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Belarus’s Protestants Want Their President Gone

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Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko has been in office for 26 years. After last week’s elections, he says he’s won yet another term. But Belarusians are saying enough is enough, with thousands of them taking to the streets in protest and demanding new elections. Lukashenko has shot down this request thus far.The majority of Belarusians identify as Christian. Of the country’s roughly 10 million, 73 percent are Orthodox and 12 percent Catholic, according to Pew Research Center data. Though the Protestant community is tiny, it has not been silent.Last week, the Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists in Belarus, the United Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith in Belarus, and the Religious Association of Full Gospel Communities in Belarus released a joint statement asking for prayer. Protests in 2010 played a key role in changing Protestants’ minds on Lukashenko and the government, says Geraldine Fagan, the editor of the East-West Church Report and author of Believing in Russia – Religious Policy after Communism. “I think particularly since then, there's been an increasingly strong pro-democracy movement within the church,” said Fagan. “And that has interacted with the other pro-democracy movements and has just gradually built momentum over the years. I think this is just the dam bursting basically. People just are not prepared to tolerate the restrictions that are actually impinging upon their consciences essentially.”Fagan joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss the arrival of Protestant Christianity in Belarus, what religious freedom looks like in the former Soviet country, and what the global church can learn from Belarusian Christians. Take Quick to Listen’s survey!What is Quick to Listen? Read moreRate Quick to Listen on Apple PodcastsFollow the podcast on TwitterFollow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted OlsenMusic by SweepsQuick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt LinderThe transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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