A U.S. citizen has been charged under Russia's controversial new anti-missionary law, confirming the fears of religious freedom advocates.
Donald Ossewaarde, a Baptist minister, was fined 40,000 Rubles in an August 14 court hearing after he was caught conducting a worship service in his home.
Under the guise of trying to prevent terrorism, the law makes it illegal to share religious beliefs without proper authorization from the Russian government.
"Certainly our biggest fears have been realized," says Nate Lance of International Christian Concern.
OneNewsNow first reported on the law in July, when it was being proposed and causing concerns among ministries that fought religious persecution under the Soviet Union.
Lance describes the law as vague and suggests it's written that way to allow Russian authorities to pick and choose their religious targets.
"It's important also to recognize that the Russian Orthodox Church – a church in Russia that has a long history of being tied to the Kremlin – is exempt from a lot of these laws," Nance points out.