Russian Actor and Ex-Orthodox Priest: ‘I Would Put All the Gays Alive Into an Oven’

Ivan Okhlobystin, a Russian actor who took time off from the big screen to become a priest, has said publicly that gay people belong in an oven:

A popular star with fiercely conservative views, [he] told an audience in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk that all homosexuals should be burned alive. … “I would put all the gays alive into an oven,” the one-time Orthodox priest has been quoted as saying. “This is Sodom and Gomorrah! As a religious person, I cannot be indifferent about it because it is a real threat to my children!”

Okhlobystin later tweeted to confirm his comments. “The meaning was rendered correctly,” he said. “Everyone has the right to express their opinions.”

A religious conversion in the late 1990s caused Okhlobystin to turn his back on acting for a while, successfully pursuing the priesthood instead. But in 2010 he asked to be defrocked, announcing he would run for president and get back into the movie business. He has since lent his voice to the Russian soundtrack of Rango.


The actor’s latest voice turn is as a mean troll named Orm in the Russian animation The Snow Queen.

That must have been a stretch.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.

  • # zbowman

    So this guy’s quoted as equating gays with fascists. And then wanting to put an entire segment of society into ovens ’cause he doesn’t like the way they fall in love.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Did anybody else catch the irony of a Russian advocating a Nazi method for dealing with “undesirables”?

  • kielc

    The Soviets were perfectly OK with the Nazis’ “Final Solution,” and aided in rounding up undesirables. Then Hitler double-crossed Stalin and invaded countries that Stalin had his own designs on. Theirs was a dispute over territory, not the treatment of people who were slaughtered in both countries.

  • The Starship Maxima

    I…got nothing. Damn.

  • cyb pauli


  • Stev84

    It’s easy to forget that Russia and Nazi Germany were allies of sorts until 1941:

    There was even some cooperation between the Gestapo and the NKVD:

  • Pitabred

    Aye. They helped win the war, but only really because of the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” effect.

  • smrnda

    The other issue is the Russian military strategy of ‘they will run out of bullets before we run out of people to throw at them.’ That, and cold weather.

  • Pitabred

    Strategy wise? Yes. I was more speaking for motivations. They were temporary, situational allies, not ideologically aligned with the freedom of the rest of the allied forces.

  • Stev84

    They didn’t have much of a choice. They lost a lot of territory in the beginning of the war and needed time to build up their industry. Once that was done, they produced weapons in great numbers.

  • Stev84

    It’s not like Stalinist Russia was above killing millions of people they didn’t like.

    The Great Purge, the Gulgag, the Holodomor (engineering a famine in the Ukraine), Dekulakization (killing millions of peasents), or various atrocities by the NKVD (particularly in Poland) like the Katyn massacre. They also moved around a large number of minority population groups.

  • SeekerLancer

    It’s amazing how often people will consider something they hate “fascist” in the same breath as presenting a totally fascist solution to the “problem.” It’s projection in its purist sense. It’s amazing and terrifying how blind people can be to what they say.

  • Pitabred

    It’s because the words don’t mean actual things, it’s just a sub-cultural epithet. They’ve learned that calling someone a “fascist” is like calling them a “fuckface”, without ever considering the actual communication. Much like “liberals”, “communists” and “socialists” are used by the faux conservatives in the US here.

  • Wildcard

    Fuck you Ivan. Everyone has a right to their opinion is true. So here is mine. Your message and politics are so toxic that you deserve to fail and have all the fruits of your labor taken away. Then you go into the position of being an “undesirable”, and then have everyone around you say you deserve to be starved to death outside in the Russian winter. Then maybe you’ll grow some goddamn empathy.

    P.S: Are you really saying gay people are a threat to your kids because they exist? So you admit your a terrible parent with no ability to talk to your kids about tough issues?

  • The Starship Maxima

    Wildcard, you win the internet and a six-pack of Coronas.

  • Wildcard

    I’m not worthy of that award. I didn’t say “Your message and politics are so toxic they make Chernobyl look like somebody dropped a napkin on the ground.” Didn’t even think of it until after I posted.

