Russian man may be jailed for claiming that there is no God

Russian man may be jailed for claiming that there is no God March 3, 2016

Viktor Krasnov, 38, above, is on trial in Russia for insulting the feelings of religious believers during an Internet exchange.
Krasnov is being prosecuted under a controversial 2013 law that was introduced after punk art group Pussy Riot was jailed for a performance in Moscow’s main cathedral, his lawyer Andrei Sabinin was quoted as saying in this report.
The case brought against him centres on an Internet exchange in which Krasnov was involved in 2014 on a humorous website in his hometown of Stavropol. He wrote:

If I say that the collection of Jewish fairy tales entitled the Bible is complete bullshit, that is that. At least for me. There is no God!

One of the young people involved in the exchange then ran off to lodge a complaint with the authorities and Krasnov was brought to trial. If convicted he could be jailed for one year.
Krasnov, whose trial began last month, spent one month in a psychiatric ward last year undergoing examinations before he was finally deemed to be sane.
Krasnov’s lawyer insisted that his client was “simply an atheist” and that he had taken aim at both “Halloween and Yiddish holidays” in the same exchange.
Meanwhile, it is reported from Germany that a retired teacher has been fined €500 (£400) for defaming Christianity under the country’s rarely enforced blasphemy laws.

Albert Voss, a former physics teacher and avowed atheist, was convicted of blasphemy after he daubed the rear window of his car with anti-Christian slogans.
The 66-year-old drove around his home city of Münster, in western Germany, with the slogans clearly displayed. One read:

The church is looking for modern advertising ideas. I can help.

Another declared:

Jesus, our favorite artist: hanging for 2,000 years and he still hasn’t got cramp.

Münster is a heavily Catholic city, and an unnamed local filed a complaint with the police, who seized Mr Voss’ car and suspended his driving license.
The former teacher argued the anti-Christian messages were protected by his right to free expression. But the court ruled the slogans amounted to defamation of religion and had broken Germany’s blasphemy laws.
He was told by the judge:

You should have known that what you did is a criminal offence. The Pope and the cross are central elements of the Catholic faith. I do not consider this art. Freedom of expression is limited by the law.

Voss retorted:

I come from a Christian home, I was an altar boy. Later I realised faith rests on dubious foundations.

Under German law, blasphemy is only illegal if it is considered to be “capable of disturbing the peace”.
Those found guilty can be sentenced to up to three years in prison, but the law is rarely enforced.
People can be convicted of blasphemy for defaming any religion. In 2006, a man was given a one-year suspended sentence for g distributing sheets of toilet paper with the word “Koran” printed on them.
Hat tip: Peter Sykes (Russian report)

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  • Newspaniard

    With the new laws proposed by our wonderful home secretary, it looks as if we are heading the same way. Blasphemy laws were abolished but far more draconian laws, on the same subject but with different wording were introduced at the same time. Now more laws are coming in which are supposed to be against terrorists but will actually be used your average Joe in the street and never against the islamists who call for his death.

  • Horace

    Religion fucks up everything again. Europe was doing just fine until christian dogma got its grip around the throat of reason and plunged Europe into the darks ages when the godly enjoyed total power and control. Step out of line … thats you done. Burnt at the stake, thrown in the oubliette, hung drawn quartered … this is what the pious did when their power was threatened. Daesh are trying to establish the same system now.And in civilised countries the saintly control freaks are bullying their way into power again. Got to fight back at every opportunity.

  • Broga

    God is in trouble if this is the quality of his defenders. A rational defence with debate seems the last thing they want. And I understand why.

  • Rob Andrews

    I don’t know about Russia, but Germany is a country that should have something like the ACLU to defend him.Or some other atheist or humanist group willing to appeal to a higher court.
    But then this kind or railroading is something that easly happens in countries without jury trials. i know Russia doesn’t have them.
    Here’s some more funny blashamy:
    “Blashamy is a victimless crime”.
    “Religion is good stuff for keeping the common people quiet”.-Napoleon

  • The Western experiment with freedom of speech appears to have been judged a failure. Blasphemy laws, heresy laws and hate speech laws enjoy broad support. The small candle that was lit only a few generations ago in a only few nations won’t be a threat to the merchants of darkness much longer.

  • Broga

    @Trevor Blake: The irony is that free speech is being curbed to protect challenges to beliefs that are incredible. However, with the shiftiness that characterises so much of religion and politics we are being told that we have free speech but we must not upset religious sensitivities. At one stroke, free speech is gone to be replaced by “free speech” as long as the comments are what the religious can tolerate hearing.
    And yet authors like Richard Dawkins and others write books that are best sellers. There is an appetite for rational challenge to religion. This is what the religious fear. Encourage thinking and the entire religious edifice is in danger. But the hold of priests on their flocks is such that even the most obvious evidence of the incredibility of belief is ignored. So many prefer the priests to do their thinking for them.
    I still think atheism continues, and will continue, to spread. Its influence depends on education which is why faith schools are so important to the churches.

  • AgentCormac

    ‘I still think atheism continues, and will continue, to spread.’
    Completely agree, Broga. And the more religions of all brands rely on idiot, injust laws to prop up their transparently worthless dogma, and the more they resort to violence and intimidation to prop up their power base, the more their desperation shows. No longer are they above crticism. No longer can they get away with their crimes with impunity. No longer do their superstitions and lies go unchallenged. Religion and the 21st century are not good bed fellows by any stretch of the imagination. Science continues to explain everything and becomes ever-more mainstream. Religion has, increasingly, nowhere left to hide. Give it another couple of hundred years and they’ll be history.
    Only pity is, you and I won’t be here to say ‘I told you so’.

  • Rob Andrews

    A lot of posts on the article say that “science and education are going to end religion”.
    I think religion is more about emotions than reason to begin with.. This may sound cynical but it’s ‘fear of death’ and wanting to have a ‘loving father figure to help out’. So if true, it’s a long and health life plus a government that helps it’s people that will make theism fade away.
    But that won’t be for some time yet.
    “An atheist is a person with no invisible means of support”-from the web..

  • barriejohn

    Rob Andrews: I agree. The religious tend to commit to their faith emotionally, and THEN make attempts to rationalize their belief. That explains why the most intelligent of people can supposedly go along with the most childish nonsense.

  • 1859

    Perhaps they think he’s going to ‘find’ god in jail? Though I’m not sure Russian jails are such enlightened places.

  • H3r3tic

    On the subject of restricting our freedom of speech, I assume you’ve seen this? Would love to know what is on the list of words that Mark Thomas has submitted for clarification; Cockwomble? Godbotherer?

  • H3r3tic
  • John

    There are additional aspects to this situation.
    Many former Soviet or eastern bloc countries are now having to establish a new identity, and a new and more virulent form of nationalism has emerged to replace the former communistic beliefs they formerly had.
    This has allowed religion to rear its ugly head and to start extracting all sorts of concessions from many of the new states and new politicians.
    Putin’s Russia – for example – has handed over vast amounts of money and land to the Russian Orthodox Church. I believe similar things have happened in Romania and Hungary et. al. – both EU member states.
    We – including the BHA and NSS – need to watch all this blasphemy lark very carefully and to take co-ordinated action against it whenever necessary.