East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 13, No. 2, Spring 2005, Covering the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe

Letters to the Editor

After reading the article by Paul Mojzes, "The Destruction of Serbian Orthodox Holy Places in Kosovo," East-West Church and Ministry Report 12 (Summer 2004), 1-3, one definitely detects a prominent pro-Serbian slant to every single issue mentioned. Whether history, the land, prior ethnic cleansing, Slobodan Milosevic, or UNMIK's role, the Albanians are definitely the bad guys. I would hope that the East-West Church and Ministry Report would either stay out of partisan politics, or at least provide opposing viewpoints. In this case, I have found discussing history with Serbians to be fruitless--this includes their Russian cousins--when it comes to Kosovo. Perhaps we could have articles in the future about Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, and all Serbian historical land grabs. Of course, the Balkans are extremely divisive, but this author is not objective whatsoever. I only want to add that, though I felt the writer was definitely biased in his observations, I also agree that some of the issues he brought up are valid and need to be discussed.

Jeff Thompson
Eastern European Outreach
Murrieta, California

Editor's Response
I have tremendous respect for the ministry Jeff Thompson has had with East European Outreach over many years. At the same time, I also have tremendous respect for the longsuffering labor of Paul Mojzes on behalf of ethnic reconciliation in the Balkans. I solicited the Kosovo article in order to highlight a tragic violation of freedom of conscience and human rights.

Unfortunately, Jeff Thompson's letter to the editor seems not to have taken to heart the following two sentences from Paul Mojzes' article. Over the centuries, "the usual pattern was that Serbs oppressed Albanians or vice versa. And in recent years when either side has been ascendant, the desire for revenge for former real or alleged atrocities has led to bloodshed." I think this is accurate and I think it balanced.

The reason Mojzes confronts Albanians in his article is because in Kosovo today they have the upper hand and they are merciless in their treatment of the Serbian minority. However, Mojzes is perfectly capable of criticizing Serbs for their earlier crimes of ethnic cleansing when they have had the upper hand. See, for example, his Yugoslavian Inferno: Ethnoreligious Warfare in the Balkans (1994); and "The Camouflaged Role of Religion in the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina" in Religion and the War in Bosnia, ed. by Paul Mojzes (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1998), 82-89.

Christians need to champion human rights and human dignity for all. In this case, I believe Paul Mojzes is justified in championing the hard-pressed Serbian Orthodox minority in Kosovo. I, of course, appreciate what Larry Uzzell (International Religious Freedom Watch) said in a previous letter to the editor on the same article: "Most of the self-proclaimed defenders of religious freedom in the Protestant world would have simply ignored the subject all too often they seem to care about religious persecution only when it affects their fellow Protestants. (My fellow Orthodox are, of course, often equally guilty of such selectiveness.) Keep pursuing the truth whether it is popular or not" East-West Church and Ministry Report 12 (Fall 2004), 14.

Readers will be interested to know that Paul Mojzes (Rosemont College, Pennsylvania) was born in Yugoslavia to parents who were both Methodist pastors and who were neither Serbian nor Albanian.

Mark R. Elliott, editor

The East-West Church and Ministry Report rocks. It's far and away the best for Eurasian ministry. I've been a very satisfied and enriched readers for many years.

Scott Carter, Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, Odessa, Ukraine

Letters to the Editor, East-West Church & Ministry Report 13 (Spring 2005), 15.

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2005 East-West Church and Ministry Report
ISSN 1069-5664

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