The below is an article reprinted from the Omaha World Herald on July 15, 1993 in the 'Wor
The below is an article reprinted from the Omaha World Herald
on July 15, 1993 in the "World News" section. Permission was
not given, and the views it represents are not my own.
Russian Lawmakers Vote to Ban Foreign
MOSCOW (AP) -- Lawmakers voted Wednesday
to ban foreign missionaries from
proselytizing in Russia. One critical
lawmaker said the move was aimed at U.S.
evangelist Billy Graham.
The amendment to Russia's law on freedom
of religion applies specifically to
foreigners and bans missionary work,
publishing, business deals and
advertising, the Interfax news agency
The measure, which needs Boris Yeltsin's
approval before becoming law, requires
religious groups to become affiliated
with Russian churches or organizations
or to obtain state accreditation,
"If you fail to get accreditation...
you are finished. Even if God himself
sent you to Russia," the newspaper
Izvestia said in a commentary Wednesday.
The Russian Orthodox Church, which
claims more than 60 million believers in
the former Soviet Union, strongly backed
the move. The church has complained
about the influx of foreigners seeking
Missionaries have become increasingly
visible in the former Soviet Union since
the collapse of communism.
American preachers such as the Rev.
Robert Schuller, Jimmy Swaggart and Pat
Robertson have appeared on Russian
television, the Mormon Church began
sending missionaries last year, and the
Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification
Church has conducted regular seminars.
Graham drew about 30,000 people in
Moscow's Olympic arena during an
American-style prayer meeting last
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank