Friday, September 28, 2007

Prayer for the Church in Bulgaria

I want to pass along to you a notice I received yesterday from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ; http://www.aclj.org/):

"As an important member of the ACLJ, one who is committed to the causes of life and liberty, I knew you would want to be made aware of an incident in the European country of Bulgaria - a dangerous attack on religious freedom, in which churches were raided and church leaders were viciously beaten.

"Our European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) is engaged in this case which represents, to date, the largest religious freedoms damages claim ever argued at the European Court of Human Rights. Although this is a battle being waged on another shore, it is a fight that shares YOUR vision for religious liberty and YOUR hope for all to enjoy the right to worship without discrimination or persecution. We MUST help to protect people of faith on an international scale.

"Let me explain what is happening: In July 2004, 250 Holy Synod churches (part of the Alternative Bulgarian Orthodox Church movement) were raided by Bulgarian authorities without a court warrant. Priests were forcefully removed from their churches and beaten if they resisted arrest. The church raids and priest removals were done as part of a government crackdown on religious freedom. This violent action was condemned by the Helsinki Commission.

"Following this outrageous government action against the Alternative Orthodox Church, the ECLJ and attorney Latchezar Popov brought suit at the European Court of Human Rights (the ''Supreme Court'' of Europe). Since then, the ECLJ and its partnering European attorneys have been vigorously working on the case to be heard in European Court and filing necessary paperwork to ensure its admission.

"We have just received word that the case has, in fact, been admitted. This very involved and heated case is crucial to the protection of religious rights in Europe. The judgment could largely determine the future of critical church freedoms in Bulgaria."

Let's join our brothers & sisters in praying for God's favor in their case, and for the salvation of their prosecutors.

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