Media Watch

Salvation Army Faces Russian Opposition

NEW YORK TIMES, Aug. 8 — The Moscow city government suggested that the Salvation Army might be a foreign “military organization” operating illegally, the New York daily reported.

The Russian capital's justice ministry cited the Protestant group's use of military-style uniforms and ranks. The Salvation Army may be kicked out of Moscow at a court hearing in September.

Any religious organization not affiliated with the country's four main religions — the Russian Orthodox Church, Orthodox Judaism, Islam and Buddhism — must periodically register with the government. In January 1999, the city of Moscow first refused the Salvation Army's application. Last June, the justice ministry argued that the group was illegal.

The Moscow justice ministry has already rejected 248 applications from churches, and plans to reject almost 200 more, including Catholic, Buddhist, and Seventh-Day Adventist groups.

Did Nature Miss the Point of Its Population Study?

WALL STREET JOURNAL, Aug. 8 — Two scholars writing in Nature magazine broke the news that world population is likely to stop growing in the 21st century, and may even decline, the New York daily reported.

The study predicted that there is “around an 85% chance that the world's population will stop growing before the end of the century,” and a 15% chance that by century's end there will be fewer people than there are today. The authors called this “welcome news,” but the Journal‘s Seth Lipsky disagreed.

Lipsky pointed out that when Asia's population more than doubled, the continent pulled off a remarkable economic boom, and “per capita food consumption soared.” The Far Eastern Economic Review noted that the United Nations called for increased population control when Asia was actually suffering from a labor shortage.

Lipsky suggested that countries with declining populations should start thinking about how to lift their sagging population figures.

Pastor Banned From Religious Activity in Belarus

KESTON NEWS SERVICE, July 30 — A Ukrainian pastor in the Belarusian capital of Minsk was banned from “public religious activity,” the religious-freedom news service reported.

Pastor Venjamin Brukh of the Church of Jesus Christ was told that he would not get the “special permission” required for foreign pastors, since according to a state official Bible colleges in Belarus produce enough pastors.

The Minsk City Council also recently denied all religious organizations the right to rent property.

Stop Smuggling My Sermons, Priest Tells Flock

ANANOVA, Aug. 5 — Father Pietro Zaurna, a priest of the Diocese of Milan, Italy, said that some of his parishioners are writing down his sermons and giving them to other priests in the diocese, the online news service reported.

The priest said he was “really indignant about unoriginal people who smuggle sermons.” He had found a photocopy of one of his sermons on the “black market.”