European Court of Human Rights to Stop Social Engineering

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

The European Court in Strasbourg has condemned the Russian law which protects children from propaganda by “sexual minorities”. This is not the Court’s first decision, based not on real human rights, but on radical ideologies which destroy the core values of each person and each sovereign people.

Recently, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECHR) adopted a new decision on the complaint of Russian homosexual activists (“Bayev and Others v. Russia”). In it, in fact, the Court declared the Russian law which prohibits the promotion of homosexuality and other non-traditional sexual relations among children, “discriminates” and violates “human rights” (below, you can read the full text of the decision).

The social meaning of the decision of the European Court is obvious – in fact, it claims that the promotion of homosexuality among children and to the general public is a “human right”.

This decision, no doubt, is inspired not by legal logic, but, frankly, by ideology. And, it is an ideology of a radical sort, directed against the family, marriage, traditional moral values of most European nations, and most importantly – against the interests of the children themselves.

Everything that does not agree with this ideology is completely ignored by the Court. And the Court does this not just without justification in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which should completely determine its work, but also in direct contradiction tothis international document and its binding norms.

During the consideration of the case, not only was the position of the Russian Federation presented, but also – as a third party position – the arguments of the Russian NGO, “Family and Demography Foundation” (you can read these arguments in the “For More Information” section, below).

These convincing and sound arguments were ignored or discarded by the Court as non-essential.

The Court ignored the objective facts – that, according to authoritative scientific data, the homosexual lifestyle is associated with a serious danger to physical and mental health. Public promotion of it – especially among children – threatens the health of the population.

The Court also ignored the fact that international legal standards require special legal protection for the family – the “natural and fundamental group unit” – and marriage between a man and a woman, on which it is based. Children have the right to grow and be educated in such a social setting that protects the family and associated moral values, and not in a society where the opposite “values” of so-called “sexual minorities” are openly advocated.

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, in its decisions, has repeatedly stressed: from the Constitution of our country, “… it follows that the family, motherhood and childhood in their traditional understanding, understood from our ancestors’ understanding, represent those values that ensure a continuous change of generations, serve as a condition for the preservation and development of a multinational people of the Russian Federation, and therefore they need special protection from the state “.

The Court ignored the fact that the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle as “normal” contradicts the values of the majority of Russian residents – and, not only representatives of different traditional religions, but also non-believers as well.

All this the European Court ignored and rejected in defiance of the norms of the Convention itself, to which it is obliged to be guided.

After all, Article 10 of the Convention, in which the Court accused the Russian Federation of a “violation”  in its decision, clearly indicates that freedom of expression can be limited to national laws,“in the interests of national security,…for the protection of health and morals,…or the rights of others.”

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, in its recent decision, fairly and reasonably explained that the European Court, in interpreting the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, must rely on generally accepted international norms, and, in particular, on the provisions of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties:

By fixing in Article 26 the fundamental principle of international lawpacta sunt servanda (each treaty in force is binding on its participants and must be executed in good faith by them), the Vienna Convention also establishes a general rule for the interpretation of treaties, which provides that the treaty must be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the usual meaning that should be given to the terms of the treaty in their context, and also in the light of the object and purpose of the treaty(art. 31, para. 1).

Thus, an international treaty is binding for its participants in the sense that can be clarified through the given rule of interpretation. From this point of view, if the European Court of Human Rights, in interpreting the case, or a provision of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, gives the concept used in it something other than its ordinary meaning or interprets it contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention, the State, in respect of which the decision in this case has been delivered, has the right to refuse its execution, as beyond the limits of the obligations voluntarily assumed by this state upon ratification of the Convention.”

Unfortunately, the European Court of Human Rights has, for more than a year now, instead of making substantiated and just decisions (having clear legal grounds), and, instead of protecting the genuine human rights guaranteed by the relevant Convention, very often deals with very different things.

Nowadays, the Court has started to impose a new, groundless understanding of “human rights”, based on false and dangerous radical ideologies. These ideologies are directed against family, marriage, the rights of parents, and human life itself.

At the same time, the Court constantly issues its own self-referencing interpretations of the norms of the Convention, deprived of real legal grounds, for the “emerging European consensus” in the field of human rights. The Court calls this approach “an evolutionary interpretation of the Convention”, but there are no grounds for it in the Convention itself. Moreover, it follows from the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties that this approach is inadmissible.

In reality, the ECHR replaces genuine international norms with its own baseless judgements and opinions which are not based on the text of the Convention.

In recent years, the Court has taken very many such unjust decisions. The current decision, in the case of Bayev and Others v. Russia, is just one of many examples of this kind.

Below, you can read about some of these rulings in a special message from the Russian Family and Demographic Foundation, to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, as well as a report by Paul Coleman, a legal expert from the international organisation “Alliance Defending Freedom”.

