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Friday, September 2, 2005

Venezuela Suspends Issuing of Missionary Permits Following Robertson Comments

"The Venezuelan government has temporarily suspended the issuing of missionary permits and visa after a prominent American evangelist suggested the assassination of its President, Hugo Chavez.

"The chief of Justice Ministry's religious affairs unit in Venezuela, Carlos Gonzalez, said last Friday that the change in policy would stay in effect until the federal government could have tighter regulation of church activities in the country." ...

"'The government of Venezuela, which was already investigating mission organizations in their country, has put a hold on all visas for missionary activity and is intensifying their investigation,' Sanford, Fla.-based New Tribes Mission reported on Sunday. 'NTM has several missionaries who have visas awaiting renewal.'

"New Tribes Mission missionary, Merrill Dyck, commented, 'We are putting out large articles in the two major newspapers here in Venezuela this week stating very clearly that we do not share [Pat Robertson's'] views, and in fact find them totally reprehensible and offensive.'"

"Mission agencies such as New Tribes Mission are asking believers to 'pray that the authorities involved in reviewing missionary activity in Venezuela will see that Robertson’s comments do not reflect the opinions of the missionary community, and that the Gospel will be unhindered.'"

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