Wednesday, July 23, 2008


It's here, just so's ya know. But you knew that already.

Kazakhstan weighs new religion restrictions

Posted on Jul 22, 2008 by Staff

WASHINGTON (BP)--Kazakhstan, which already places burdens on religious organizations, will substantially increase restrictions on expressions of faith if new legislation becomes law, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

On the face of it, this would make me happy. It doesn't, for two reasons.
First, when you tell people they can't worship in this way or that way, followers have a nasty tendency to get tenacious about it. Here's a parallel that will make Baptists squirm: My brother (gay), once said, "I never wanted to get married, until they told me I couldn't."
He's getting married next year.
The second reason is simple human rights. You want to go to church? Go crazy. You want to worship Baal? Have fun with that. Speak in tongues? Not my thing, but neither is death metal. Knock yourself out. Handle snakes? I suggest you don't, but I won't try to stop you. Build a church? Here's a hammer. Just give it back. I don't get it, but people have every right to believe whatever nonsense they want, they can worship whatever they want, and they can give their money away if it makes them happy. Religion is foolish, but it's not like there oughta be a law. You know?

The former member of the Soviet bloc already requires religious groups to register with the government. Under current law, unregistered groups have to pay fines and supposedly "non-traditional" religious bodies are prohibited from registering or have their registration applications significantly delayed, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reported.The new measure, according to USCIRF, would:

-- increase the number of members a religious group must have to register from 10 to 50.

-- prohibit smaller religious bodies from teaching or professing their faith, owning property or renting public buildings.

-- prohibit gifts from anonymous or foreign donors.

"The religion bill threatens Kazakhstan's international obligations as a nation to safeguard religious freedom and non-discrimination," USCIRF Chair Felice Gaer said in a written release. "Kazakhstan appears to be following the lead of other former Soviet republics that are narrowing the space for religious freedom rather than bolstering protections for it."

This is stupid. It's pointless, and it won't work.

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