||FIRST, THE NEWS:
SERBIAN PRESIDENT AND PATRIARCH MEET, URGE "COORDINATION"
(10 Aug) Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church met on Wednesday, 10 August, in Belgrade. The two leaders discussed "current social topics and agreed that coordination was necessary in joint activities aimed at protecting national interests."
"They agreed on the necessity of coordinating joint activities to protect national interests and prevent potential catastrophic historical injustices such as a canonization of Alojzije Stepinac. Such an injustice would impact not only the Serbs, but entire humanity," a statement released by the presidential press office quoted Nikolic and Irinej as saying.
They also discussed the preservation of the cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija and activities aimed at further preventing Kosovo's admission to UNESCO.
They agreed on the significance of insistence by the church and the state that the monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija be the responsibility of the Republic of Serbia and that the Serbian cultural heritage must not be allowed to be declared the heritage of so-called Kosovo.
Nikolic invited the patriarch to take an active part in the centenary commemorations of the WWI Battle of Kajmakcalan, the statement said. [read more...]
KAZAKHSTAN: IS SHARING ONE'S FAITH A STATE SECURITY ISSUE?
by Felix Corley: Forum 18 News Service
(12 Aug) Individuals who talk about their religious views with others without state permission - an "offense" in Kazakhstan - are often fined and sometimes imprisoned. Those who do not go on to be punished can face "conversations" with officers of the National Security Committee (KNB) secret police and verbal or written warnings from them, according to official reports.
Other state agencies tasked with punishing or warning those who talk about their faith with others are the Police, the Prosecutor's Office and Regional Religious Affairs Departments. Although legal restrictions already ban and punish free speech on religion, the Minister who oversees religion has announced that further restrictions will be imposed in amendments to the Religion Law and other Laws likely to reach Parliament in September.
In recent years a number of foreign citizens legally living and working in Kazakhstan have been punished under Administrative Code Article 490, Part 3 (or its predecessor in the earlier Administrative Code which was replaced in January 2015). They were fined and ordered deported. Among them was Baptist pastor Viktor Lim was fined and ordered deported in May 2013 for leading a registered religious community. Lim, a stateless person, had lived in the country for 20 years and his wife and children are Kazakh citizens. [read more...]
CONSTANTINOPLE HIERARCH OUTLINES THE SCHEME WHEREBY AUTOCEPHALY CAN BE GRANTED TO UKRAINIAN CHURCH
from: Religious Information Service of Ukraine
(02 Aug) Archbishop Job (Hetcha) of the Patriarchate of Constantinople believes that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church can be granted autocephaly on the same model, which was once applied for the Polish Orthodox Church. This hierarch said in an interview to RISU:
"Constantinople has always believed that the territory of Ukraine is the canonical territory of the Church of Constantinople. It should be kept in mind it was on the basis of the Kyiv Metropolis that Polish Church was granted autocephaly in 1924," he said. In the '20-ies the Polish state became independent and requested to Constantinople to recognize the Orthodox Church.
"For Poland it was not a matter of Orthodox faith, Orthodox doctrine or Orthodox worship – it was a religious issue and not the state concern. But the Polish state had a political problem: it did not want the Orthodox Church in Poland to serve the interests of alien country," said Bishop Job.
Constantinople issued the Tomos of 1924 to the Polish Orthodox Church. "Constantinople considered the Polish Church as a former part of the Kyiv Metropolis. As we know, under Metropolitan Cyprian Tsamblak’s tenure, the Kyiv Metropolis was within the Polish-Lithuanian state, whose borders extended to the territory of Poland, and contemporary Lithuania. The same was about the time of Petro Mohyla, who was then Metropolitan of Kyiv. Kyiv Metropolis was then subject to Constantinople. Since Poland was once under the Kyiv Metropolis and Kyiv Metropolis was in direct canonical subordination of Constantinople, Constantinople granted autocephaly to the Polish Church in 1924,” said the hierarch.
"If in 1924 Constantinople granted autocephaly to Polish Church based on the Kyiv Metropolis why would not Constantinople alone have a right top grant autocephalous status to the Kyiv Metropolis? If it was possible in 1924 - it is possible today,” Archbishop Job (Hetcha) said. [read more...]
UZBEKISTAN: RAIDS, PRISON, FINES FOR HOME RELIGIOUS MEETINGS
by Mushfig Bayram: Forum 18 News Service
(09 Aug) Against its international human rights obligations, Uzbekistan bans all meetings for worship almost anywhere other than in state-registered communities and their registered premises. Uzbekistan also imposes strict censorship on all religious publications and all aspects of their distribution. There is a de facto ban on religious literature of any faith in homes, and if found such literature is frequently ordered to be destroyed. State pressure is so great that for their own safety some religious believers have destroyed their own sacred texts.
A Protestant in Urgench was fined in absentia in June, without being given a copy of the court verdict for weeks after the fine was handed down. The first he knew of the decision was when he was ordered to pay the fine. Police had tortured him after searching his home for religious literature.
