Russian Parliamentary Committee Approves Revised Religion Bill
A revised version of July's religious freedom law has been approved by the committee on religion of Russia's parliament, the Duma, Keston News Service reports. The bill was approved in a short meeting held yesterday afternoon; only two members of the committee dissented. The July bill, which President Boris Yeltsin declined to sign, included a controversial provision which restricted the rights of non-centralized religious organizations unless they had been officially registered for fifteen years. Keston reports that the revised bill would retain that provision, and that the revision is opposed by the Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, and Adventist churches.
Galina Starovoitova, one of the committee members who opposed the bill, told Keston that the Duma could vote on the bill as early as Friday, September 19. She said that it was likely to pass with little debate. The bill is supported by the Russian Orthodox Church as a way to stop aggressive foreign evangelizing.
©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson