By Editorial Staff
Published April 1, 1988
DE BURGHT, Holland – A direct request was made to Soviet authorities for the release of Soviet Christians imprisoned for their faith at the first international consultation of “Human Rights and International Cooperation” in January, attended by unofficial representatives of thirteen countries, including the Soviet Union and the United States. Delegates included former First Lady Rosalyn Carter, a number of congressmen, and various religious leaders.
The Soviet delegation agreed to examine a list of 250 known religious prisoners convicted under laws of “religious activity” presented by U.S. Congressmen Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ). The list was accepted by Soviet delegate Yuri Smirnov, a member of the Council on Religious Affairs and the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers, but Western delegates were reminded that the Soviets hold a different view on the religious prisoners issue. “Many prisoners on your list are criminals who are also religious people trying to find a defense on religious grounds,” said Fedor Burlatsky, chairman of the recently formed Soviet Commission on Humanitarian Problems and Human Rights and expert advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev during the Geneva, Reykjavik, and Washington summits.
Though the three-day meeting was cordial and non-confrontive, Western delegates continued to press the Soviets for action regarding religious prisoners. In the final hours of the De Burght consultation, Western delegates proposed that the final communique on the conference include a statement indicating the West’s desire to see a complete amnesty for religious prisoners on the occasion of the millennial celebration. The motion was followed by heated debate on both sides and was finally withdrawn by the U.S. delegates upon assurance by the Soviet delegation that the issue would be discussed in Moscow immediately following their return and a report on the status of each prisoner would be released soon.
The cause of religious prisoners in the Soviet Union and the basic right to worship without government control or intervention were major issues of concern to the delegates present at the consultation.
Although the dialogue between the East and West was intended to find areas of mutual understanding on a broad range of human rights-related issues, including terrorism, unemployment, and environmental problems, it was the issue of religious freedom as a basis for all human rights that clearly divided the West from the East, according to an Open Doors News Service report.
Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter, a member of the U.S. delegation and keynote speaker, said, “[Religious freedom] is an elementary right which no government can violate.” This elicited a charged response from Fedor Burlatsky, a Soviet advisor, who cited “civil and political rights” without which “each individual cannot hope for improved working conditions and [there can be] no betterment of human economic standards.” He accused the American government of focusing too much on individual rights related to social problems and said, “Americans will not take up the burden for millions of unemployed individuals.”
Burlatsky’s failure to make any mention of religious rights in his speech was cited by several Western delegates, including Lutheran clergyman Richard Neuhaus, who commented that without the presence of religious rights a government cannot expect to have long-term survival. “We must not speak of every human problem as a human rights problem,” he said, quoting excerpts from Carter’s speech. “The problems of homelessness are not human rights problems.”
At a press conference following the conclusion of the De Burght consultation, Andrei Grachev, section leader of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, said,“Rather than declaring an amnesty for 18 or 200 individuals,” the intention of the Soviet authorities was that in the future “no innocent person, in the East or West, would be persecuted for his beliefs, including religious beliefs.”
Burlatsky said in his final remarks to journalists that the conference was a “manifestation of the triumph of the spirit of constructiveness, the spirit of searching for mutually acceptable solutions and the spirit of concessions, … We listened attentively to expressions … on the problem of human rights addressed to the Soviet Union on the part of Western countries and the United States.” He described the conference as a commission which consisted of “enthusiasts who would like to work … for the deepening of glasnost in the Soviet Union and for consistent implementation of human rights in the Soviet Union.”
Members of the Western delegation expressed more restraint in their evaluation on the conference. Congressman Chris Smith said he was encouraged by the “one-on-one contact with key players” of the Soviet delegation over the three-day period. “I believe we had moments of real dialogue [with the Soviets]; it wasn’t just an exercise in rhetoric. Expectations are that something good will come out of it.”
The De Burght consultation, organized by Dutch businessman, Ernst van Eeghen, and Landrum Bolling, president of the Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, was also sponsored by several European evangelical mission groups, including Open Doors International and Christian Solidarity, which are noted for their work on behalf of Christians in the Soviet Union and other restricted countries.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Russia, Ukraine and former USSR
Your comments are welcome!
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“…a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)