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Matthew 22: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

For those who missed it, in Tsarist-Fascist style, Putin is using religion for social control. Russia was doing imperialism before the US existed. They’ve had secret police and run “active measures” disinformation campaigns for over 100 years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okhrana As a KGB officer in Germany, Putin worked with the Stasi (which included old Nazis), and would have benefitted from over 150 years of German and Austrian secret police experience: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_Secret_Police

Memorial plaque at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
2011 CC-BY-SA-3.0
: http://www.wyrdlight.com Author: Antony McCallum

Putin’s apparent preferred religions are Russian Orthodox for Christians and Chabad for Jews. The Trumps have multigenerational ties to Chabad. Whether Putin plans to put Muslims under Erdogan’s Turkish caliphate (in the making), under Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, or what, remains an unknown. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramzan_Kadyrov

Most Americans and French love their freedoms, including the freedom of religion-separation of church and state. So, the US needs to hurry up already and impeach Trump, and the French need to learn from America’s gross mistake of electing Trump, and hold their noses and vote for Macron. Russia closed First Czech Russian bank and called back the $9 million loan to Marine Le Pen-FN. Her father’s connections to Orthodox Russian extremists goes back a couple of decades, at least.

Holocaust Memorial, Boston Mass, Public Domain via Wikipedia
Niemöller created multiple versions of the text during his career. The earliest speeches, written in 1946, list the Communists, incurable patients, Jews or Jehovah’s Witnesses, and civilians in countries occupied by Nazi Germany. In all versions, the impact is carefully built up, by going from the “smallest, most distant” group to the largest, Jewish, group, …. and then finally to himself as a by then outspoken critic of Nazism. Niemöller made the cardinal “who cares about them” clear in his speech for the Confessing Church in Frankfurt on 6 January 1946, of which this is a partial translation: “When Pastor Niemöller was put in a concentration camp we wrote the year 1937; when the concentration camp was opened we wrote the year 1933, and the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? We knew it, it was printed in the newspapers.
 Who raised their voice, maybe the Confessing Church? We thought: Communists, those opponents of religion, those enemies of Christians – “should I be my brother’s keeper?” Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. – I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: Perhaps it’s right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others. Isn’t it best for all concerned if they are taken out of the middle [of society]? — Only then did the church as such take note. Then we started talking, until our voices were again silenced in public. Can we say, we aren’t guilty/responsible? The persecution of the Jews, the way we treated the occupied countries, or the things in Greece, in Poland, in Czechoslovakia or in Holland, that were written in the newspapers
I believe, we Confessing-Church-Christians have every reason to say: mea culpa, mea culpa! We can talk ourselves out of it with the excuse that it would have cost me my head if I had spoken out.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_…

Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered religious persecution in Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945 after refusing to perform military service, join Nazi organizations or give allegiance to the Hitler regime. An estimated 10,000 Witnesses—half of the number of members in Germany during that period—were imprisoned, including 2000 who were sent to Nazi concentration camps. An estimated 1200 died in custody, including 250 who were executed. They were the first Christian denomination banned by the Nazi government and the most extensively and intensively persecuted.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jehovah%27s_Witnesses_in_Nazi_Germany

Unlike Jews and Romani who were persecuted on the basis of their ethnicity, Jehovah’s Witnesses could escape persecution and personal harm by renouncing their religious beliefs by signing a document indicating renouncement of their faith, submission to state authority, and support of the German military. Historian Sybil Milton concludes that “their courage and defiance in the face of torture and death punctures the myth of a monolithic Nazi state ruling over docile and submissive subjects.” The group came under increasing public and governmental persecution from 1933, with many expelled from jobs and schools, deprived of income and suffering beatings and imprisonment, despite early attempts to demonstrate shared goals with the National Socialist regime. Historians are divided over whether the Nazis intended to exterminate them, but several authors have claimed the Witnesses’ outspoken condemnation of the Nazis contributed to their level of suffering.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jehovah%27s_Witnesses_in_Nazi_Germany

Jehovah’s Witnesses did not have a significant presence in the Soviet Union prior to 1939 when the Soviet Union forcibly incorporated eastern Poland, Moldavia, and Lithuania, each of which had a Jehovah’s Witness movement. Although never large in number (estimated by the KGB to be 20,000 in 1968), the Jehovah’s Witnesses became one of the most persecuted religious groups in the Soviet Union during the post-World War II era. Members were arrested or deported; some were put in Soviet concentration camps. Witnesses in Moldavian SSR were deported to Tomsk Oblast; members from other regions of the Soviet Union were deported to Irkutsk Oblast. KGB officials, who were tasked with dissolving the Jehovah’s Witness movement, were disturbed to discover that the Witnesses continued to practice their faith even within the labor camps.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jehovah%27s_Witnesses#Soviet_Union

From RFERL: http://www.rferl.org/a/russia-jehovahs-witnesses-extremists-supreme-court-ruling/28453497.html
[Original has photos.]
Branded Extremists, Russia’s Jehovah’s Witnesses Preach The Constitution April 26, 2017 15:38 UTC, by Tom Balmforth

MOSCOW — Quaintly decked out in their finest, some in bow ties and the older among them grasping canes, the Jehovah’s Witnesses slowly trickle in to a modest temple in northwest Moscow for their first service as “extremists.”

