State Registration to Help Control Religious Sects – Armenian PM

13 October: At today’s question time in parliament, MP Agasi Arshakyan from the opposition National Unity bloc expressed his concern about the registration of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious sect.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Theologically, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult of Christianity. The oppressive organization does not represent historical, Biblical Christianity in any way. Sociologically, it is a destructive cult whose false teachings frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths.

“Prostitution, drug addiction and now sectarianism” are on the increase in Armenia after the country became a member of the Council of Europe, Arshakyan said. “Are we more Europeans than the French, who outlawed the Jehovah’s Witnesses?” Arshakyan said. [Jehovah’s Witnesses are not outlawed in France – RNB]

Before Justice Minister David Arutyunyan reached the platform, Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan said that he shared the MP’s criticism, adding that “we proved to be truly democratic and consented to its registration”. Explaining the reasons for the registration, he said: “The fight against them should be within the law. Registering Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have given them an opportunity to operate in line with the law, and their registration would be scrapped if they were to act illegally. We could end their activities by registering them.”

What is a sect?

The prime minister said that apart from Jehovah’s Witnesses, 30 other religious sects had been registered. The appropriate bodies should keep their eyes open and follow their activities very closely, he said. Their registration should be scrapped if they act illegally.

The prime minister urged MPs to support the government on this. To recap, he highlighted the importance of bringing ties closer with the church and enhancing its role.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
A1+ TV, via BBC Monitoring, Armenia
Oct. 14, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday October 15, 2004.
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