Friday, June 12, 2009

The New Freedom of Religion

Last post I mentioned that we just received our first copies of the complete Bible in the local language. What I didn't mention is that the situation for believers and workers here is becoming progressively difficult.

In recent elections, the constitutional freedom of religion section was amended. For those of you who had to read 1984 in high school, it has been classic "double speak". The new freedom of religion places significant restrictions on both local and foreign believers. No meetings in homes, no handing out literature, no suggesting that one religion is better than another. The legal status of all religious organizations has been revoked and all groups will have to re-apply for legal status, at which time the government department that oversees religion will examine the doctrine and history of each group to determine if it is "harmful". Punishments range from stiff fines (several years' worth of salary) to prison or, in the case of foreigners, deportation.

This is a trend that has been observed all across Central Asia, not just where we live. Many workers across the region are having trouble obtaining or renewing visas. By the way, we are up to renew next month, so please pray that our paperwork goes through smoothly!

We appreciate your prayers for us, for the work here and for the local church. Ultimately, God is sovereign in all of these events and, although He may not choose to accomplish His will here in a manner that we like, it will be accomplished.

No comments: