ACLJ Supports Harsh Blasphemy Punishments

Well this is certainly interesting. The American Center for Law and Justice, which pretends to be a group that favors religious freedom in the United States, enthusiastically advocated for the passage of a law in Russia that punishes any “insult to the religious feelings of the faithful.” Right Wing Watch translates a press release put out by their Slavic Center for Law and Justice, funded completely by the ACLJ:

The cynical, blasphemous actions in the Church of Christ the Savior that took place this week aroused a broad public outcry. The participants of the women’s feminist punk group Pussy Riot ran into the church wearing masks and performed a blasphemous song with a political subtext right before the altar. They recorded the “performance” on video. Based on these recordings, a video clip was put together and posted on social networks, after which a flood of blasphemous and anti-church comments appeared online.

SCLJ recently raised the issue of the danger of dissemination through social networks of blasphemous information that insults the religious feelings of the faithful, at times openly inciting interreligious conflicts. Today we see that this concern is becoming even more acute and urgent. Criticism of certain religious views and beliefs is undoubtedly possible; however, insult and humiliation of the dignity of individuals who hold them or profess any religion is simply unacceptable.

The main problem is that the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation does not currently contain adequate penalties for such acts. The maximum punishment that can be brought down upon the participants in this blasphemous act at the Church of Christ the Savior is that they will be cited for an administrative offense and required to pay a small fine. However, the consequences of their activities may be very serious.

It should be noted that such cases are not rare. SCLJ staff members have often come upon similar situations in other regions of the country. Moreover, in many cases, seemingly innocuous mischief of a few aggressive individuals led to real religious conflicts that posed a threat to people’s lives and health…

Law enforcement agencies typically respond to incidents of this nature by glossing over any anti-religious motives. No one wants crimes motivated by religious hatred and hostility. Therefore, officials strain to limit charges to “hooliganism” and sometimes refuse to open a criminal case at all.

In this regard, SCLJ supports the initiative of Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin to toughen laws against incitement of religious hatred and hostility, but also against insult to the religious feelings of the faithful and assaults against their shrines and temples. We also believe that there is an urgent need to introduce harsh punishments for disseminating such information on the Internet.

Funny, these are the first people to scream about the evils of Islamic law but they stand in unison with reactionary Muslims in demanding protecting for their delicate feelings from all criticism.

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  • steve78b

    What does the “L” and the “J” in their name stand for?

    …. This story makes me think it should be LOONIES and JACKASSES.

    What a pack of losers……

    Steve in OK

  • So, what (by the great hairy and presumably unused penis of Jesus) is wrong with blasphemy?

  • I wonder how they would about the exact same law in, say, Saudi Arabia.

  • comfychair

    “Religious feelings of the faithful” always only applies to followers of the One True Baby Jesus religion, and never to those heretical and obviously false religions (it’s true, says so right there in the KJV) like Islam, yoga, or college football.

  • @4: Actually, I’m pretty sure college football is a sacrament of the One True Baby Jesus religion.

  • comfychair

    Wait – they’re basically calling for a pogrom against the non-straight people, as retribution for “crimes motivated by religious hatred and hostility” (translation: the dangerously provocative way non-straight people refuse to stop existing)?

  • John Pieret

    that punishes any “insult to the religious feelings of the faithful.”

    Umm … I hope they understand that “insult to the religious feelings of the faithful” in Russia could include evangelizing Protestant fundamentalism. Wouldn’t want hoist on their own petard … much.

  • We also believe that there is an urgent need to introduce harsh punishments for disseminating such information on the Internet.

    So much for their support of free speech.

  • doublereed

    Does the ACLJ actually do anything?

  • D. C. Sessions

    They’re moderately good at raising money.

  • Jared Ragland

    They’re also fairly good at losing utterly frivolous lawsuits.

  • anubisprime

    doublereed @ 9

    Does the ACLJ actually do anything?

    Circle jerkin’ fur jeebus by the shape of it!

  • amadan

    Golly! I wonder if the Slavic Center for Law and Justice remembered to register as a foreign agent.

    The Foreign Agent Law was enacted to greatly regulate civil society. It increases registration barriers for an NGO in Russia, including restrictions on foreigners and stateless peoples from establishing or even participating in the organization. The registration process is overly bureaucratic, requiring many documents. A NGO must then submit to audits which are costly and burdensome. Also, supervisory powers are allowed to intervene and interrupt the internal affairs of the NGO with suspensions for up to 6 months. Criminal or administrative penalty policies may be applied to restrict advocacy and free speech of the NGOs. This law also limits the way a foreign organization can make tax-exempt donations to specific people or the NGO by requiring them to register and be placed on a very limited list of approved organizations.

    Sure that nice, manly Mr Putin wouldn’t persecute Christian?

  • Pen

    I can’t help feeling it’s time to make more of the offensiveness and outrageousness of many religious views. If it’s going to be like that, I’m not sure I want to see implements of torture scattered around the place like confetti, or have that particularly offensive book left lying around in places where my child might discover it.

  • They’re also fairly good at losing utterly frivolous lawsuits.

    Unfortunately, that’s not true. The ACLJ is Jay Sekulow’s baby, and he is a competent lawyer who knows his way around the Supreme Court, and has had several victories there in First Amendment cases. Now, in most cases where he has won, I suspect he and Ed would have been on the same side, but unlike the ACLU, that will represent just about anyone whose First Amendment rights have been clearly violated, Sekulow is only interested in defending conservative Christians (and creating a big stink to help fund yet-another fund-raising drive to help fill his personal coffers.

  • D Carter

    “All religious feelings can go drown in faeces.”

    Oops–guess I won’t be visiting Russia any time soon. Ah damn.