  • LesterBallard

    There are a lot of Christian heads in the US nodding vigorously.

  • The Starship Maxima

    And there are a lot of Christian heads in the US, like mine, gagging in utter shame that this twat waited till he became a priest to spew such abhorrent bullshit.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Why? Do you think his chances of becoming a priest would have been damaged if he’d said it before?

  • The Starship Maxima

    Probably not. And that makes it even worse.

  • Baron Bytes

    I hate that nazism and facism have become synonymous with evil. It allows people to embrace their ideas without having to justifying using the same arguments.

  • WallofSleep

    “I hate that nazism and facism have become synonymous with evil.”

    Well, after the Third Reich fell, and the world got to truly see what they were on about, nobody, and I mean nobody, wanted that PR job. Can you blame them?

  • cyb pauli

    That’s an interesting point. A+

  • The Starship Maxima

    As a religious person, I cannot be indifferent about it because it is a real threat to my children!”

    You disingenuous asshole. Your forefathers fought and died to stop real bad guys from creating a world in which the State would do as you suggest and gas and burn all those who did not conform to the party line.

    And here you are supporting such bullshit. Your forefathers would be ASHAMED if they realized this is what they fought and died for. May God have mercy on your soul.

  • Atwatersedge

    This is not exactly true. Yes, Russians died – bravely – fighting the Germans, but they fought for the right to exist, not in resistance to an oppressive state. Their own state was just as oppressive, and considerably more capricious. The Germans viewed Slavs as sub-human and their conforming to a party line would not have advanced Nazi goals of taking property and expanding the empire, so they were going to be murdered or die fighting. Stalin chucked them all into the meat grinder – often without weapons – to save himself.

  • Darren

    He’s actually just advocating putting their _sins_ into the oven he still loves the sinner.

  • Moralltach

    To be honest, I like his consistency. Yes, he’s a terrible person. But he knows what he thinks and stands by it. So much better than this waffling, “Jesus loves everyone, even gays” bullshit that a lot of mainstream Christians espouse.

    I have an acquaintance (not quite friend) who’s a biblical literalist and young-earth creationist. We were at a panel debate recently whereupon we were forced to sit through two hours of “science and religion CAN get along,” “different ways of knowing,” “how vs. why,” and so on. We were both deeply disappointed that no one took a stand on either side, as we both agree that religion and science are incompatible ways of thinking.

    This guy Ivan? He’s good for us, not bad. He effectively illustrates that there is no option for compatibility, just as there is no compatibility with women’s equality and Catholicism. There simply is no major doctrinal religion that officially tolerates homosexuality. The clearer that’s made, the more marginalized religion will become.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Not one thing you said you made any sense whatsoever.

  • Moralltach

    Then maybe you should try harder. If there is a fundamental schism between religion and acceptance of homosexuality — and there is — then people like this, who exemplify that schism, are better for the cause of those of us trying to point that out than the people in the middle trying to pretend that Christianity has no problem with gays.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Except that, like many anti-religion positions, that’s your personal philosophy, not a fact. And a poisonous philosophy at that.

    Christianity doesn’t approve of many things, and yet Christians have peacefully lived with many people who reject part or all of its ethos. Saying the “people in the middle” are “pretending” is bullshit of the highest order.

    In your way, you are part of the problem like this psycho Russian is. Because the “us vs. them” narrative works for you better and because it feeds your hope that it’ll cause Christianity to fall (good luck with that), you wish for destructive nuts like this guy rather than wishing for increased detente.

    I find your viewpoint abhorrent.

  • Moralltach

    The “us vs. them” narrative didn’t come from me, it came from dogmatic religion. Just because people who call themselves Christians have strayed from the tenets of their faith as outlined in the Bible and throughout history doesn’t mean that somehow the faith itself is more tolerant. It’s not. It’s just that its adherents are more willing to compromise their adherence for the sake of humanist morals, which I’m all for.

