« ÎnapoiContinuă »
Absence of the right to work
According to the Soviet Constitution, Article 60:
"It is the duty of, and a matter of honour, for every able-bodied citizen of the U.S.S.R. to work conscientiously in his chosen, socially useful occupation, and strictly to observe labour discipline. Evasion of socially useful work is incompatible with the principles of socialist society."1 Pentecostals, nonetheless, are not given equal rights in terms of employment. Although a regular work day is considered to be 8 hours, and the official minimum wage per month amounts to 50 rubles, most Believers earn between 8 and 20 rubles monthly. Due to the fact that Believers have large families, they must work on two jobs, otherwise they would starve to death. Similarly, active leaders of the Pentecostal communities are forced to leave work, therefore placing their families in an even worse position, often having no income. In view of the fact that Believers are barred from educational institutions, none of them have any particular qualifications and are always employed on "blue collar" jobs, many involving hard physical labour. According to Article 40 of the Soviet Constitution:
"Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to work (that is, to guaranteed employeent and pay in accordance with the quantity of their work and not below the stateestablished minimum), including the right to choose their trade or profession, type of job and work in accordance with their inclinations, abilities, training and education, with due account of the needs of society.
This right is ensured by the socialist economic system, steady growth of the productive forces, free vocational and professional training, improvement of skills, training in new trades or professions, and developement of the system of vocational guidance and job placement."
Absence of the right to education
According to the Soviet Constitution, Article 45:
"Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to education. This right is ensured by free provision of all forms of education, by the institution of universal compulsory secondary education, and broad developement of vocational, specialized secondary and higher education, in which instruction is oriented toward practical activity and production; by the developement of extramural, correspondence and evening courses;
by the provision of state scholarships and grants and privileges for students; by the free issue of school textbooks; by the opportunity to attend a school where teaching is in the native language; and by the provision of facilities
Even if the situation be that a Believer is permitted to enter the University, he is told that the profession he has chosen, in the end, will make him an educator; educators with religious beliefs are not needed. Aside from this, one of the prerequisites in the program of a University is the subject "Scientific Atheism.: Those who do not excel in subjects of this nature, despite the fact that it is not their major, are failed.
Those who began believing only after they received a university degree, and had already a lucrative position in the business world, the moment they became Christians lost their positions and were forced into poverty.
Pentecostals are permitted to attend grammar school because primary education is absolutely compulsory in the USSR.
The right to teach religion privately does not exist. If parents attempt to teach religion to their children, their children are taken away from them and are placed in special homes run by the State.
Absence of the right to rest
According to the Soviet Constitution, Article 41:
"Citizens of the USSR have the right to rest and leisure. This right is ensured by the establishment of a working week not exceeding 41 hours, for workers and other employees, a shorter working day in a number of trades and industries, and shorter hours for night work; by the provision of paid annual holidays, weekly days of rest, extension of the network of cultural, educational and health building institutions, and the development on a mass scale of sport, physical culture and camping and tourism; by the provision of neighbourhood recreational facilities, and of other opportunities for rational use of free time.
The length of collective farmers' working and leisure time is established by their collective farms."
The Pentecostals cannot possibly save for a vacation, as their minimal earnings barely cover basic needs. They also are not eligible to obtain vacation permits because they are not members of Unions. Christain faith is inco^patible with the atheist ideology of the unions. Union membership cards clearly state: "The Unions are the school of Communism." Moreover, the Pentecostals are continually fined for prayer meetings which exhausts their small savings.
Absence of freedom of conscience
According to the Soviet Constitution, Article 52;
"Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of conscience, that is, the right to profess or not to profess any religion, and to conduct religious worship or atheistic propaganda. Incitement of hostility or hatred on religious grounds is prohibited.
In the USSR, the church is separated from the State, and the school from the church." 5
Pentecostals are not permitted to observe Evangelical commandments, nor to practice charity towards each other. when our leaders are imprisoned, how can we not help them? Often parents of eight to ten children are fired from work or imprisoned; how can we not help them?
Believers are not permitted to attend religious gatherings, nor to bring their children to these gatherings. They are not permitted to organize musical societies, literary clubs, prayer circles, Bible study circles, children's gatherings and other similar activities.
Prohibition of raising children in the spirit of religion There is a commandment in the Gospel that all children of Christians must be raised in the Name of God. Therefore, all Believers must raise their children in the spirit of religion. This is absolutely forbidden in the USSR. The Soviets preach that children must reach adulthood and then decide what beliefs they wish to accept. But the Soviets themselves do not actually wait for their children to reach adulthood; they begin preaching atheism to them almost from birth. To ensure that children will not be raised in the spirit of religion, the State takes the children away from the parents. They are placed in special State-run homes, in order to bring them up as atheists. And so it is out of concern for their children that the Pentecostals have decided to pursue the idea of emigrating.
Right to correspond and the privacy of correspondence
"The privacy of citizens, and their correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is protected by law."6
Believers in the Soviet Union are not permitted to write letters to their Brothers in Christ abroad. If they write about their sufferings, they must send these letters in an illegal manner.
Loss of the right to legal defense
According to the Soviet Constitution, Article 57:
"Respect for the individual and protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens are the duty of all state bodies, public organizations, and officials.
Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to protection by the courts against encroachments on their honour and reputation, life and health, and personal freedom and property."7
In the U.S.S.R., there are no lawyers who are Believers and who would be capable of protecting the rights of Believers. To have a lawyer from the West defend the Pentecostals is virtually impossible, although it was done once, in the case of Georgi Vins. But is it possible that Soviet judiciary might independently decide the constitutional issue of freedom of conscience (as in the case of Vins) without legal defense? All know the answer - it has not happened. Vins was condemned, just like thousands of lesser-known Believers. The Soviet Press prints outright lies about Believers. With the knowledge of the authorities, Believers are beaten; they are fined for religious gatherings but the law has never defended them. Believers are subjected to discrimination, but the law never reached out to protect them, neither in the official press, nor in court.