Sunday, November 1, 2009

Religious Opposition in Serbia

(Info from pgs 227 & 231 of the 2009 Yearbook)

(Serbia, on map outline of lands of the former Yugoslavia)

*the following info is a comparable situation to what was mentioned in today's text discussion...the religious leaders in Serbia did the same thing that the Jewish religious leaders did to Paul and the apostles...stirring up trouble & negative publicity with the local people and presenting slanderous charges to the authorities in order to find legal 'loopholes' to stop the preaching work.

Religious Opposition Intensifies
Because the Serbian Orthodox Church is the dominant religion in the country, many people equate being a Serb with being Orthodox. They feel that a person is not a Serb if he does not belong to the Orthodox Church. Nevertheless, our message of hope from the Bible was accepted by many during the 1990's. By the end of the war in 1999, the number of publisher's had nearly doubled reaching 4,026.
This spiritual prosperity brought the ire of the Orthodox Church on Jehovah's people. By fueling the fires of nationalistic fervor, the church sought to stop our Christian preaching work. Through outright violence and by manipulating the law, opposers tried to demoralize our brothers. For example, there were still 21 of our brothers in prison because of remaining politically neutral. Most were released shortly after the war, grateful that Jehovah had strengthened their faith throughout the ordeal.
Suddenly, on April 9, 2001, the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs banned the importation of our literature. For what reason? They claimed that our publications would have a negative impact on the country's youth. Included on the list of prohibited publications was the Bible!
Because of the negative television and newspaper reports about our work, at times some householders became violent. "They would punch or slap us when we preached from door to door," said a special pioneer, and "at other times they threw stones at us." In addition, some Kingdom Halls were vandalized. Today our brothers in Serbia can meet together legally, although they need to be discreet.