Leading evangelist Franklin Graham announced that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will no longer host the “first-of-its-kind” World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Moscow following Russia’s passing of new laws that severely restrict religious liberties.
In March, Graham announced that the international persecution summit was going to be held in Moscow between October 28-30 because “no church in modern history has suffered more than the church in Russia.” Additionally, the conference was to be co-organized by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Last month, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed so-called anti-terrorism bills into law that infringes on the rights of missionaries and evangelists.
Among other things, the measures ban evangelism outside of churches, ban missionary activities in residential neighborhoods and requires Christians to obtain authorization in order to share their faith with others, even on the internet. As a result of these new laws, Churches could face over $15,000 in fines if they are caught in violation.
In response to the laws, the decision has been made to move the World Summit out of Moscow to Washington D.C. The summit will now be held on May 10-13, 2017.
“We were looking forward to this significant event being held in Russia because no one knows modern Christian persecution better than the church that suffered under communist rule,” Graham wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. “However, just a few weeks ago Russia passed a law that severely limits Christians’ freedoms.”
“It seems that every week we learn of another example from a part of the globe that shows how critically we need to have this World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians,” he continued.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post