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By Mekelle Solomon

Late last week the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, approved an anti-terrorist law. The law was a complete package of restrictions designed to “protect” against radical terrorist attacks. An anti-terrorist law sounds like a great idea right? Something that the whole country could support 100%. In response to this movement over 7000 evangelical and protestant churches are fasting and praying for help. Why? The new anti-terrorist package included strong restrictions on religion. So strong in fact that “the new law is being called the most restrictive in post-Soviet history.” As of July 20th no one will be allowed to share religious beliefs anywhere but in government recognized church buildings. This not only means Russians can’t share their beliefs in public, but also online, or in their homes. With the stroke of his pen Vladimir Putin has taken away religious freedom from all of Russia.

The fastest way to gain control of a country is to take away their religion. Tyrants throughout history have found that when people have religion they more strongly resist government control. Religion sparks free thinking. It holds people accountable to something higher than governments. In religion there are constants, there is truth, there is right and wrong. Religion inspires commitment and dedication to what you know to be true. Religion is what gives people the moral courage to resist tyranny. Removing religion is the surest way to gain absolute control of a country.

My prayers go out to the Russian people. They have a long hard battle ahead of them. Their government has just taken away the most basic of human rights. Here in America this story has gotten little air time. It should be front page news, partly because we value human rights. We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. “We” meaning the whole human race. This should also be front page news because it serves as a good reminder of the many ways in whireligious freedomch freedom can be lost in the name of protection. The law in Russia has been called an anti-terrorist law. Terrorism is a very real threat and measures do have to be taken in order secure our safety. However it is important that we be fully aware of what those measures are. As Americans we must stand fast in our liberty and do all that is in our power to defend our religious freedoms. I plead with you to be aware of what is going on in your government at both a national and a state level. Do not give up your freedoms for a small sense of security. The Russian people did not have a choice we do. During the American Revolution a patriot by the name of Patrick Henry asked the question, “Is life so sweet and peace so dear as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” Over two hundred years later we are still asking ourselves the same question.

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