    Take Catholics who support gays or birth control, for example. They’re growing in number. Does that mean that Catholicism is more accepting of gays and birth control? No. The church claims, as all doctrinal religions do, to be the sole possessor of ultimate moral authority, and as such cannot take a “believe what you want” stance.

    As a normal human being who does not believe in absolute moral truths, I can easily say “I believe this, but you believe that, and that’s ok.” Religions have not afforded themselves that luxury; they claim to know exactly what is morally right and what is morally wrong, and any member of that religion must either agree with them or be considered to be no longer a member of that religion. Put more simply, religious people are defined by their beliefs, not their professions. If their beliefs are not those of their religion, then neither are they.

    You may find my viewpoint “abhorrent” and “bullshit,” but that won’t change it and neither will name-calling.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Compelling points actually. I may have to retract my statement that that viewpoint is “bullshit of the highest order”.

    However, I must correct a common fallacy that many atheists hold about Christianity and related faiths. Our faith most certainly does allow for “I believe this, but you believe that, and that’s ok.” If you look at our namesake, Jesus, that’s precisely his MO.

    This intolerance and need to dominate others is not true Christianity. The more humanist, live and let live, people you describe aren’t getting wrong; they’ve gotten it right.

    As the Pope stated, God alone is God. It is no mere mortal’s place to judge another. If someone thinks being gay is a-ok and that’s what they’re going to do, well I see nowhere that it’s my job to correct them.

  • Moralltach

    That’s where I agree with you. It’s not necessary to try to alter the behavior of others here on earth — if your fate after death is decided by your faith alone, then you can let the sinners burn and won’t be held responsible (to put it bluntly). As such, it’d be fine for the hardline homophobes to just keep their mouths shut.

    Where I might differ is at the “God is God” part. Yes, judgement is reserved for God alone. However, he told us who he’d judge by way of the Bible (plus additional revelations if you’re Catholic).

    I got into this debate where I asked someone, flat out, “do you think gay people will go to hell?” She said it wasn’t her place to judge, and that only God could judge. I said that’s true (under her belief system), but offered the following metaphor: drunk driving.

    If you drive drunk and get caught, you will be arrested and certain consequences will be visited upon you. I have no ability or responsibility to enforce those consequences, but I can tell you with confidence that they will happen because the law says so.

    In the same vein, God has ostensibly told us the rules, so we can, with equal confidence, tell people what the consequences of breaking them will be. It doesn’t mean we have an obligation to do so, and some people (Ivan) are assholes about it, but I can completely understand, from his point of view, that what he’s saying is along the same lines of “everyone who drives drunk should be locked up.”

    Does that make sense?

  • The Starship Maxima

    It makes a lot of sense, and is quite compelling, but it goes further.

    First off all, me hating gays would insinuate I myself am certain it’s a sin and it’s harmful. The Bible talks about maybe twice, and Jesus mentioned it never.

    Also, even if being gay is a sin, nowhere in the Bible I read is it some sort of heinous crime on the level of drunk driving, let’s say. Additionally, the Bible says ALL sexual morality is sin, so if the gay person is going to hell, he/she might as well save a spot for me.

    The Bible I read says Jesus came to save us all, gay, straight, trans, vegan, communist, atheist, whatever. The Bible further tells me that our deeds are the best indicator of our character, not our dogma.

    When someone asked me if gays are going to hell, I respond I am 99.98% certain there are gays God will welcome into heaven as faithful servants.

  • Neko

    Also, even if being gay is a sin, nowhere in the Bible I read is it some sort of heinous crime on the level of drunk driving, let’s say.

    Again, what? In the OT God declares homosexual acts an abomination punishable by death. Jesus the pious Jew [probably] would have inveighed against homosexuality. (Perhaps because the gospel writers were eager to sell the religion to Gentiles there’s no mention of it in the gospels.) The ancient Israelites distinguished themselves from the Gentiles on this point: Gentiles engaged in homosexuality. The very strong Jewish taboo against homosexual acts is reflected in Paul’s rants in 1Corinthians and Romans.

