An American missionary to Russia is the first U.S. citizen to be accused of violating the country’s new anti-terrorism law, stating any Christian evangelism outside of the church is illegal.
Baptist Pastor Donald Ossewaarde, 55, is set to appear in court after he held a religious service in his home and posted advertisements on bulletin boards in surrounding neighborhoods, Fox News reports.
The pastor was also fined an equivalent of US $630 for breaking the anti-religion law. The “Yarovaya” law is intended to limit the spread of terrorism and extremism but the “anti-sharing beliefs amendment” contains a provision that bans any missionary activities in non-religious settings.
Foreign missionaries are also not allowed to speak at a church unless they have a work permit from Russian authorities. Any discussion about God with non-believers is considered missionary activity and punishable by law.
“The Yarovaya laws have sent Russia careening back toward the days of the Soviet Union in terms of religious freedom,” Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern, told FoxNews.com. “Donald’s case is likely just the tip of the iceberg; these laws affect everyone in Russia, not just foreign missionaries.”
This article continues at [CBN News] Huge Fine Forces US Pastor to Shut Down Church in Russia