Sending Bibles to the USSR

I was rather amused by the article ``Soviet acceptance of large Bible shipment may signal policy change,'' Nov. 19, on the shipment of Bibles to the Soviet Union. It notes that the Soviet hierarchy has allowed a record 100,000 Bibles into that country of 270 million people. I'm surprised that the Monitor gave so much attention to this so-called ``policy shift.''

Even though the new shipment is three times as large as the previous one, it is far below the number of Bibles available in Soviet-bloc nations.

Even more depressing is the possibility that there are more Christians in the Soviet Union than in our ``godly'' nation.

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So what's taking the Soviet Union so long to allow Bibles into the country? Could it be that it fears there may be an alternative to its own ``godless'' philosophy of atheism? I believe a true policy change would occur only when everyone in the USSR wanting a Bible was allowed one.

Until that time, and I don't foresee it soon, there is no real policy change in the Soviet Union. In the future, let's not be so quick to applaud these ``token'' gestures from our friends to the east. Robert G. Nutting Eau Claire, Wis.

It was very distubing to find this article in a newspaper that I trust and use as my window to the world. The article exhibits a lack of knowledge of the fate of previous Bible shipments to the Soviet bloc. It also exhibits a distorted view of Soviet history as well as contemporary affairs.

In the November-December 1987 issue of Freedom at Issue, Philip Balla in ``The Poet vs. the Bureaucracy'' writes: ``In 1975, officials in Bucharest allowed the importation of 20,000 Hungarian-language Bibles - proof of the tolerance of the government. In 1985, the joke became clear. All the Bibles had been pulped to make toilet paper, with passages from the book of Job faintly visible.''

Readers should be made aware of relevant facts such as this. This may very well be the destination of the Bibles discussed in this article.

The article perpetuates misinformation by giving credibility to the official Soviet propaganda ploy - ``the 1,000th anniversary of the Christianity in Russia.'' The Soviets are a bit premature in celebrating their 1,000th anniversary of Christianity when in fact the state of Muscovy, the precursor of Russia, just celebrated its 840th anniversary. Oksana Piaseckyj Duxbury, Mass.

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