    Progressive Christians have found a way around all this homophobia, and that’s a good thing. But there it is.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Again, these tired meme of “found a way around it”. No. The Bible called a bunch of sins heinous, homosexuality, disobeying your parents, fornication, etc.

    The entire point of Jesus is that there’s no need for these things to be punished by stoning or excommunication or whatever.

    I keep saying this over and over, the Bible can’t be argued by snatching a verse here and going “Wait, it says this all the way over here. See! It’s wrong.” You have to take in the full context.

    And yes, maybe the omission of homosexuality in Jesus’s recorded teaches was a marketing ploy. Or….maybe he meant what he said when he said he came to forgive and save all who’d accept it.

  • Neko

    Excuse me, I’m not “snatching a verse here and there.” I do actually read the NT as narrative.

    Like I said, Jesus was merciful. But he was also very exacting. Everybody loves the story of the woman taken in adultery (a story that was very likely not original to the gospel of John). Progressives argue Jesus said “He who is without sin throw the first stone.” Conservatives argue Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” There’s the rub. The gate is narrow.

  • Neko

    You have to take in the full context.

    Is there a history of persecution of disobedient children and fornicators at all commensurate with the persecution of homosexuals? That’s the context I’m talking about.

  • Neko

    It makes sense, but the thing is, whether or not it makes sense is irrelevant to many Christian believers. The inventor of Christianity Paul of Tarsus was himself incoherent.

    You see, you must have faith in Christ to be saved. The chosen people will enter the kingdom first, and then the Gentiles. No, wait, the Gentiles will enter the kingdom first, then the Jews. Some of them. No, all of them. Everyone will be saved, all in all! But still, you must have faith in Christ to be saved.

    So you can’t blame Christians too much for exploiting the loopholes.

  • The Starship Maxima

    The “inventor” of Christianity is Jesus Christ. Or rather, that’s the model we follow.

  • Neko

    Jesus was a Jewish prophet on a rescue mission to the “lost sheep of Israel” (if Matthew is to be believed).

    The rest is Paul, the gospel writers and their theological descendants.

  • Red-star

    I thought one of his disciples set out to follow in his name.

  • Neko

    Say what? Jesus was merciful but no moral relativist. “Judge not lest ye shall be judged” doesn’t translate to laissez-faire ethics. At times Jesus was even more draconian than the Mosaic Law (divorce).

    Please tell me more about this I’m OK, You’re OK “MO.” More like “You’re not OK, but I’m here to tell you how to be OK, and if you don’t get OK, then when the kingdom comes you’ll definitely be less OK.”

  • The Starship Maxima

    I suppose Jesus being God himself incarnate can say that.

    Starship’s line on the other hand is – “I’m pretty sure I’m OK. I think you’re pretty OK too, but for {insert ideological difference here}. But, it ain’t my place to make you OK. So I’ll do me, you’ll do you, and where we have common business, we’ll be OK.”

  • Neko

    But, it ain’t my place to make you OK.

    Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

    I thought you were a Biblical literalist.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Sharing my faith and trying to letting my life be an example to others is not the same as me making it my business to coerce someone to alter their choices. I can share my faith, but if someone says, “Get the fuck out of my face with your Bible waving shit” I say “Okay” and leave, in accordance with Jesus’s direct instructions.

    God who made the Universe won’t force someone to change. Surely a mere mortal named Starship Maxima won’t either.

  • Neko

    OK! But that is not the same thing as:

    Our faith most certainly does allow for “I believe this, but you believe that, and that’s ok.” If you look at our namesake, Jesus, that’s precisely his MO.

  • The Starship Maxima

    Stop nitpicking Neko :)

  • Neko

    : )

  • Glasofruix

    Uh, thou shalt not worship other gods but me, rings a bell? Cristianity does not allow different beliefs.

  • Neko

    He may be good for “us,” but he’s bad for them; that is, gay people living in Russia. It’s terrifying to hear that kind of rhetoric. Would we wish this zealot upon anyone just to throw an argument into starker relief?

