An Alternative View on the Pussy Riot Verdict in Russia

I just finished reading The Mountain of Silence, by Kyriacos Markides. In the penultimate chapter he is explaining that the break between the Christian East and West is more than just a theological disagreement. Thinking the Eastern Christians as infidels, the Crusaders raped and pillaged. But here’s the kicker: “Churches were desecrated and destroyed” by the Western Christian crusaders. He then quotes John Julius Norwich, a western historian, who describes how the church buildings were dishonored and how this was so deeply offensive to the Christians that to this day, the sacrilege has not been forgotten.

I read this passage mere hours after the guilty verdict of hooliganism had been passed on the Russian punk band, Pussy Riot. The western news media has tried to turn this purely into a referendum on Putin’s heavy handed policies; and for Westerners, that’s probably what it is and why they protest. But in the Reuters news article, the journalist observes that very few Russians are opposed to the verdict.

I propose that there is a connection. Pussy Riot may have been protesting the Russian political regime, but in so doing, they desecrated a holy temple of God. That angers me deeply, as it should all Christians who believe that church buildings are more than auditoriums and truly holy places. Whether a two-year prison term is appropriate is another matter. I would tend to leave it in God’s hands and pray that these three women may repent of their blasphemy.

But there is a much closer relationship between church and state in Russia and there is certainly a very strong religious sensibility in Russia. Pussy Riot’s blasphemy ought not go unremarked by the Russian people or by the Russian government. Before we become so outraged at a government’s response to what some of have reduced to a political protest, we should consider the seriousness of blasphemy and earnestly pray for mercy, not only for these three women, but for all involved.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s