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Russian Atheists May Also Be Protected By Law
3.10.2012 13:08
Russian Atheists May Also Be Protected By Law

The yet-to-be-adopted bill against the religious offenders is making waves in Russian society, with many people, particularly atheists, expressing their disapproval. They claim the Russian Orthodox community's religious zeal also offends the feelings of non-believers.

      Commenting on these opinions, the head of a State Duma committee for the social and religious groups responsible for the bill against the religious offence announced that should Russian atheists also require protection of their feelings, another law may be passed to this end - although he stated he did not see the point:

      "Atheists are not a religious organisation. They have no such sacral term as "God", therefore it is unclear how their feelings may be offended. But should there be a necessity to protect their feelings if such feelings are somehow oppressed, we shall do that, too, and introduce another bill". 

      The speaker explained that the current bill against the religious offenders does not mean that anyone non-Orthodox may be subject to a penalty: "in such case anyone would be fined". Rather this is the case when "an atheist went out and began saying bad, swearing words to the believers, and spat on icons - these are the offences, and for these people will be punished".

      At the same time he appealed to not be foolishly zealous, demanding the withdrawals of musicals etc. A performance of Jesus Christ Superstar was recently cancelled in Rostov-on-Don following a complaint from a group of Orthodox believers who found the image of Christ to be wrong.

      The bill against the religious offenders was introduced to the State Duma on September 26, 2012. According to it, offenders of religious feelings may get up to 3 years in prison. In the case of desecration and/or destruction of relics and religious objects a culprit is likely to spend up to 5 years behind the bars.

Author: Julia Shuvalova

Tags: Russian church Russian society    

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