Churches Fasting, Praying Over Terrifying New Persecution Law
WORLD, Russia: The stern leader of Russia is the subject of cries and scrutiny for a law that he signed on the anti-terrorism bill. Church leaders and religious believers condemn the law as it violates human rights, persecuting those who preach religion and discuss their beliefs to non-believers.
"The church is appalled at the news of the new law. About 7,000 evangelical/protestant churches are in fasting and prayer now over the news," Haukka tells Charisma News.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-terrorism law, but for the country’s many church leaders and organizations, the law needs to be prayed over and fast.
The bill toughens punishment for acts deemed to be terrorism and for the organization of “mass unrest,” according to the Los Angeles Times. It would also introduce prison sentences of up to a year for those who fail to report such crimes.
According to the Great Commission Ministries Chairman Hanny Haukka, as told to Charisma News, the law entails:
· Foreign guests are not permitted to speak in churches unless they have a "work permit" from Russian authorities
· If a friend or relative from outside Russia wishes to share his/her faith in your home the guest will be fined and expelled from Russia.
· Any discussion of God with non-believers is considered missionary activity and will be punishable.
· Missionary activity will be permitted by special government permission. Example: If one traveling on a train shares his faith without written permission the offender will be taken into police custody for the duration of the journey and will be fined 50,000 rubles ($1,000).
· Offenders from the age of 14-years-old will be subject to prosecution
· Religious activity is no longer permitted in private homes. Most churches in Russia meet in homes.
· Every citizen is obligated to report religious activity of neighbors to the authorities. Failure to be an informant is punishable by law.
· One may pray and read the Bible at home but not in the presence of a non-believing person. You will be breaking the law and be punished.
· If the church has purchased property it cannot be converted into a place of worship.
· In church buildings, it is not permitted to invite people to turn to God. Worship services are permitted but making a non-believer a follower of Christ is against the law.
Thousands of churches across the country have come together to cry out to God. Residents are enraged by the law.
Hauka pleads with believers around the world to join with Russian churches in prayer and fasting.
“The law on anti-terrorism in Russia is barbaric. We would like to offer a moment of silence and prayer during our Sunday services to cry out our sentiments to support our brothers and sisters in Russia. To cry out our belief, and denomination, that we need to preach, wherever we are in the world. Anyone who practices his belief and speaks about God should not be persecuted.” UPC Bulakan Ministries in the Philippines commented.
An American refugee Edward Snowden tweeted: ”#Putin has signed a repressive new law that violates not only human rights, but common sense. Dark day for #Russia.”
What is the anti-terrorism bill?
The controversial anti-terrorism legislation known in Russia as the “Yarovaya law,” was named after its leading co-author, a prominent member of Putin’s United Russia party Irina Yarovaya. The law is reminiscent of Soviet-era surveillance.
‘The anti-terrorist package of bills was drafted in April 2016 by a group of lower house lawmakers, who described it as a response to the bombing of an A-231 jetliner in Egypt in October 2015 and the terrorist attacks in Paris in November of that year.
The document contains a separate criminal article that orders up to 10 years in prison for anyone engaging in international terrorism, and up to 15 years behind bars for anyone found guilty of financing terrorist groups. Attracting new recruits to a terrorist organization was also criminalized and will be punished with prison terms of between five and 10 years.
The new bill also lowers the age threshold for terrorist crimes, such as terrorist attacks and hostage-taking, to 14 years from the current 16. Presently the age of minors in Russia is 16, with exceptions made for such crimes as murder, rape, kidnapping, and several others. For these, criminals are deemed to be responsible from the age of 14.
Another provision stipulates fines of between 300,000 and 1 million rubles ($4,600 - $15,400) or prison terms ranging from five to seven years for public calls to terrorism or justifying terrorist crimes, including via the internet.’
Russsian President Vladimir Putin and Irina Yarovaya, member of Putin’s United Russia party