    It’s fine with me if believers are uneasy with religious prohibitions against homosexuality. Any path toward acceptance and equality is to be encouraged.

  • cyb pauli

    My favorite is when the Waffles tell me theists who know where they stand are low-hanging fruit. Nah, bruh I eat Waffles like you for breakfast.

  • Sandrilene

    Really? I find that a little disturbing.
    I think consideration for others is far more important than logical consistency.
    I don’t see any harm in someone who is in favour of gay rights but still enjoys harvest festivals and Christmas carol services. Plenty of people grow up to become more tolerant yet don’t want to throw away every tradition they’ve grown up with.
    Tolerance is not mere waffle, it’s deeply important.

  • chicago dyke

    the Russians really seem to be buying into the whole “protect the children from the evil gays” BS. it’s disturbing. the american hater industry has been spreading that crap in Russia lately, and getting results. their visas should be revoked.

  • Glasofruix

    Nah, russians always were kind of racist and homophobic people. No need american haters for that (they’d be shot on sight anyway).

  • Artor

    Maybe we can re-route the WBC when they return from South Africa, and send them to Russia instead?

  • The Starship Maxima

    If you can promise me they won’t come back, I’m totally on board.

  • Rich Wilson

    Funny how some people “must down vote Chrisitans”. Blacksheep gets it too.

  • Feminerd

    David Duke did that. After he (barely) lost the governor’s race in Louisiana, he relocated to Russia where he found a much more congenial political climate.

    For those who do not know, David Duke is a Grand Wizard of the KKK.

  • Rich Wilson

    Relocated? Wikipedia says he lives in Louisiana. I think he just found a receptive market for his book in Russia.

  • Feminerd

    Really? I thought he actually moved there, at least for a little while.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Yeah, because historically, Russians have been accepting of others who were different, especially the gays.

  • Glasofruix

    Reminds me of a little russian joke that goes around.

    A highly skilled american spy, trained in russian customs and language was sent in Russia during the cold war. He was parachuted near the border with a small village a few km away. In the morning he walks into the village and an old grandma sitting on her porch looks at him and says:

    – You’re not from around here, are you a spy or something?
    – What? No i’m not.
    – You’re definitely a spy, i’m sure of it.
    – I can sing the national anthem, listen.
    proceeds to sing.
    – Nope, you’re a spy.
    – I can gulp a bottle of vodka in one go to prove you i’m not a spy.
    – I’m sure you can.
    He then proceeds to drink his vodka and finally after 2 hours of convincing, defeated, he admits:
    – Ok, you got me, i’m a spy, but how did you know?
    – Dear, in 70 years of my existence, it’s the first time i’m seeing a live nigger.

  • baal

    “their visas should be revoked.”
    Preferably while they are outside of the U.S. :)

  • diogeneslamp0

    I’m 100% straight and married. But when I hear these christofascists go on about their genocidal fag-hatin god, it makes me want to have some gay sex just to see them pull out their hair in rage.

  • Terry Firma

    I’m married and 100% straight too.

    So, what are you doing tonight? 😉

  • Amor DeCosmos

    We should all meet at a gay bar later tonight… you know… just to piss off the christofascists.

  • diogeneslamp0

    I think it’s kinda odd
    That your fag-hatin God
    Created Andromeda and Venus
    And cares where you put’cher penis.

  • The Other Weirdo

    The funny thing is that, whatever else he may be, he is also factually wrong. He is in Russia. People obviously do not have the right to express their opinion there, unless it happens to coincide with that of the government and the rising Church. If he’d held to the opposite opinion, that gays are just people and deserve basic human rights, just like everyone else, he’d find what rights to express his opinion he has.

  • C Peterson

    Not the first Christian to consider ovens as a solution to enforcing their personal view of society and morality. Probably not the last.

  • Matt D

    Dang, I thought I’d get through the whole year without hearing death threats from theists, but they always disappoint me.

  • Rich Wilson


  • Jan Kafka

    “I would put all the gays alive into an oven,” the one-time Orthodox priest has been quoted as saying.

    Just his way of saying, “Gays are hot!”