Photograph by courtesy of ‘Der Spiegel’
Rev. Father Maximiadis
From the beginning of the 20th century, the homosexual and lesbian communities shared common interests. They were advocating for society’s acceptance of lesbian, homosexual (or “gay”), bisexual and transgender people (LGBT). On 18th December 1967, militant homosexual activists, were involved is violent disturbance with the police, at the Black Cat Tavern, Los Angeles in the United States (US). Eighteen months later, on the 28th June 1969, homosexual men and women staged violent demonstrations, against the police, at the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York; which lasted the whole weekend. Although US’s Black Cat Tavern and Stonewall Inn, have been credited as the catalysts of homosexual uprisings against police, they are predated by 289-years. Gay and transgender people fought off the police at Molly House Tavern (a venue where gay and cross-dressing males could rendezvous) in London; in 1725. Subsequent to the Stonewall riots, a new group was formed – by homosexual and lesbian activists – in the following weeks; calling itself the ‘Gay Liberation Front’ (GLF). Employing the word “gay,” was a stratagem to cosmetically gloss over the unfavourable ‘homosexual’ and ‘homophile,’ descriptions; to win gradual public acceptance.
Blurring the Boundaries.
This new insurrectionary and countercultural force (‘Pussy Riot’), is determined to break down the universally accepted societal structures. For example, the institution of marriage, and the family unit; to name a few. Similarly, the GLF believe that heterosexuality needed to be demolished and reconstructed to accommodate homosexuality into social acceptance. Blurring the boundaries between the traditional biological family – which it believes is an anachronistic cultural residue from centuries past – for the preferred homosexual and lesbian cohabitants. The top of its agenda included unbridled sexual liberation and the eradication of existing gender roles. It rejects the dichotomy of the heterosexual and homosexual modes of expression. The GLF brand migrated across the Atlantic to Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Bartholomaios I (Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαῖος Α’), Ecumenical Patriarch, of Constantinople, has made the position of the Orthodox Church quite clear. He stated that: “the cohabitation between two people of the same sex is unknown reprehensible … [and that these are new] inventions,” ‘and has to do with a life full of sins’. He called on the Estonian Government not to legalise same-sex marriages. The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill I (Кирилл A’), stated that same-sex marriage is “a very dangerous sign of the Apocalypse”. (New York Times, 11 August 2013).
Anarchistic, Autonomist, Trotskyist, Punk Feminists.
The Russian punk group Pussy Riot members: Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samusevich et al., are the epitomisation of radical gender feminists. The group was established in August 2011, for the sole purpose to campaign toward their nation’s leader, President Vladimir Putin (whom they regard as a “dictator”). Moreover, his supposed link with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church; Patriarch Kirill. They are outspoken supporters of lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Conservative Russians perceive Pussy Riot’s stance on the LGBT as a negative influence. The Levada poll in 2010, reported 74% of Russians view homosexuality as a “moral perversion” or “mental illness”. The group is anti-authoritarian, and part of the global movement against capitalism, laws that restrict abortions; and women’s rights. They are an indubitable self-confessed punk feminists, anarchists, autonomists and Trotskyists, who engage in disorderly and disruptive demonstrations.
Mocking Christianity’s Chief Symbol – the Cross.
On 21 February 2012, they became a cause célèbre, by engaging in an unbridled disruptive guerrilla activity, in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Храм Христа Спасителя); in Moscow. In front of the Royal Doors of the Holy Iconostasis, they played their guitars and boisterously pranced provocatively. They bellowed derogatory slogans against their nation’s leader, President Putin and were calling the Virgin Mary to become a feminist while irreverently making signs of the cross (signum crucis); and scornful kowtows. Their blasphemous behaviour – wittingly defiling a sacred place – was undoubtedly beyond the pale of decency, particularly in one of Moscow’s most Sacred Cathedrals. Their outrageous antics is now on youtube.
On 3 March 2012, two members of the group, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, were arrested and charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” under the Criminal Code (Article 213).In the Russian Federation, Article 213 carries a maximum 7-years custodial sentence. Samusevich was arrested 13-days later (two other members of the group, were reported to have left the country, to avoid being apprehended). Samusevich was held in custody until she and her co-offenders, stood trial beginning late July and finishing on the 17 August. They were convicted, as charged, and were given a custodial sentence of two years. Samusevich made an appeal application and had her sentence suspended and released on 10 October; under a probation order.
Appeals from Popular Culture.
During their prison term, high profile entertainers viz: Paul McCartney, Björk Guðmundsdóttir, and controversial Madonna Louise Ciccone et al. demanded the release of the women. These entertainers showed no consideration of the cultural complexities of Russian and Western society. The Pussy Riot members distanced themselves from offers of assistance, from Western performers, e.g., Ciccone, who invited the group to sing with her. They refused; saying: “… the only performances we’ll participate in are illegal ones … we refuse to perform as part of the capitalist system”.