It is enough to list only some of the recent examples of judicial activism at the ECHR:

  • In the case of Koch v. Germany, the Court, in fact, included in the “right to privacy” the possibility of euthanasia (suicide with the help of doctors). At the same time, the Court came into conflict with their own legal precedents in other decisions!
  • In the case of Goodwin v. The United Kingdom, the Court stated that it is no longer “convinced” that, in our time, it is still possible to proceed from the assumption that the words “man” and “woman” should “denote the definition of gender on the basis of purely biological criteria”. In other words, the Court declared that gender today is no longer determined by sex – supporting a gender-based ideology, devoid of any scientific basis.
  • In the case of Schalk and Kopf v. Austria, the Court stated that there was “an emerging European consensus in favor of the legitimate recognition of same-sex marriages.” And, in the case of Vallianatos and Others v. Greece, the Court held that Greece “violated the rights” of same-sex couples by not allowing them to register “civil unions”. The fact is that the Greek law allows such unions to be concluded as an alternative to marriage, but only of different sexes. But, the Court stated that the state should recognise “civil union” for same-sex couple, too.
  • And, in fact, in its decision on Paradiso and Campanelli v. Italy, several years ago, the Court tried, not only to force states to recognise surrogate motherhood (which is banned in many countries), but, also, to “legalise” the trafficking in children.

By acting in this way, the European Court deprives itself of legitimacy and undermines the protection of real human rights.

Here it is appropriate to quote the dissenting opinion of Judge Ziemele of the European Court, commenting on the Court’s decision in Andreeva v. Latvia:

“The Court must not go against the general principles of interpretation established by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and thus act ultra vires. This creates challenges in the field of international law that have a certain novelty, and affects the value of such judgements. The Court should not promote the fragmentation of international law in the name of dubious human rights and should not easily take decisions that could undermine state building, because the protection of human rights still requires the existence of strong and democratic states…”.

Please sign this petition to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg!

Let’s tell the European Court that its approach to interpreting the Convention is not based in real human rights, but in an ideology. By acting in this way, it usurps the rights of sovereign peoples, and these actions undermine the international system for the protection of genuine human rights. By its unjust actions, the Court destroys its own authority and legitimacy.

If this is not immediately stopped, then we will be ready to demand that our governments withdraw from the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms!

The Church of God: A social history

February 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News

4854453The Church of God: A SOCIAL HISTORY
by Mickey Crews

The University of Tennessee Press, KNOXVILLE

Copyright © 1990 by The University of Tennessee Press / Knoxville. All Rights Reserved. Manufactured in the United States of America. First Edition.

The paper in this book meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials.

READ the full text here: https://archive.org/details/churchofgodsociacrew

DOWNLOAD as PDF file here: https://archive.org/download/churchofgodsociacrew/churchofgodsociacrew.pdf

Pacifism as a Social Stand for Holiness among Early Bulgarian Pentecostals

May 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Events, Missions, News

Slide15Historical and Doctrinal Formation of Holiness Teachings and Praxis among Bulgarian Pentecostals (Research presentation prepared for the Society of Pentecostal Studies, Seattle, 2013 – Lakeland, 2015, thesis in partial fulfillment of the degree of D. Phil., Trinity College)

When Pentecostalism began to spread rapidly in Bulgaria in the 1920s, it was viewed hostile as by both Protestant and Orthodox traditions. Not fasting during lent and not sacrificing for the dead, not honoring Mary or the saints was all detrimental in the formation of the identity of Pentecostal churches in Bulgaria. Even insignificant things like not wearing a cross, or not making the sign of the cross and not lighting candles and incense were noticed and severely criticized by the surrounding culture. And of course not drinking alcohol in Bulgaria and the Pentecostal abstinence was met with enormous opposition from other religious groups. Along with that any benevolence, social involvement, spiritual upbringing of minors (including sport actives) was all condemned as harmful protestant propaganda.

But one specific evangelical stand could never be forgiven – the protestant pacifism in the form of conscientious objection against carrying arms. For the newly re-born Balkan state, in a place where war has been ongoing for centuries, to refusal to go to war was essentially to refuse to be a Bulgarian.

The pacifism of Bulgaria’s evangelicals was silent but powerful against both Hitler’s fascism and the militant atheism of the coming Communist Regime. Their deep Christian conviction simply did not allow them to kill, carry a weapon, imprison another human being, swear allegiance to the communist state or take orders from another authority but God. And for their stand, many ministers and believers paid a heavy price. About 40 ministers and members of the Bulgarian Church of God alone were sentenced to hard prison labor for noncompliance with the mandatory military service. Hundreds more known and unknown believers from other evangelical churches followed.

Pentecostalism and Post-Modern Social Transformation

May 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Not by Might nor by Power is a work that provides a significant contribution to the process of developing Pentecostal theology and more specifically its social concern. This book deals extensively with the Latin America Child Care. Its structure is organized around issues concerning South American Pentecostals. This review will first offer a chapter-by-chapter overview of the book, second discuss several of the significant issues of the book, and third will show the book in the current context of ministry.
The book begins by establishing the foundation of Pentecostal faith and experience. The author uses the historical background of Pentecostalism connecting it with the story of the Latin American Pentecostal movement thus establishing the global transformative role of the movement.

