The Union of Orthodox Citizens urged the Foreign Ministry to conduct its own assessment of the state of the freedom of conscience globally and publish an annual report, just as the US State Department does. “We urge the Russian Foreign Ministry not to limit itself to criticism of the US State Department, but, to produce its own report on the observance of human rights and freedom of conscience globally, especially on the post-Soviet space”, the Moscow branch of the Union said in a statement made available to Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.
Every year, the US State Department assesses the human rights record globally, yet, it “absolutely refuses to see” the abuses against the freedom of religion in the Ukraine, or the times “when the rights of millions of Ukrainians who oppose the separation of the Ukrainian Church from the MP are trampled underfoot”, the Union said. “The churches seized by the activists of the ‘Kiev Patriarchate’ are not returned to the canonical Church in defiance of court rulings, whilst prominent political leaders of the ‘Orange’ faction, who are the organisers of these seizures and of the many attacks on clergy and faithful, are not punished and continue to pursue a policy of state interference in the internal affairs of the Church. This is a vivid example of tendentiousness, bias, and double standards”, the group said.
Moreover, any future report by the Foreign Ministry should centre on “such outstanding violations of the rights of Christians in the United States as the right to publicly express their opinions, as well as the right to religious education in school. It should also highlight the problems of banning Christianity from the public square and political Christophobia in the USA”, the statement said. “Russia must do this as the leader of Orthodox civilisation and as the foremost defender of Christian values in the entire world”, the Union said.
Recently, the Foreign Ministry criticised the US State Department’s annual report for a “tendentious approach” to Russia. The Foreign Ministry said that the report provided only a “standard list of claims” and again baselessly argued that “the Orthodox Church has a privileged status” in Russia.
30 September 2008
Last year, one of the leading lights in the Saint Vladimir Seminary faction (who shall remain nameless) made a baseless attack on Orthodox lay groups such as the Union of Orthodox Citizens and the Society of Orthodox Banner-bearers. He used such groundless attacks as “Orthodox skinheads” and other such rot. It was fawned over by the usual cast of suspects on Harry Coin’s Orthodox Forum (which arrogates to itself the role of the foremost Orthodox list on the web, although it only has some 1,500 members out of the 1 million Orthodox in this country).
In short, these people hate the current revival in Russia, support a Russophobic policy in line with that of the neocons, and spread lies about the supposed corruption of the Church in Russia. I would say that anyone from the OCA or the AOCANA should be careful in issuing such attacks after the attested antics and hijinks of SVS, Syosset, and Philip Saliba. Some of the bitterest opponents of the Church are within it, and one must face this fact. They are advocates of such questionable figures as Aleksandr Men, Alexander Schmemann, Georgi Kochetkov, Bradley Nassif, Paul Meyendorff, and Peter Gillquist.
I say let these sorts spin off into irrelevance and heresy. Nothing can be done for them; their minds are made up and fixed. The rest of us should link arms with such good people such as Archbishop Vikenty Morar of Yekatrinburg, Kirill Frolov, the Union of Orthodox Citizens, the Banner-bearers, Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, Deacon Andrei Kuraev, and the Andrei Pervozvanny Foundation. We should concentrate on building up the Church, and help the RF Foreign Ministry ferret out the many cases of abuse against religion in this country by the secularist government (especially the courts), to make it known to the world.
America’s restrictions on religion should be made known. If nothing else, it would silence the neocons and expose their hypocrisy. May God give us such.