The Lure of the Greenbacks and Red Carpets.
However, after having served 21-months of their sentence, the State Duma granted amnesty for their release on 23 December 2013; after which the lure of the capitalist West soon followed. They instantly metamorphosed from former criminals into punk celebrities appearing on the red carpet walks across the continental United States. Notwithstanding their earlier refusal to accept an invitation to perform with Ciccone, both Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina did an abrupt opportunistic turnaround. They accepted the “capitalist” invitation; by Ciccone to perform in the 2014 Amnesty concert in New York.
Bundestag’s Double Standards, and the Russian Judicial system.
Others who petitioned support for the women were the 120 members of the German Bundestag, who described the ‘proceedings against the women as disproportionate and draconian’. It would appear that the Bundestag has demonstrated a double standard towards the Russian judiciary. If the women had committed the same offence in Germany, they would have been in breach of Germany’s criminal laws codified in Article 166, §11, par. 3 of the Strafgesetzbuch, for having committed “blasphemy”. Moreover, “disturb[ing] the public peace, [and] a church established in Germany,” and if convicted, would have been “fined or imprisoned for up to three years”. The “proceedings,” in either Germany or Russia would not be so “disproportionate and draconian,” considering the women were given access to natural justice under the Russian judicial system. The Russian judicial system is identical to German law.
Britain’s Kerry McCarthy’s blind eye to British Law.
Britain’s Shadow Foreign Minister for Human Rights, Kerry McCarthy, also supported the group, describing the Russian court proceedings as “surreal”. Perhaps McCarthy ought to look close to home, by comparing British judicial proceedings with those of Russia. For example, the case concerning controversial Peter Tatchell, lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activist. Tatchell mounted a pulpit during the Easter sermon, officiated by George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury – while the congregants shouted: “Get out, get out!”. Tatchell denounced the archbishop for what he [Tatchell] considered, his “opposition to legal equality for LGBT people”. Tatchell was convicted under Section 2 of The Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860 (23 24 Vict c 32), which prohibits “riotous, violent or indecent behaviour in any church building or burial ground”. He was fined £18.60 plus court costs. At the end of the trial, Tatchell said he was “staggered” learning of the existence of the 1860 law, which provided special protection to the church. Would Kerry McCarthy consider the Peter Tatchell court proceedings “surreal” for his “riotous, indecent behaviour in a church”?
Hooliganism is not a Crime, providing it’s Not in Your Backyard.
Amnesty International (AI) considered the conviction as “a bitter blow for freedom of expression,” and called the convicted women, “prisoners of conscience”. Moreover, demanded their immediate release, stating: “Hooliganism does not justify the imprisonment and is not a legal reaction to peaceful political demonstrations”. Amnesty International in describing the convicted women, as “prisoners of conscience,” is misleading. These women were unmistakably charged and convicted, by a Moscow court for: “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” under Russia’s Criminal Code (Article 213). They received a custodial sentence of two years. The self-confessed unapologetic anarchists and radical gender feminists exercised their “freedom,” in disruptive guerrilla activity; in a sacred space. A sacred space set aside for worshippers, who should not be denied their freedom of expression, by outrageous punk-feminists engaging in activity that was beyond the pale of “peaceful political demonstrations”.
Mireille Mathieu, the multi-lingual nouvelle chanson artist, said on the Parisian based On’est pas couché talk-show, “… the Pussy Riot had committed a sacrilege in the church by having a political demonstration against President Putin. As a woman artist and a Christian, I beg the indulgence of these three girls”. Subsequent to the programme, Mathieu’s lawyer sued the television station for defamation, for editing out the latter part of her statement, and accusing her of being a “tool of President Putin”.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill said: “After such blasphemy, one should not be allowed to simply carry on”. [sic] “Pope Benedict XVI expressed his solidarity with that position of the Russian Orthodox Church. He expressed his surprise with respect to the reaction of some of the media on these events” [sic] said the press notice. (Michael Day, Milan, 18 October 2012) President Putin said the group had “undermined the moral foundations [of the nation], and got what they asked for”. The overall public opinion was unsympathetic to the women. One survey suggested that approximately 46% of Russians considered the penalty appropriate. After having served 21-months of their sentence, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, were granted an amnesty, by the State Duma, and released on the 23 December 2013.
Radical Feminism, as well as the New Age Movement, are bent on eradicating the Christian Church’s institutions; whom they consider are restricting their freedom of “choice”. They rigorously campaign for the demolition of the time-honoured moral frameworks instead of “choice” as a hedonistic moral marker, a common symptom of the ‘me generation’. Moral frameworks have faithfully served as the unifying factors of society. Notwithstanding, the multiple layers of social responsibilities, free individual “choice” or collective cohesion; whether the outcome will be good or bad, will become apparent after the dust settles.
~ Finis ~