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Russian Orthodox leader opposes discrimination

Timothy Kincaid

December 23rd, 2009

PatriarchKirillGay people in Russia are subject to significant discrimination via both social and governmental oppression. Thinking of their country as a “Christian nation”, Russian leaders pride themselves in their opposition to the “satanic” practice of homosexuality.

But an important voice has now spoken out against discrimination. (Ria Novosti)

The Russian Orthodox Church condemns discrimination against sexual minorities, but treats homosexuality as a sin, Patriarch Kirill said on Wednesday.

Meeting with the secretary general of the Council of Europe, a pan-European human rights body, in his office in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in central Moscow, the Russian church leader said: “We respect the person’s free choice, including in sex relations.”

But Kirill said “the religious tradition of almost all nations has treated homosexuality as a sin.”

“Those who commit a sin must not be punished… And we have repeatedly spoken out against discriminating people for their nontraditional sexual orientation,” Patriarch Kirill told Thorbjorn Jagland.

The Russian Orthodox Church is the dominant religion in Russia. And even non-believers defer to her as a cultural voice of the nation.

It would have been greatly surprising had the Patriarch discussed sexual orientation as other than sinful. However, his call against criminalization or discrimination is helpful and encouraging.

But Kirill’s announcement should be seen in a greater context than just the plight of gay Russians. The Orthodox Church, of which Russian Orthodox is a branch, is influential in much of Eastern Europe and even Africa.

For example, the Uganda Orthodox Church, as part of the Uganda Joint Christian Council, is influential in Ugandan politics. And while Russia is a part of Europe, the voice of the Patriarch may be seen less in term of being the “decadent West”.



December 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Now if someone would tell the bigots in Sacramento that..

Timothy (TRiG)
December 24th, 2009 | LINK

Russia is in the Council of Europe, but not in the EU. Geographically, it is only partly in Europe. Its bulk lies in Asia.

Culturally and politically … it’s hard to say. Russia remains “a riddle inside a mystery inside an enigma”.


December 24th, 2009 | LINK

And we should welcome this as good news. Would it not be appropriate to reflect on the past year and mention all the good news we had this year? Despite the setbacks we have some good news this year. As a gay man I feel I have felt a little more breathing room this year…and it came from unexpected “friends”.

Thanks to all of you here.

I’ve been enriched by the articles and comments I have read here this past year. [Tip hat] The work of BTB, which brought to light the injustice in Uganda, is wonderful if we step back and look at how much good has been accomplished by the result of the global attention…and a good part of that is credited to BTB.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Nikolai Alekseev
December 31st, 2009 | LINK

There is nothing really new in the statement of the Patriarch except that he made it public himself. We were already writing about this position of the Orthodox Chuuch long ago after we obtained a copy of a private correspondance exchanged between Kirill and the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Keep in mind the harsh interview Kirill gave to the German magazine Der Spiegel less than a year ago and even if you read his statement at the Council of Europe, he is considering homosexual siners.

The only interesting question to ask today is why Kirill made this statement especially that the General Secretary of the Council of Europe told the media that this point was not even raised by him but by Kirill directly…

Our analysis and a bit moe of background here :

Nikolai Alekseev
Moscow Pride Chief Organizer

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