By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Coorespondent
ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN (Worthy News)– A pastor in Kazakhstan was arrested last month for allegedly serving hallucinogens to his congregation while wielding a powerful psychological influence over them.
However, the "hallucinogens" Pastor Bahtzhan Kashkumbaev served proved to be just red tea — used as a non-alcoholic alternative for communion — and the only influence he wielded came from the pastor's prayers during worship service, according to Wade Kusack of Russian Ministries.
Kashkumbaev's arrest may prove a harbinger for many more under Kazakhstan's new religion law; to date, there have been at least eight arrests, but according to Kusack, Kashkumbaev's arrest was different because he had converted from Islam.
Many Christians in Kazakhstan believe Kashkumbaev's arrest was actually a punishment sent from Muslim officials for his evangelical activities, Kusack said.
"It is (a) punishment for him and a threat for all others not to change their religion: If you are Muslim, you should stay Muslim; If you are Christian, you should stay Christian."
Kashkumbaev's arrest reminded Kusack of how the Soviets once treated Christians living in the former USSR.
"If the church all over the world ignores this and there is no reaction from the West," said Kusack, "I believe this type of persecution will continue."
The Kazakhstan embassy in the US can be reached at: http://www.kazakhembus.com/page/contact-us