Kyrgyzstan (MNN) — Kyrgyzstan's
interim government set the parliamentary and presidential elections for
October. A new constitution referendum
is slated for June 27. This comes in the
wake of an April 7 coup and weeks of instability.
Ousted leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev says
he is still the rightful president of his country, although he did sign a
letter of resignation before he left the country. Since then, he has rallied his supporters and
refused to recognize his resignation. In
the meantime, also rejected his attempt retract his resignation
Believers are watching with
great interest the events unfolding and are wondering about the days ahead. Joel Griffith with Slavic
Gospel Association explains, "We're very hopeful that
maybe this new government would relax things for the church somewhat, and we'll
just see what happens when this new constitution is put into place. There will
be a general election in October, and I think between now and then there are
just going to be a lot of forces trying to have their voices heard."
Although Kyrgyzstan is
constitutionally a secular state, the fear of militant groups has caused its
government to impose restrictive religion laws that negatively affect peaceful
religious communities. In November 2008, Kyrgyzstan's parliament passed a
religion law that tightened regulations.
Then on January 12, 2009, Kyrgyzstan
adopted a new religious law, which increased restrictions on the activities of
religious groups. Since the introduction of this new law, the situation for
churches in the country has become more difficult.
SGA's ministry is still moving
forward despite the tightening of religion laws in 2008. Griffith urges prayer for open doors. "Pray for the protection of those
churches, and pray that this unstable situation would give them, not only as
churches but also as individual believers, opportunities to witness and to
lift up the name of Christ as the ultimate peace of the country."
The country ranks 49th
on the Open Doors World Watch list of countries known for their persecution of
Christians. Pray that religious freedom will be respected
under the rule of law and that Christians will no longer be subjected to harassment.