There has been considerable controversy in the US Corporate Media concerning some recent Russian laws which supposedly curtail religious freedom. These laws were enacted as part of a Counter-Terrorism Bill---aimed principally at Wahhabi Madrassas and religious cults---has been interpreted as a crackdown on Christianity.
The new Russian laws prohibit public proselytizing, and require religious organizations to register with the government: laws which are also in effect in other countries considered free. Greece, for example (a member of the EU and NATO) has similar laws. Austria has regulations requiring registration. Countries which have established religions try to encourage a particular faith---and Russia has no restrictions on the Russian Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church has a permanent representative on the presidential advisory committee, and works with the Russian government in distributing international humanitarian aid.
"The restrictions will target groups considered extremist which often means something different in Russia than in the US" said a source for the Catholic News Agency, "For example, Jehovah's Witnesses would not be considered extreme in the sense of a terrorism risk in the US, but in Russia the tradition of conscientious objection to military service by the group is seen as unjust and extreme. The laws could also impact certain groups of Mormons and radical Moslems."
The Russian Government recently suppressed the Scientology Cult. A number of key US Media figures are members of this cult (Moonies, Wahhabis, and other cults are also well-represented in the Media); hence they naturally oppose the Russian law.
"While the new laws certainly favor the Russian Orthodox Church, it is gross hyperbole for some media outlets to compare these new laws to religious oppression in the Soviet Union." the CNA source reported.
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has been among the loudest spouting this type of hyperbole; even comparing President Putin to Joseph Stalin. When we examine the list of Sasse's major campaign donors the context of these remarks become clear. Two of his largest donors are the DCI Group and the McKinsey Company; both NGOs who were involved in schemes to undermine the Russian oil industry. Sasse is also heavily funded by the Senate Conservatives Funds, which openly finances anti-Russian candidates. So much for Sasse's credibility on this issue.
Americans concerned about religious freedom should note that no Russian businesses have ever been closed for denying services to homosexuals; nor has any Russian official been jailed for refusing to legitimatize homosexual 'marriage'. It is not illegal in Russia for parents to seek religious counseling for sexually confused minors; and Russians are free to display religious symbols in private businesses. Russian military chaplains aren't forbidden to quote the Bible. So maybe we should worry a little bit more about religious freedom in the US before we worry about Russia.
Vladimir Putin, it should be noted, refused to agree to the Syrian Cease-Fire until Jihadi rebels agreed to release Christian hostages. In contrast, John Kerry blocked Syrian Christians from claiming religious persecution as a grounds for immigration. Putin has also lobbied for Christian rights in countries allied with Russia.
Putin is no persecutor of Christians; he stands tall on the world stage as one of the Church's defenders. Far more so than Obama, Clinton, or Kerry.