Just two days earlier, on April 20, the Supreme Court had declared the Christian denomination an extremist organization and ordered its property in Russia seized, effectively banning Jehovah’s Witnesses from the country once the ruling enters force.

Nevertheless, on this day services continue as normal at Moscow’s Kingdom Hall — albeit with ramped-up security measures. Referring to legal provisions that enshrine the right to “freely choose, possess, and disseminate religious and other views,” the minister tells the congregation to loud applause that “Article 28 of Russia’s constitution still allows us to continue worshipping Jehovah and sharing our personal convictions with others.”

Seated in rows, the flock sings and reads from smartphones and tablets instead of hymnals or service bulletins; shipments of Bibles used by Jehovah’s Witnesses have been intercepted at the Russian border by customs since 2015. In any case, organizers do not hand out literature so as not to violate tightening laws against missionizing.

Worshippers such as Yevgeny Kondautov, 45, say these closed-door meetings remain legal because the ruling has not yet entered into full force and the appeals process is under way. But he said the community is on edge and that the ruling has sent a message to society and police that members of his community are extremists.

He says that a day earlier assailants threw stones at their headquarters in St. Petersburg, smashing windows.

“We called the police, but they didn’t come,” Kondautov says. “They think, ‘They’re extremists, so that’s what they have coming to them.'”

He also believes that police could burst through the door at any moment. Several Kingdom Halls across the country have reportedly been raided in recent months. On April 14, for example, state TV showed armed National Guardsmen in combat gear storming a Kingdom Hall in Chelyabinsk:

“The congregation expects difficulties of some kind. Unfortunately, we have a lot of experience in this,” says Kondautov, whose grandfather-in-law, a Jehovah’s Witness, was sent to the labor camps under Josef Stalin for proselytizing.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses had a small — and persecuted — following in the Soviet Union. After their activities were legalized after the Soviet breakup, its number of active members rose to more than 170,000.

The Kingdom Hall attended by Kondautov is the biggest in Moscow and has been rented by Jehovah’s Witnesses for about 20 years. It has five different halls shared by worshippers divided into congregations by Moscow region. There are also services conducted in foreign languages and one in sign language for a small deaf congregation.

After the incident in St. Petersburg, Kondautov says, they have stopped using their main hall because it is on the ground floor and they fear stones could be thrown at the windows.

Other security precautions have long since become routine. Every time they open up the hall, worshippers conduct a sweep of the premises to make sure no extremist literature has been planted. They allege that law enforcement officers plant banned books in order to “find” them during raids, establishing a pretext for the group to be banned.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have long been viewed with suspicion in Russia for their positions on military service, voting, and government authority in general. They are often portrayed on state TV as a pernicious sect linked to the United States that destroys families and threatens lives through their stance on blood transfusions.

The extremism lawsuit sought to ban the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ head administrative center on the grounds that its local branches had been caught with extremist literature. The Jehovah’s Witnesses contended in court that these items had been planted and that they had also taken measures to stop extremist literature from being brought onto their premises.

Mikhail Vanichev, 43, a salesman for a legal company, worries that the Kingdom Hall in Moscow could be seized by authorities.
“We hope that won’t happen,” he says, noting that the building is not their property and thus cannot technically be confiscated in line with the court ruling. “This building does not belong to the Administrative Center [of the Jehovah’s Witnesses]. But we don’t know what could happen.”

Vanichev explains that, in theory, the landlord could come under pressure to stop renting the property.

“There have been cases when we were renting a building and have made an advance payment and signed a contract, and pressure was put on the landlord and he has pulled out,” he says.

Worshippers said they were shocked by the ruling and have placed their hopes on appeals.

“Of course, I’m worried about my life,” says Sofia Nasonova, 24. “I’ve never done anything bad to anyone. I was a good girl at school. I was an honor student. The idea of me breaking the law is really surprising to me, that they want to ban us.”

Her husband, 44-year-old Aleksei Nasonov, says: “We’re going to hope that justice will triumph. We aren’t breaking any laws. The law of freedom of conscience allows us to proselytize.”

The situation is unpleasant, says Nasonov, who does renovation work and describes himself as a former alcoholic, but not unexpected.

“As it is said in the Holy Scriptures, Jesus was persecuted and his followers will be persecuted,” Nasonov says. “So, in principle, we were prepared for this. It’s unfortunate that this has happened.”

After the service, the next congregation was soon assembling outside Hall No. 4. A smartly dressed elderly woman approaches Kondaudov and Vanichev talking outside.

“Sorry to interrupt. I’ve been following the news and I got a bit scared. How are we supposed to act now? It’s not nice,” she says.

“The only thing left is to smile, so as not to cry,” Kondautov replies, laughing softly.
“Ah, I get it,” she says. “And to open our arms in bewilderment.”

“Yes, that will do as well,” Kondautov concludes.” Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

Photos via: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jehovah%27s_Witnesses_in_Nazi_Germany
And https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_…