Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Growing concern over proposed legislative changes on religion in Armenia

Did you know Armenia was the
world's first Christian nation?
Human rights defenders and religious communities are harshly criticising proposed amendments to several Armenian laws that would impose new restrictions on and punishments for religious activity, says Forum 18 News Service.

Under these amendments, the state would conduct a "theological expert examination" before granting registration to religious communities, while those that fail to provide full information about all their activities could be liquidated. Sharing faith is a particular target, with penalties for violations of up to three months' imprisonment.

"If adopted, [these amendments] will create two kinds of citizens in Armenia—those of the Armenian Apostolic Church on one side, and then the rest," Pastor Rene Leonian of the Evangelical Church told Forum 18 News Service. "It is difficult for us to accept in an independent and democratic state that there can be two classes of citizen."

The amendments, prepared by the Justice Ministry, were first made known when placed on the Council of Europe's Venice Commission website on November 30.

You can read the full story here.

Pray for wisdom for the leaders of Armenia. Pray for unity and cooperation with the Armenian Church, that its groups will find common ground and the ability to work together for the purposes of God. Pray for deep spiritual regeneration of the Church and for godly leaders.

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