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The Church of God in Vorkuta declares: “We do not want to be told what to believe or how to pray.”

6 June 2009

“We do not want to be told what to believe or how to pray.”  This declaration was made in a petition directed to the Russia-wide Perpetual Action “No to Inquisitors!” against the presence of radical sectologists in the Council over the Conduction of State Theological Expertise under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation by Maksim Potapov, pastor of the Society of Christians of the Evangelical Faith of the “Church of God” of the city of Vorkuta of the Republic of Komi.

The letter of Pastor Maksim Potapov reads as follow states:

“The Local Religious Organization
“The Church of God”

The Republic of Komi

City Vorkuta

To the Institute of Religion and Justice
Slavic Center for Law and Justice

Greetings!

Salutations from the Church of God of the City of Vorkuta, Republic of Komi and its pastor, Maksim Potapov.

We have been watching with anxiety how the understanding of secular government in Russia is disappearing.  In this government, every person is given the right to choose that faith which answers his/her spiritual needs.  We cannot understand why such a direct infringement of the constitution of our country is happening, why people who are unqualified with regard to these questions or negatively biased toward one or another confession are beginning to receive authority in a free, and, as written in the chief law of our country –“SECULAR” – government, and dictate their own laws and their own opinions.  We do not want to be told what to believe or how to pray.

And, therefore, we hereby support the Action “No to inquisitors!” by our own voices (see enclosed).

With respect,
Pastor of the Church of God, Maksim Potapov.”
"Included in the letter were 29 signatures of members who have come out in support of the Action “No to Inquisitors!” and of the preservation of secular government in Russia, on two subscription sheets.

On April 22, 2009, a Russia-wide Perpetual Action – “No to Inquisitors!” – was started in protest against the presence of radical “sectologists” in the new membership of the Council of Conduction of Government Theological Expertise under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.  The Action is being conducted under the initiative of the Institute of Religion and Justice.  The foundation of the Action has been the collection of signatures for an Open Petition to Aleksandr Konovalov, Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation.  Copies will also be sent to the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedyev, and to Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin.

We invite both scholarly and religious societies from all countries as well as public figures, lawyers and activists to contribute to and participate in this Action.  Your voices and opinions will be published on our web site.  An open petition to Aleksandr Konovalov, Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, is necessary and can be directly sent from both religious organizations and scholarly centers, as well as ordinary citizens of Russia who do not agree with their activities being judged by “inquisitors” such as Dvorkin and his colleagues.  Furthermore, the membership of the Council under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation has already been used and will continue to be used by “sectologists” to influence officials and law-enforcement agencies and to spread propaganda of their own “anti-sect” demands – on unjust grounds to limit the activity of “non-traditional” religious organizations in Russia.

The Action “No to Inquisitors!” is an opportunity to openly and clearly declare your own protest against the “inquisitors’” efforts to forcefully save our souls, without regard for our wishes and against the discredit of secular science, even theological expert evaluations, and also to protest against the clericalization of society and the destruction of the foundations of a just and secular government in Russia. 

By order of the Ministry if Justice of Russia on March 3, 2009, No. 61, a Council of Conduction of Government Theological Expertise under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation was to be created; and that Council would have authority to counsel concerning religious affairs.  Included in the council membership along with recognized scholars and experts were the following: Aleksandr Dvorkin, leader of the Sectological Center of Saint Iriney Lionsky; Aleksandr Kuz’min, leader of the Saratov Department of Dvorkin’s Sectological Center, author of material on which is based anti-sect which has been admitted as extremist by a court; Evgeny Mukhtarov, a Yaroslavl’ journalist-sectologist; Lev Semyonov, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church, collaborator with Dvorkin’s Center, and also Andrey Vasil’chenko, a Yaroslavl’ sectologist and  specialist on German fascism, author of an entire series of popular books on the history of the Third Reich and one of the founders of an organization of nationalistic doctrine, “The League of Patriotic Youth,” along with Evgeny Mukhatorov in the 1990’s.

The Social Action “No to Inquisitors!” will be maintained until the scholars, lawyers, and religious people achieve their goal.  Support the Open Petition to Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, A. V. Konovalov, to show that Russia is made up of a civil society.

 

 
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