A Compendium of Crimes and Criminals of the Eastern Orthodox Church — Part 2

I doubt this is comprehensive, nor is it representative of the positives of the church either; it is reportage on the reports from the news. I didn’t see a compendium, so decided write one.

This one comes in the form of the — common — use of religion as a political force. In this case, it is the Russian Orthodox Church used to prop up and support the corrupt autocratic oligarchy of modern Russia, which continues to annex, unfortunately for many including Canadian Ukrainians where I reside but also, Ukrainians born and raised in Ukraine.

As Human Rights Watch has reported on the issue, there remains consistent evidence that resistance to the Russian Orthodoxy can be an issue:

A pro-Kremlin television channel was at the scene almost instantly, cameras rolling. It later aired a story referring to the activists as “neo-pagans” and “members of a cell” who had “ammunition and psychotropic drugs” in their apartments. The head of the Church, patriarch Kirill, called the protesters “cultists” and “pagans”. (Gorbunova & Ovsyannikova, 2016)

As it is an Eastern Orthodoxy, it poses as an example, a case-in-series, of the harms of faith with this as an example.

Even with environmentalists and the Eastern Orthodox Christians here, this extends to Pokemon Go bloggers who are at the ripe age of 22 (Human Rights Watch, 2017).

This is in a country where it has been voted legal as part of ‘traditional values’ to be able to beat one’s wife (The Economist, 2017). It is near a par with the religious legalisms, for centuries, around women as property.

Of course, civil society groups worked to reduce the severity of prior laws attempting to instantiate this (Ibid.). As per usual, as with Poland and abortion with the Roman Catholic Church, women’s rights are being mocked with the Russian Orthodox Church wanting more severe punishments for women who step out of imposed religious lines, religious dogma and decree for how women should be — God forbid an independent woman emerges from their ranks. This extends in consideration of children too:

But the Russian Orthodox Church was furious. Scripture and Russian tradition, the church said, regard “the reasonable and loving use of physical punishment as an essential part of the rights given to parents by God himself”. Meanwhile, conservative groups worried that parents might face jail. They argued that it was wrong for parents to face harsher punishment for hitting their child than a neighbour would. (The Economist, 2017)

This is a major part of religion influencing tens of millions of people’s (children’s and women’s) lives (Cauterucci, 2017). And asking useless questions doesn’t help, “Is the Russian Orthodox Church serving God or Putin?” (Schmitt, 2017) I barely care about that question. I care about concrete questions affecting the lives of Russian citizens because of formal religion.

Bearing in mind, the majority of men in charge of a religion making commentary on the ways women should behave, tacitly, and what consequences are potentially or actually, explicitly, in store for them if they step out of the Russian Orthodox Church line, and the political line of the Putin Regime.

Religion may not be the source of all or even most ‘evil,’ but it is certainly facilitative in this case.

References

Cauterucci, C. (2017, February 8). Russia Decriminalized Domestic Violence With Support from the Russian Orthodox Church. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/02/08/russia_decriminalized_domestic_violence_with_support_from_the_russian_orthodox.html.

Gorbunova, Y. & Ovsyannikova, A. (2016, November 18). In Russia, Thou Shalt not Disagree with the Russian Orthodox Church. Retrieved from https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/11/18/russia-thou-shalt-not-disagree-orthodox-church.

Human Rights Watch. (2017, May 11). Russia: Pokemon Go Blogger Arrested. Retrieved from https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/11/russia-pokemon-go-blogger-convicted.

Schmitt, C. (2017, April 26). Is the Russian Orthodox Church serving God or Putin?. Retrieved from http://www.dw.com/en/is-the-russian-orthodox-church-serving-god-or-putin/a-38603157.

The Economist. (2017, January 28). Why Russia is about to decriminalise wife-beating. Retrieved from https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21715726-it-fits-traditional-values-lawmakers-say-why-russia-about-decriminalise-wife-beating.

*Views expressed are not necessarily those of IHEYO or IHEU.*

Original Publication in Humanist Voices.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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