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East European Churches Seek to Redefine Human Rights

Following on from yesterday’s blog entry, news via Kommersant, under the headline “Christians Do Not Believe in Human Rights”:

Meeting of Christian leaders of CIS and Baltic countries ended in Moscow yesterday. One of the chief issues on the agenda was the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) to reconsider the concept of human rights existing in secular world.

…”We are for changing the existing human rights, up to reconsidering the International Human Rights Declaration,” said Pastor Konstantin Benas, executive secretary of the United Russian Union of Gospel Faith Christians. “For there cannot be universal human rights,” he added.

Instead, human rights should mean: (1) the right of religious groups not to be offended, and (2) no gays. Interfax gives further details:

“We are confident that attempts to corrode traditional family values, legalize same-sex unions and drugs, give moral justification to abortions and euthanasia, promote ‘the culture of death’, inter-ethnic and inter-religious discord, violence, fornication, homosexuality and other vices dangerous for the individual and the society are destructive tendencies,” says the final document of the forum posted on the Moscow Patriarchate website on Monday.

Also at the conference was British cleric Colin Williams, who is General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches; a curious photo with the Kommersant report shows Williams surrounded by Russian priests who are pointing excitedly at something off-camera. The caption reads:

Russian Orthodox Church members showed the drawbacks of liberal values to Secretary General of the Conference of European Churches Colin Williams (center).

The cause of the agitation is left to our imagination.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, has been on the receiving end of protests in London, due to his forbidding of gay pride marches on the grounds that such events are “satanic”. London mayor Ken Livingstone, who was Luzhkov’s host, tried to head off the problem by bizarrely suggesting that the protesters’ organiser, the indefatigable Peter Tatchell, was motivated by “Islamophobia”.

One Response

  1. […] is a familiar rhetorical strategy in Russia these days; the Orthodox interpretation of “human rights” means the right of Orthodox believers not to be criticized or […]

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