Russia (MNN) — On July 5, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released a new report on religious freedom violations in Russia. The difference in this report is it looks at religious freedom issues in Russia since the war in Ukraine began.
In the report, the commission also recommends the U.S. State Department continue to designate Russia as a Country of Particular Concern.
Eric Mock with Slavic Gospel Association says, “With the war beginning, there’s a clear delineation. You’re either for the war and for Russia, for the country, or you’re against it.”
In some cases, Christians in Russia have been arrested, but it has more to do with their speech against the war in Ukraine and less with their faith denomination.
However, some Christian denominations outside the Russian Orthodox Church are being specifically targeted for being perceived as “Western influence.”
Mock explains, “You have a situation where, in the midst of this war, Western forms of Christianity as they would deem it is bad for the country in general. So I don’t think we can talk about religious freedom apart from the growing forms of nationalism.
“Rather than it being actually a persecution of those who claim Christ, we have to recognize some of the actions are more a function of nationalism than a theological position or a rejection of Christ as Lord.”
Yet, Mock reminds that what happens at the national level doesn’t always tell the story of what’s happening in a local sense. In faithful, Bible-believing churches all across Russia, believers continue to share the Gospel.
“All across Russia right now, they’re having absolutely amazing summer camps…. While we talk about different religious freedoms, SGA is targeting as many as 75,000 kids to come to these Russian, Belarussian, Ukrainian (and all the countries we serve) Baptist churches that are proclaiming the Gospel.”
If you want to provide biblical encouragement to families in Russia, you can support SGA’s summer camp ministry here!
Pray for Russians to know truth in Christ.
Header photo courtesy of Random Institute/Unsplash.