2018-12-12 14:14:00

Russian Orthodox Church urges U.S. to change approach toward assessing religious freedom

Moscow, December 12, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate believes the U.S. Department of State's approach toward the assessment of religious freedoms in other countries requires revision, as it is inconsistent with what people, including people in the U.S., feel about the matter.

"It's well known that the American administration has been assessing religious freedoms in particular countries for decades by judging how comfortable various cults and quasi-religious organizations feel there. For our part, we expect the Republican administration, which has often declared its support for such traditional values as the restriction and prohibition of abortions, to radically change this approach," Vakhtang Kipshidze, the deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for the Church, Society and Media Relations told Interfax on Wednesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the U.S. had placed Russia on the Special Watch List with regard to the way religious freedom is observed there.

Kipshidze said that Pompeo should pay attention to the flaws in the way religious freedom is observed in his own country.

"As far as we know, many conservative Americans also expect their authorities to recognize and protect their right to live in line with traditional values, but, unfortunately, this is not the case so far, and we are aware of at least several instances of American Christians coming to Russia after getting tired of some false ideas that are imposed on them - for instance, that of the equality of marriage and same-sex unions," Kipshidze said.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia received a request this past fall to facilitate migration from the U.S. to Russia of Christians who feel that the U.S. is unable to protect their rights and beliefs, he said.