jehovah's Witnesses not to give in to his exhortations, the believers forgave the arsonist and promised him that they would not file charges under the law.
As far as can be discerned, the victims themselves do not insist that the neighbor set fire to their home by virtue of religious hatred, considering that he "was only an agent in Satan's hands." But they now do not intend to live any longer even in an rebuilt house and they are planning to leave Russia.
It is not very difficult to posit that such a thing would be unthinkable in a relatively normal situation in the country. If there had not been a prior broad anti-cult campaign, initiated by the "titular" church, if there had not been a systematic administrative persecution of religious minorities by bureaucrats, if there had not been, finally, a decision of the Supreme Court of the RF that was not based on either the law nor fact for the liquidation of the allegedly "extremist" organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses, such a degree of blunt hatred toward believers would not have arisen even in drunk psychopaths. In soviet times, even in the period of the "Khrushchev persecutions" of religion, people treated their believing compatriots not simply loyally but with sympathy, considering them to be unjustly oppressed. In this regard the current wave of godlessness may be considered to be a qualitatively new phenomenon for Russia and a madness that is leading the country in an unknown direction.
In essence, for the first time in all history, there are suffering in the country not only religious organizations and believing people but religion in and of itself, regardless of the confession of its adherents. The phrase that was uttered by somebody and took root already among the people: "What the bolsheviks did not manage to do with faith in soviet time is now being brought successfully to conclusion," alas seems not to be far from reality.
When people who are beating themselves on the
declaring that they believe in God, are not able to manage their
compatriots who also believe in God, God turns his face from them. (tr. by PDS, posted 17
Vigilante action against Jehovah's Witnesses' property
May 8, 2017
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