Chapter two claims that through global transformation, Pentecostalism becomes a social relevant movement. The author examines this role of the movement within the current Latin American political and social context. A very important point is made about the parallel appearance of the Pentecostalism in different parts of the world, thus making the movement autonomous in each country where it was present. This development was possible only because Pentecostalism in its original North American context emerged among the poor and oppressed denying the authority of the rich and powerful and moving toward social liberation.

Chapters three and four deals with the compatibility of Latin American culture and Pentecostalism and is based on the topics discussed above. This way, chapter three is a paradigm merge between the topics dealt within chapters one and two. The Pentecostal characteristics are predominating in the discussion. Chapter four continues with the Pentecostal relevance to social processes and dynamics in Latin America. In this way of thought, the economical environment of Latin America is the factor that enables Pentecostals to participate in the social transformation. Chapter five brings a case study dealing with the Latin America Child Care. The LACC presents a paradigm for further society involvement, which is presented as the central proving point of the research.

There is a challenge for a better presentation of theology and praxis in chapters six and seven. The book claims the ability of Pentecostals to offer social action alternatives and calls for various forms of social expression which are developed based on coherent doctrinal statements. These include politics, eschatology, triumphalism and other important issues. In relation to the premillennial views of Pentecostalism, Petersen calls external critics to carefully reconsider the claim that Pentecostalism is purely dispensational. The book explains that in its very nature Pentecostalism and its view of the work of the Holy Spirit denies any limitations to the last, and at the same time proclaims the rapture of the church and the imminent return of the Lord. Thus Pentecostalism presents a unique already-not-yet eschatology which has served as a developmental factor of its social concern.

Concerning the relationship between Pentecostal eschatology and political involvement, Petersen critiques the purposeful abstinence of political involvement and viewing of politics as a rather worldly practice. The book urges Pentecostals to view politics as a tool for social involvement and transformation even in regard of the soon return of the Lord. In fact, the research seems to propose that political involvement is part of the eschatological expectation of the church.

Toward Context of Ministry Applications
While Latin America is quite separated from our present context of ministry in Bulgaria, Not by Might nor by Power presents many similarities between both, especially in the problematic issues of Pentecostal theology and praxis. Similarly to the problems in Latin America, in the beginning of the 21st century the Protestant Church in Bulgaria is entering a new constitutional era in the history of the country. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the political and economic challenges in Eastern Europe have strongly affected the Evangelical Churches. More than ever before, they are in need of reformation in doctrines and praxes in order to adjust to a style of worship liberated from the dictatorship of the communist regime. In order to guarantee the religious freedom for our young, democratic society, the Protestant Movement in Bulgaria needs a more dynamic representation. Such can be provided only by people who will create a balance between the old atheistic structures and the new contemporary, nontraditional style of ministry.

Similar is the case among Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in North America which also share analogue dynamics with congregations of Latin American immigrants. Several facts are obvious from such comparison. It is apparent that Bulgarian immigrants come to North America in ways similar as other immigrant groups. Large cities which are gateways for immigrants are probable to become a settlement for Bulgarian immigrants due to the availability of jobs, affordable lodging and other immigrants from the same ethnic group.

The emerging Bulgarian immigrant communities share religious similarities and belongingness which are factors helping to form the communities. As a result of this formation process, the Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in North America emerge. It also seems natural to suggest that as this process continues, Bulgarian Evangelical Churches will be formed in other gateway cities and other large cities which meet the requirements to become a gateway city. Such has been the case with Latin American churches. If this is true, it should be proposed that the Bulgarian Churches in North America follow a strategy for church planting and growth which targets these types of cities.

Pentecostalism and Post-Modern Social Transformation
Almost one hundred years ago, Pentecostalism began as a rejection of the social structure which widely included sin, corruption and lack of holiness. These factors had spread not only in the society, but had established their strongholds in the church as well. Pentecostalism strongly opposed sin as a ruling factor in both the church and the community, seeing its roots in the approaching modernity. As an antagonist to modernism, for almost a century Pentecostalism stood strongly in its roots of holiness and godliness, claiming that they are the foundation of any true Biblical church and community. Indeed, the model of rebelling against sin and unrighteousness was a paradigm set for the church by Jesus Christ Himself.

In the beginning of the 21st century, much is said about the church becoming a postmodern system serving the needs of postmodern people in an almost super-market manner. Yet, again, it seems reasonable to suggest that the Pentecostal paradigm from the beginning of modernity will work once again in postmodernity. While again moral values are rejected by the present social system, Pentecostalism must take a stand for its ground of holiness and become again a rebel – this time an antagonist to postmodern marginality and nominal Christianity or even becoming a Postmodern Rebel.

Churches and Social Media

August 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, Media, News