A Judge in Fergana fined another Protestant in June for having "illegal" religious literature in his home. He ordered eight Christian books to be confiscated. The Protestant had already spent sixteen days in prison to punish him for the same "offense." While in prison he was tortured. The Prosecutor's Office and Police dismissed all his complaints [read more...]
MATVIYENKO SUGGESTS CHECKING RUSSIA'S LAWS FOR THEIR CORRESPONDENCE TO SPIRITUAL AND MORAL VALUES
(12 Aug) Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko suggests checking the laws on their correspondence to historical and national values. "Any national legal system is stable and effective only if its principles and basic norms legally reflect historical, political, economical, social, cultural, spiritual and moral values of a concrete country, a nation," Matviyenko writes in her article published in the Parlamentskaya Gazeta.
She believes it important to introduce in Russia's law-making practice an expertise of laws "for their correspondence to our historical and national values." The Federation Council speaker says that today this work is carried out every now and then, "on one's personal wish." According to her, such an expertise should be fixed as compulsory in the regulations of the Parliament's upper chamber.
"We should always remember about this truth, when we adopt laws and when we apply them. I have to tell it as there are attempts to impose on our state such legal norms and attitudes, which conceal other values, sometimes alien to us," Matviyenko said.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN ROMANIA REFLECTED IN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE'S REPORT
(12 Aug) The US Department of State on Wednesday published its International Religious Freedom Report for 2015 that breaks down the subject by countries.
About Romania, it says that the country's constitution and other laws guarantee freedom of religion and include provisions for the protection of minority religious groups. Laws provide religious groups with state support and access to the army, hospitals, retirement homes, penitentiaries, and orphanages.
"Groups must register under a three-tiered system to receive benefits. Government restrictions prevented some religious groups from gaining official recognition and others from obtaining the return of religious properties confiscated between 1940 and 1989. The Greek Catholic Church, in particular, said it was unable to take possession of many of its churches after authorities failed to enforce court rulings," shows the report.
The Department of State adds that reportedly, local officials, often under the influence of Orthodox clergy, continued to hinder the access of non-Orthodox religious groups to cemeteries. Members of some minority religious groups, including the Greek Catholic Church and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, reported cases of Orthodox priests who forbade non-Orthodox burials in Orthodox and public cemeteries.
U.S. Embassy officials continued to raise concerns with the government about the slow pace of religious property restitution and the importance of full recognition of the Holocaust and improvement in Holocaust education. Embassy representatives and visiting Department of State officials met with leaders of the Greek Catholic Church to discuss Orthodox-Greek Catholic relations and incidents of discrimination. [read more...]
OTHER NEWS HEADLINES:
CHRISTIANS IN RUSSIA UNDER ATTACK FROM PUTIN’S LAW BANNING EVANGELISM OUTSIDE OF CHURCHES
from Orthodox Christian Laity
PROTESTANTS CONFRONT RESISTANCE TO THEIR QUEST FOR BUILDINGS
from various sources
HILLARY CLINTON IS NO CHAMPION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
from National Review
CONSERVATIVE PASTORS SAY THEY WON’T PREACH WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE ISSUES
from American Culture & Faith Institute
CHINA PROVINCE TERMINATES SOCIAL SECURITY FOR PRACTICING CHRISTIANS
UAOC SUPPORTED CONSTANTINOPLE’S ESTABLISHING COMMISSION FOR GRANTING AUTOCEPHALY TO ORTHODOX CHURCH IN UKRAINE
from Religious Information Service of Ukraine
CONSTANTINOPLE CHURCH OFFICIAL DENIES RUMORS OF ITS INTENTION TO FOUND METROPOLIA IN UKRAINE
CONSTANTINOPLE DENIES PLAN TO CREATE NEW ORTHODOX JURISDICTION IN UKRAINE
from Catholic Culture
GERMANY'S OPEN-DOOR REFUGEE POLICY HAS SPLIT REACTIONS
from Mission Network News
METROPOLITAN HILARION ON HIS 50TH BIRTHDAY: "I OWE EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE TO THE CHURCH"
from Russian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate
THE GIFT OF MOBILITY: THOUSANDS OF WHEELCHAIRS
from Mission Eurasia
RELIGIOUS SCIENTIST: REFLECTIONS OF A STARGAZING AMERICAN PRIEST IN RUSSIA
from Russia Beyond the Headlines
See HOSKEN-NEWS Daily News & Views for more of the latest news!
NOW, OUR VIEWS:
(12 Aug) Our news articles and headlines bring contradictory stories about what's happening with Ukrainian Orthodoxy's drive for autocephaly. I'll leave that for you to figure out. In our "Other News Headlines" CHINA PROVINCE TERMINATES SOCIAL SECURITY FOR PRACTICING CHRISTIANS you will notice something new and different about our Hosken-News: we've expanded the scope of our coverage to include issues worldwide affecting "Christianity in Socialist Countries" as our banner now proclaims. "Local authorities in China’s Guizhou province have announced the termination of welfare and social security benefits for Christians who are caught attending church services," the above article states. Unless these Chinese Christians belong to a government-approved church, they now can find themselves starving to death.
