dlaycock at MAIL.LAW.UTEXAS.EDU
Mon Jun 23 17:51:47 PDT 1997
Cole Durham at Brigham Young could tell us much more about the
pending Russian law; perhaps Eugene could tell us more. My knowledge is
very limited, based on only one trip to Moscow, and that now four years ago.
For what it is worth . . .
There was a widespread sense that the western evangelists were
engaged in cultural imperialism, that they came in with seemingly unlimited
funds and fancy media equipment, while the Orthodox Church, the "true"
Russian church, struggled in poverty, without enough churches for its
reduced members, to recover from years of suppression. As an American
lawyer who is Russian Orthodox put it to me, the Church is missing
60,000,000 souls who would be here and be in the Church but for persecution
(an obviously untestable counterfactual, but it is missing some number), and
in his view it is entitled to some sort of special treatment -- something
like affirmative action -- before it has to complete with the rich
Americans. Cultural identity, past establishment, and past persecution are
all mixed here, and of course the Russian solution is wildly inconsistent
with American understandings of religious liberty. But the broad support
for this law in the Duma is not just coming from unreconstructed party members.
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