American Woman With Bible Text Expelled by Soviets

Associated Press

Soviet authorities on Monday expelled an American tourist who said she was detained and strip-searched at Moscow airport for carrying copies of the biblical Sermon on the Mount.

A U.S. Embassy official said that Regina Sipple, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was sent to Helsinki, Finland, on an Aeroflot flight Monday. Sipple, 32, had arrived in Moscow Sunday night from Helsinki with an American tour group.

Sipple said she was carrying small bound copies in English and Russian of the sermon and Russian-language tapes of children’s music. She said she hoped to give the booklets and tapes to Russians as gifts.

The Sermon on the Mount is recorded in the New Testament of the Bible as a speech by Jesus defending the holiness of the poor and peaceful.


"(The Rev.) Billy Graham said there was freedom of religion here, so I didn’t see why I couldn’t bring these things,” she said in a telephone interview.