Governments around the world are using similar methods to squelch the free exercise of religion. The article for our "Other News Headline" HILLARY CLINTON IS NO CHAMPION OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM describes her view that the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment clause on freedom of religion is limited to the freedom to attend the religious services of your choice, or none at all. She omits entirely the First Amendment's guarantee of the free exercise of religion in the public square, not merely for an hour or two on Sunday morning. And if a pastor should "step out of line" and say something that's not "politically correct" from the pulpit, that church might well lose its tax-exempt status: see the "Other News Headline" CONSERVATIVE PASTORS SAY THEY WON’T PREACH WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE ISSUES. So we're seeing the same sort of pressure against churches in the U.S. that don't hew the government-approved "party line" as we've seen for decades in Russia and China.
The new law in Russia prohibiting the exercise of religion anywhere but on premises owned or rented by a government-approved religious group - see the headline CHRISTIANS IN RUSSIA UNDER ATTACK FROM PUTIN’S LAW BANNING EVANGELISM OUTSIDE OF CHURCHES - puts disfavored religious groups such as Protestants in a bind: if they can't acquire land or a building because of resistance by local Russian Orthodox people, then they are totally prohibited from exercising their religion at all - see the headline PROTESTANTS CONFRONT RESISTANCE TO THEIR QUEST FOR BUILDINGS. I experienced this personally while I was an Evangelical missionary in Russia: when the church I was active in received permission to build and erected a fence around the property, the local people held protest rallies and actually wrote "Death to Baptists!" on the fence. We lost the property.
Until just last month, it seemed that the old Soviet-style crackdown on on non-government-approved religious activity was limited to places like Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikstan, China, Vietnam and North Korea. Russia had become "democratic" ...or so they wanted us to believe. But suddenly we're now seeing news reports of similar suppression of religion in Russia and even in the West. Leftists are increasingly using expressions such as "right-wing extremists" and "religious fundamentalists" to label conservative Christians right here in the U.S. By attaching such labels to people it dehumanizes them, placing them in a group of pariahs that need to be fenced off from contaminating society, or even done away with. This is not far-fetched, it is the way the Nazis and the KKK used to round up "undesirables" and send them of to the forced labor camps ...or death.
It is high time for all of us conservative Christians - Evangelicals, Roman Catholics and Orthodox - to take a firm, strong stand for our free exercise of religion in the public square, not to be bullied or painted into a corner by "political correctness" and threats of losing tax-exempt status. That is why I've expanded the scope of our Hosken-News coverage to include all forms of socialist/statist suppression. Please visit our new HOSKEN-NEWS Daily News & Views for daily updates on these issues, and share them with your friends!
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Socialism, Crony- and Cartel-Captitalism
Most people today don't like to call Hitler's Nazi Germany "Socialist," but the word "Nazi" is actually the German abbreviation of "National Socialist." The essence of Crony-Capitalism is the merger of state and corporate power – the definition of Fascism. In Nazi Germany it was called Cartel-Captitalism, where the heads of large corporations weren't officially part of Hitler's Nazi government, but they belonged to the Nazi Party, and these cartel bosses were pledged and dedicated to support the Nazis' goals. If one of these wealthy Cartel-Captitalists decided to oppose the system, he would be immediately "eliminated" - as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Boris Berezovsky experienced in Russia.
What we have in Russia today is not "democracy," but rather Cartel-Captitalism or state-capitalism. In the U.S. and Western Europe today we have a somewhat softer, less distinguishable form of Socialism called Crony-Capitalism in which certain wealthy corporate leaders support "Progressive" (Leftist, Socialist) causes in exchange for huge government contracts and favors. The "Occupy Wall Street" protesters are upset about corporations that have way too much power, and the "Tea Party" people are upset about government that has way too much power, but neither side seems to understand the reality that large corporations lobby for the government to have more power and in return the government enacts laws and regulations favorable to those same large corporations. This is Crony-Capitalism.
None of these are true free-market economies in which freedom of religious expression and small businesses can thrive. Very often, Socialism, Crony- and Cartel-Captitalism exalt the state to an absolute authority over most or all areas of public life. They attempt to control the news media, education, religion, health care, local police and the military. Frequently, the revolutions don't come by a sudden, violent overthrow of the existing order, but rather by an incremental, stealthy takeover of the news media, education, religion, health care, local police and the military by weeding out people who oppose the "party line" and installing compliant people who will say and do anything for a paycheck or for a little piece of power and prestige.
Most secularized, gullible Americans have no problem with "Progressive" politics and social policies. They're willing to "just go with the flow" and enjoy the immediate gratification of "free sex and welfare checks." But conservative, traditional Christians who know their stuff see the state's grasping for power in all areas of public life as a form of pagan idolatry, and old-fashioned pagan idolatry often included sexual immorality (temple prostitution) with its religious ceremonies to lure people in and then entrap them by sexual addiction.
CONTINUE READING in our Hosken-News Blog, and write your COMMENTS there!
Please remember to pray for Christians in the former Soviet bloc countries, and for...
Bob & Cheryl
p.s. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. - George Washington