SC Republican’s work to Free Pastor in Russia
Last week, a Moscow judge sentenced the Rev. Phillip Miles of Christ Community Church in Conway to three years and two months in prison for smuggling ammunition into Russia. He had been facing up to seven years in prison.
Miles admitted to bringing a box of 20 .300 caliber bullets into Russia for a friend who had recently purchased a Winchester rifle.
A United States attorney for Miles has said the pastor declared the ammunition at the Myrtle Beach and Atlanta airports before leaving the country but did not think he had to declare the ammunition at the Moscow airport.
During trial, Miles’ Russian lawyer said, “My client is merely a victim of the American mentality … where it seems everything is possible everywhere in the world.”
The Russian lawyer has said he will appeal Miles’ sentence within a month, and South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham, Jim DeMint and high-ranking State Department officials are seeking a diplomatic resolution. In the meantime, Miles remains in a Russian jail.
Like most people who have given public opinion on Miles’ predicament, we feel the sentence is harsh. It should be noted, though, that failing to declare ammunition when traveling into the United States is a federal crime subject to a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The lesson here is Miles and anyone else traveling abroad should study the laws of the countries they’re traveling to and from prior to traveling. The old adage “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” certainly applies here.
Politisite Note: Many of us travel on missions trips to dangerious places. When traveling overseas, you must remember to declare anything, especially bullets. Most of us would not take a weapon into another country. When I go into a dangious country, I chose to put my life in God’s hands.
Letter to the Church
A Message from Pastor Phillip
Monday, April 21, 2008
Dear CCC Family,
Praise God. I am doing well. Please know that your prayers are working. God is doing so much in me and I have heard what He is doing in you. Be encouraged! Your prayers are not in vain. God hears and will answer every prayer. But He will do it in a way that advances His kingdom in the most productive way. Do not be discouraged. I sense more than ever that God is in control. As much as we would like to control God at times, we will find in time that His way was the best all along.
Gal. 6: 9-10 “Instead of losing heart, let us continue to do good to all people.”
We don’t have enough time to question; there is too much work to do. My greatest burden is being away from my natural and spiritual family. You can comfort me by being about your Father’s business. I love you more than words can express. Thank you for caring for Lynn and doing what God has called you to do.
In His Victory!
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