Patriarch Kiril, the supreme leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, is unsurprisingly criticizing the publishing of cartoons that are viewed as blasphemous by some Muslims. Kiril was the main force pushing for harsh anti-blasphemy laws in Russia, so this is expected.
“By saying no to terrorism, killings and violence we now say no to the wish of some groups of people to mock people’s religious feelings, the patriarch said after a liturgy he served in the cathedral of Christ the Savior on Sunday, which was St. Tatiana’s Day in Russia (the All-Russian Students Day) commenting on the publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad by the French weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The patriarch said the publication led to terrorist attacks in France, in which innocent people were killed. At the same time, he criticized attempts to justify the journalist behavior with freedom of speech.
“How could they join people who sympathize with victims of terrorism and the protection and justification of horrible blasphemy in one protest!” he said.
Patriarch Kirill said freedom ends “where human ugliness, tasteless, immorality, and destruction of the moral nature of man begins.”
The patriarch also said that “our people were not tempted by the dangerous ideas, which allege that any profanity can be committed in the name of human choice.”
Authoritarianism is quite tempting, especially to those who hold the authority. In Russia, it’s Kiril himself who would have the power to silence his enemies and it is power that he badly wants (and has already received). Just another example of religious totalitarianism.