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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Religion law opposed

A Roman Catholic Church leader in Kazakhstan, Bishop Theophilus Howaniec, urged rejection of a draft law that he said would re-impose Soviet-style controls over churches and violate the country's international commitments to freedom of religion.

The draft law would ban unregistered religious activities, restrict religious literature and require government permission for "missionary activity."

Kazakhstan's population is 70 percent Muslim, 20 percent Russian Orthodox and 1 percent Roman Catholic.

Critics say two-thirds of the country's 4,500 religious communities would be forced to disband and particularly hurt smaller Protestant churches such as Lutherans.


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December issue

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