Baptist clergyman speaks up for Jehovah's Witnesses


Former chairman of Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, 24 March 2017 How do you evaluate the decision of the Ministry of Justice regarding an appeal in court with a lawsuit for the liquidation of organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses throughout Russia and the suspension of the activity of their Administrative Center?


--Vitaly Vlasenko: This is a very irrational and dangerous step by the Ministry of Justice. In this way the state is interfering in the life of a religious organization. And the Russian constitution guarantees to each person free confession of their faith. And nothing is said there about just what kind of faith: correct or incorrect. Therefore such a precedent is very frightening and raises the question: who is next?


--What kind of legal and moral qualifications can you give for these actions of the authorities?


--I consider that these actions of the Ministry of Justice are mistaken and violate the constitution of the Russian federation. In other words, the Ministry of Justice began to divide religious people into desirable and undesirable or into correct believers and incorrect believers. What will prevent these same bureaucrats tomorrow from condemning, for example, Evangelical Christians-Baptists, Old Believers, or Catholics? I consider such an approach to be radically incorrect.


Interviewer: Vladimir Oivin

(tr. by PDS, posted 27 March 2017)

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