Catholics in Belarus… the annual Pilgrimage of Our Lady of Budslav… they have freedom of religion… any questions?
On Wednesday, The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) dismissed the allegations made by the Religious Freedom Report published by the US State Department about Belarus as outdated and failing to take into account the current situation in the country. Maria Vanshina, deputy head of the MID Information Department, said in an English-language statement, “As for the State Department’s report, it’s permeated with trite phrases and the usual abstract rubber stamps, which the authors of the report rewrite every year, without even taking the trouble of doing reality checks. For the Belarusian side, the report is of little interest, being an internal State Department document submitted to Congress”.
In its latest report on religious freedoms worldwide, published on Monday, the US State Department described Belarus as a country where “laws and policies restrict religious freedom”, despite the fact that this is enshrined in the constitution. The report claimed, “The law restricts the ability of religious organisations to provide religious education and to freely import and distribute religious literature”. Vanshina noted, “The Republic of Belarus, regardless of such reports, strictly adheres both to its international obligations on the protection of religious freedoms and to its domestic law. A clear demonstration of that is Belarus’s report on the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination which reflects the real situation with the protection of religious rights and liberties and contains concrete measures taken by the Government of Belarus in this area”.
The annual Religious Freedom Report purports to detail the status of religious freedom in 195 countries throughout the world. The US State Department presents it to the US Congress under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
22 May 2013
The US government has no warrant to publish such a document, as its authority and jurisdiction doesn’t extend beyond the US borders, full stop. Now, if another country were to publish a document giving the details of American-owned sweatshops throughout the world (one wonders if SVS and St T‘s own stocks in such enterprises… if so, for shame!), well, that would have the Americans (especially, the smug and smarmy Evangelical, Mormon, and Pentecostalist phonies) in high dudgeon. “How dare they! It’s all for their benefit! They voluntarily signed contracts!” I find it amusing that those who point fingers at others about “freedom” are vicious and greedy slave-drivers of the worst-possible sort, who wax rich in their McMansions on the sweated labour of Third World workers. They haven’t changed since the time of Dr Johnson, who observed, “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” American Anglo-Saxons were soulless exploiters then… they’re soulless exploiters now. After all, their true motto isn’t “In God we trust”… it’s “pecunia non olet… money doesn’t stink”. I’m NOT the only person to have noticed that…