We get an update on the new religion law in Kazakhstan

By August 2, 2005

Kazakhstan (MNN) — Slavic Gospel Association is asking Christians around the world to pray for the country of Kazakhstan as the country may begin clamping down on their new religion law.

The law was signed into effect last month. According to SGA’s Joel Griffith, it’s restrictive to all religions. “The base provisions of this new law include a ban on all unregistered religious activity. It restricts missionary activity to licensed missionaries only. It requires censorship of missionary’s literature and that’s even by local officials, not just the nationals. It calls for fines and possible deportation of foreign nationals who violate these restrictions.”

Griffith, reading from a statement from the President of the Baptist Union in Kazakhstan, Frants Tissen, says believers are very concerned. “We’re especially concerned about a provision regarding the religious instruction of children. The terms used here are not clearly defined and they’re going to need further examination. The new law also requires non-commercial organizations receiving funds from foreign sources to report to authorities how those funds are going to be used.”

The new law is not receiving good reviews from international human right groups. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is already calling the law overly restrictive in nature.

SGA isn’t sure what will become of the legislation. Already a Baptist pastor is facing charges for not registering his church. Another church has lost its lease to hold services in a rented building, and a foreign Methodist pastor was told to leave the country or there would be serious trouble.

SGA’s President Bob Provost says it’s time for the people around the world to begin praying for this very serious situation.

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