I received the following email today:
Dear Pastor and Members of Real Liberal Christian Church & Christian Commons Project,
My name is Peter Babichenko, and I am writing this letter on behalf of my family and hundreds of people asking for your prayers. We hope that you may share the contents of this letter with your congregation and ask them to pray and fast for their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Our family comes from a line of ministers that were persecuted in the former Soviet Union. My grandfather Nicolai Goretoy was a Christian leader who led a movement against the USSR to let persecuted Russian Christians immigrate to the United States. After many years of imprisonment, my grandparents immigrated to the United States as refugees in the 1980’s seeking freedom from religious persecution. My father Stanislav Babichenko was also a pastor of Morning Star Christian Church located in Boise, Idaho who passed away about two months ago. My father was instrumental in supporting my grandfather Nicolai Goretoy. Equipped with many personal revelations from God, they lead hundreds of thousands of persecuted Russian Christians from the former USSR to the USA.
We have lived in the United States for almost 30 years, leading peaceful lives and loved by our neighbors and the community. At one point this country had protected us from the persecution we faced in USSR, and we will forever be grateful to God and the American people. In the United States, we had lived a peaceful life. None of our 12 family members had ever been arrested. We had always paid our personal and business taxes; many received college-level education and ran successful small businesses that employed a good number of employees. We live our lives inside a strong Russian Christian community; attend Morning Star Christian Church a Russian evangelical church in Boise.
We love our families and our children, and we are very close to each other. Many of our children attend Petra Christian Academy, a classical Christian school that our church helped start and fund.
One of the prophecies Nicolai shared with his children and the individuals who suffered from the Soviet government was that God would lead them to the United States for a short period of rest. However, after that time of rest, God would continue to guide them through many countries, until they arrive at a place where God will protect His church in the last days from the rule of Anti-Christ as written in the book of Revelations 12:6.
On the morning of August 22, 2018, at around 6:40 AM, the life of our family and our community abruptly changed. Nine members of our small church, which included five members of my family were raided in a coordinated attack by about seven government agencies, arrested, and thrown into jail on false and fabricated allegations. God has been speaking to thousand Christians in the USA including speaking to us for the past ten years through dreams and prophecies that hard times are coming to this country for Christians and that we should prepare to leave the USA. This government knew about the petitions my father and brothers submitted directly to the Brazilian government about our belief that thousands of Russian Christians will be immigrating to South America from the USA. To stop this movement, the US government has put together false allegation about our businesses in an attempt to prevent us from exercising religious beliefs and what we believe God has told us to do. The government confiscated our church building, most of our businesses, cars, homes, and any cash inside our houses, including our children’s savings, leaving our families and children helpless. All this in spite of the Constitutional guarantees of being innocent until proven guilty. Leaving us with little, the government took our means to pay our mortgages, utilities, and our children’s education. We also lost our peaceful life. Banks have refused to open new checking accounts since the old accounts were closed and funds confiscated. Almost all cash and funds were taken, leaving us no means to support ourselves. Our families have become like prisoners in the United States. The court appointed each of us a single defense attorney. In the meantime, the government has over 50 attorneys and support staff working against us. The government has left us with no real means to survive or adequately defend ourselves.
These tactics of falsely accusing innocent Christians by the government and smearing them in the media are familiar to our parents and grandparents because they are the same tactics deployed against Christians and our family in the former Soviet Union. We know that we are living in end times and the persecution of Christians in America has started.
We are reaching out to you and your congregation asking for your prayers. Our faith is strong in our God. We know God has the power to protect us against this vindictive, untruthful persecution like He protected our families in the former USSR. Two of my brothers, one of whom is our current senior pastor at Morning Star Christian Church are still being held in jail in Jerome County, Idaho, and are not able to provide for their families. Both of my brothers have five children, with their youngest child being less than six months old.
This government that once stood for religious freedom as a beacon of light for persecuted Christians around the world has now become the initiator of persecution of Christians. The prosecutors in our case are not interested in finding the truth but are interested in proving a false narrative, trying to convince the court that their lie is the truth. The government wants to imprison my family members, including husbands and wives for up to 90 years, all because we are acting on what we believe God has told us to do. The prosecution has stated in court that they do not argue that our family members were model citizens, and at the same time, they are trying to imprison us for up to 90 years. The Bible condemns the action of the prosecution and says, “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.” Proverbs 17:15.
Please pray for our families. We believe our powerful God will intervene and stop this false firestorm that was unleashed on us by the prosecution. Please pray that this prosecution may not succeed in convicting a righteous family that has devoted their life to serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please do not leave this case unchallenged and say nothing, because this will be a blueprint for the broader persecution of Christians within the United States. The Bible says “Keep far from a false matter, and do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked. ” Exo 23:07.
We kindly ask that you and your church members contact your U. S. Representatives, Christian media outlets, and other fellow Christian and shed light on this injustice. We pray for you and your church that you may remain active in the Lord and that God may continue to bless you.
Peter Babichenko & Family
Deacon of Morning Star Christian Church
[email, phone number, and street address edited out by Tom Usher]
Meridian, Idaho 83642
Peter Babichenko, Meridian, ID 83646
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Now, please read this: "How it went down: Smuggling and undercover buys in the Babichenko case."
You will please note that the email did not mention the charges. You will also please note that the news reporting didn't mention tax evasion, though money laundering might presuppose tax evasion.
If those who have been indicted are innocent, why wouldn't they state the charges and then state why the government is incorrect? If the government has a solid case, why wouldn't the news report (assuming at least reasonably decent reporting) reflect why the government concluded that those indicted knew they were buying fakes? As for smuggling, just because one transfers products into the US via other than ordering those products to be shipped to the US rather than going to the place and then transporting them doesn't mean the products were smuggled. So, how so were they smuggled? Customs was deliberately avoided because Customs would have identified the products as fake? Were they so obviously fake? Do such products have to come with documentation proving authenticity? These are unanswered questions at least in the news reports.
Are the Babichenkos truly being persecuted for their religious beliefs? Are they being persecuted because of the current anti-Russia/Russian hysteria?
I've written and published this so that the proper questions will be asked by those whose professional and governmental responsibility it is to ask them and to press for full and proper responses.
Does the government have documentation, as in irrefutable correspondence or the like showing, that the Babichenkos knew the products were fake? On whose say-so are we to believe the Babichenkos knew the products were fake? If the Babichenkos thought the products were genuine and not stolen and if the Babichenkos paid all taxes due on all gains from the sales, then does the government have a legitimate case against them? To what lengths does a buyer have to go to determine products are genuine before buying the products wholesale and then retailing the products?