Today, the feminist-punk-collective Pussy Riot was supposed to have a hearing. It was delayed because one of the members dismissed her attorney. However, on the eve of the court date, the Russian Orthodox Church urged government officials to grant the women clemency.
Well, they didn’t just encourage clemency — they said that the women should be forgiven and release from prison if they repent:
On the eve of a critical appeals hearing, the Russian Orthodox Church has called for leniency for three young feminist punk rockers who received worldwide attention after performing a subversive stunt in a Moscow cathedral.
On Monday a court will hear the appeal of three members of the group Pussy Riot, who were sentenced to two years in jail in August for what they called a “punk prayer” in Christ the Savior Cathedral, in which they begged for divine intervention to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.
The church released a statement saying that the stunt “can’t be left unpunished,” but that if they show “penitence and reconsideration of their action,” then that “shouldn’t be left unnoticed,” according to The Associated Press.
That’s right, the church’s position is that grace is earned by an act of repentance, not freely given.
For my new book, I’ve been thinking a lot about the activity of God, and whether God’s activity is contingent on human action. I don’t think so. That seems to me to make God not much more than a glorified human being.
The church is arguably God’s agent in the world (I don’t necessarily think that, but the Orthodox Church surely does). So don’t you think that the church should advocate for free grace being shown to the members of Pussy Riot, regardless of whether or not they repent?