The Corner

World

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Russia, and Us

Alexander Kalistratov, the leader of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation, leaves a court building in the Siberian town of Gorno-Altaysk, December 16, 2010. (Alexandr Tyryshkin/Reuters)

“OSCE” stands for “Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.” (That hyphen is a little strange, but it used to be standard in English, and it persists in some cases.) The United States has a mission to the OSCE. I think Americans can be proud of our people there.

Last Thursday, our chargé d’affaires, Michele Siders, said this:

The United States remains appalled by the Russian government’s decision in July 2017 to ban the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a peaceful religious group, as “extremist.” On May 3, a St. Petersburg court upheld the confiscation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ headquarters on the basis that the religious group has been banned as “extremist.” In a move that harkens back to Stalin’s Soviet Union, the Russian government will seize the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ property.

For the full statement, go here.

That statement ends,

. . . we renew our call on Russia to immediately release all those imprisoned simply for exercising their freedom of religion or belief. According to Memorial [the leading rights organization in Russia] there were 103 prisoners of conscience in the Russian Federation. We urge Russia to release prisoners of conscience unfairly held in pre-trial detention and drop any ongoing criminal investigations into their activities. We call on Russia to halt the seizure of the Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters property, and abide by its international obligations and OSCE commitments to respect freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief for all.

Is the United States a “normal” or an “exceptional” country? This is an ongoing debate, but, apparently, our mission at the OSCE is determined to stand for something (and something good).

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Hillary Ruins the Plan

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the first in a series of excerpts.  There really was a collusion plot. It really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for ... Read More
Religion

Another Pop-Culture Christian Loses His Faith

It’s happened again. For the second time in three weeks, a prominent (at least in Evangelical circles) Christian has renounced his faith. In July, it was Josh Harris, a pastor and author of the mega-best-selling purity-culture book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This month, it’s Hillsong United songwriter and ... Read More
Culture

Max Boot’s Dishonesty

Before yesterday, my primary criticism of the Washington Post’s Max Boot was political in nature. As I wrote in a recent book review, I found it regrettable that Boot’s opposition to the president had not prevented him from “succumbing reactively to Trump’s cult of personality, or from making Trump the ... Read More
Elections

A Brief History of Election Meddling

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the second in a series of excerpts. ‘The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Thus spoke President Barack Obama just a couple of weeks before ... Read More
World

The End of Hong Kong as We Know It

The protests in Hong Kong have been going on for more than four months now, and no matter how the current crisis concludes in the coming days or weeks, it will mark the end of Hong Kong as we know it. The protests started in response to an extradition bill that was proposed by the city’s Beijing-backed ... Read More