The Untold Story in Crimea: Christians Accused of Dissension and Hatred

PHILADELPHIA—  The American Pastors’ Network (APN, www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net) has received firsthand information from an APN pastor who is on the ground in the Ukraine, reporting that as the crisis in the Ukraine intensifies, freedom-loving Ukrainians and Christians generally are being accused by Russian officials of instigating Russian hatred throughout Ukraine as a pretense for Russian retaliation.

The unreported facts, as communicated by APN’s Pastor Dale Armstrong and further confirmed by a high-ranking bishop and pastor in Ukraine, have also revealed that in some areas in Crimea, those holding Ukrainian passports –as a way of showing compliance – have offered them up to the Federal Security Bureau (FSB, which replaced the KGB) in exchange for Russian passports, only to be given Russian passports with Siberian addresses.

Additionally, some Christian churches and pastors have experienced other forms of persecution reminiscent of earlier days, with church property and bank accounts being seized by the Russian government and pastors being ordered to turn over church membership lists. Beyond that, there are at least 20 confirmed cases of young girls from Evangelical churches being raped by the Russian military. Many more are believed to have been victimized but have not come forward due to fear of other reprisals.

Yet, in spite of these actions, pastors across Ukraine are increasingly standing up for freedom and raising their voices against tyranny and providing the only voices of reason and moral certainty in a time of misinformation and propaganda.

“The Putin regime and the FSB are increasingly seeking to eliminate any voices that oppose the Russian takeover of Crimea. As in the case of totalitarian regimes, those who love freedom – pastors and Christians who believe that government is to be a servant under God – are often the first to be targeted for persecution and harassment, and we believe the pastors and Christians in America need to be aware,” said APN President Sam Rohrer. “This is the underreported story from the Ukraine, and it has far-reaching implications for freedom, both in the Ukraine and around the world. It is clear from our source on the ground that pastors, Christians, and any who oppose Russian tyranny recognize this critical time as a challenge to liberty itself. Led – in part – by pastors, individuals across Ukraine  are committing themselves to the cause of freedom and are literally risking their lives, viewing these times in their nation to be like that of our American patriots in 1776.”

 According to APN’s in-country source, other disconcerting actions have included selective deportations, which began over the last couple of weeks from at least two Crimean cities. As the tension increases in this nation and the Russian military seems to be readying itself for invasion, the people of Ukraine are preparing themselves the best they can.

“From harassment to property confiscation to rapes and deportations, the plight of Christians – and all the people in the Ukraine – demands our attention,” Rohrer said. “The lesson for all Christians, pastors, and lovers of freedom – regardless of whether they are in Ukraine or in the United States – is that when confronted by tyranny and oppression, the Truth of God’s Word and His absolute standards must be told and lifted up even if persecution and reprisals result.  Our concern for our Christian brothers and sisters is that the world knows what is unfolding in Crimea and beyond. And that like our Founders and Founding pastors, we urge pastors with great courage and confidence to lead the way for all who love freedom by resisting tyranny and lifting up the Truth of Scripture as the only foundation for spiritual and civic freedom – before freedom is lost and tyranny reigns.”   

The American Pastors’ Network has a mission to identify, encourage, equip, educate and network pastors and church members to “Stand in the Gap for Truth” across the nation while providing Bible-based and constitutionally consistent analysis and recommendations on matters of public policy.

APN is the largest, national network of pastors who believe in the authority of scripture, who boldly preach the whole counsel of God with a disciplined application of a biblical worldview to public policy and who are building a permanent infrastructure of biblically faithful pastors and lay leaders and mobilizing congregations to participate in the political process.

The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a group of biblically faithful clergy and church liaisons whose objective is to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded clergy who affirm the authority of Scripture, take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues, examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in our political process on a non-partisan basis.

For more information on American Pastors’ Network, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net. For more information on Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network, visit www.PAPastors.net or call 610-584-1225.