It is said that the Catholic church lost its best argument when it stopped burning people at the stake. In that spirit, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is taking steps toward securing the sanctuary every person who cannot defend his position wishes for: being able to punish those who do not treat your position with de facto reverence.
Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill is in support of the idea of criminal prosecution for blasphemy similar the performance of the female punk band ‘Pussy Riot’ in Moscow’s main cathedral.
“The law must protect not only symbols of secular importance, but also objects with sacred meaning for the believers and guard their religious feelings from insults,” Kirill was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as telling a conclave of the Orthodox clergy in the Russian capital on Saturday.
When arguing with believers, they often ask how I’d feel if they mocked my beliefs. My answer is always the same: go for it. Mockery is a double-edged sword. If you mock something that can be defended, it’s you that winds up looking like the fool, not your target. If you mock my beliefs, I will merely defend them. I don’t need to demand that anybody treat them with respect out of hand. And, if you thought my beliefs were ridiculous, I wouldn’t want you to.
But that’s just me. I actually care about whether my beliefs are true, not whether or not they’re bowed to (I trust their defensibility to take care of that). It is the dream of every guardian of folly to be able to punish those who vocally disrespect the ridiculous. Sadly, Russia’s going to make that dream come true for a large group of exactly that type of person.