Voices from Russia

Thursday, 19 April 2012

19 April 2012. The Best of Friends…

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An Asian Black Bear and a black cat… a cat and a cockatoo… “Well, dog my cat”, as that great philosopher Jed Clampett would say. The world’s FULL of “passing strange” things, isn’t it?

BMD

19 April 2012. Atheism is On the Rise… and We’re the Main Culprits…

In God’s Country, That Is, The USA

N Kogout

1930

Bezbozhnik

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Things haven’t changed much in some ways… we should turn our gaze not to notional “sinners” outside us, but rather to our own very real shortcomings and failings, and try to remedy THEM…

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Atheism is on the march, and I believe that so-called “Christians” are the main cause of it all. Firstly, read this. Note the following from it:

Only between 1.5 and 4 percent of Americans admit to so-called “hard atheism”, the conviction that no higher power exists. However, a much larger share of the American public (19 percent) spurns organised religion in favour of a non-defined scepticism about faith. This group, sometimes collectively labelled the “Nones”, is growing faster than any religious faith in the USA. About two-thirds of Nones say they are former believers; 24 percent are lapsed Catholics and 29 percent once identified with other Christian denominations. …

It’s primarily a backlash against the religious Right, say political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell. In their book, American Grace, they argue that the religious Right’s politicisation of faith in the 1990s turned younger socially-liberal Christians away from churches, even as conservatives became more zealous. The churches’ Old Testament condemnation of homosexuals, premarital sex, contraception, and abortion turned off the dropouts. The Catholic Church‘s sex scandals also prompted millions to equate religion with moralistic hypocrisy. Putnam and Campbell wrote, “While the Republican base has become ever more committed to mixing religion and politics, the rest of the country has been moving in the opposite direction”. As society becomes more secular, researchers say, doubters are more confident about identifying themselves as non-believers. Author Diana Butler Bass said, “The collapse of institutional religion in the first 10 years of this century [has] freed so many people to say they don’t really care”.

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Now, let’s look at a possible reason. Read this. Here’s some of the guts of that:

The Catholic Church is up in arms over President Obama’s upcoming rule requiring “Catholic institutions” to provide free contraceptive coverage in their healthcare plans. That’s hogwash because the institutions themselves aren’t Catholic. They’re business entities, not living humans with brains, and, as such, can hold no religious belief. They aren’t Catholic institutions. They’re institutions run by Catholic people.

The Catholic Church is really objecting to Catholic executives being unable to impose their dogma on others. Question: Whose religion prevails if the employee’s religion requires sexual acts? The CNN report also mentions the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) releasing a document called Our First, Most Cherished Freedom that repeats the claim that religious liberty is under attack. Unless “freedom to impose your religious will on others who do not want it” is the definition of religious liberty, it isn’t under attack at all.

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Let’s not put too fine a face upon this. The Catholic Church is upset that it can’t ram its beliefs down the throats of employees of Catholic institutions, people who may NOT be Catholics. This isn’t about religious freedom at all… it’s about the Catholic Church being above the law. Look at how they dealt with their paedophilia scandals. That certainly doesn’t raise one’s confidence in their credibility, does it? The Catholic hierarchy REFUSED to deal with the scandal until they were dragged kicking and screaming into court. Indeed, the current ranting about “religious freedom” is an attempt to divert people’s attention from the rather sorry state of the Catholic Church in the USA. The only thing that saved their gnarly arse from penury is that there’s no “Catholic Church in the USA, Incorporated” registered as a legal entity in any US state. Legally, nothing exists above the individual diocese in the Catholic Church. Therefore, no court can recover damages from any body higher than that.

Here’s something for Orthodox to think about. Legally, “umbrella” corporations DO exist, such as the “Orthodox Church in America” and the “Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’ (to name two). This means that a court CAN assess recovery for damages against a national body, as it’s a “legal person” with “legal existence”. The “Catholic Church in the USA” certainly has an existence in actual, objective, and existential terms, but it has no legal embodiment, ergo, no one can make claims against it. So far, we’ve “dodged the bullet”… I think that’s ending. I’d watch the Storheim case in Canada carefully.

Why is atheism rising? One reason is that we’ve failed the test, as far as character, honesty, and honour goes. Another is that we’ve allowed the “loudest” faction to grab the wheel, making it appear as though the Church is more in favour of the Radical Right agenda than it actually is. Lastly, we’re allowing mewling infants to speak for us; putting us in the same boat as such Sects as White Evangelicals, Mormons, Moonies, and Pentecostalists, just because they’re part of the American Right.

The Church is the Big Tent… it isn’t Gideon’s Band… it isn’t the Little Flock. Christ came for all us sinful-ginfuls, and the conventional goodthinkers of his time saw to it that He was tacked to a cross to die slowly, painfully, and horribly. Today’s “Christians” would do likewise, to speak bluntly. That’s why atheism’s on the march. We’ve not lived up to our profession of faith. Why should anyone put credence in those who demand freedom for themselves, but deny it to others? I’m not alone in wondering that…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Thursday 19 April 2012

Albany NY

Pussy Riot to Remain Behind Bars

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On Thursday, a Moscow court ruled that three members of the all-female punk group Pussy Riot must remain in custody until at least 24 June for taking part in an anti-Putin protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Art group Voina reported in its Twitter microblog that suspect Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said as she was led away, “No one’s to blame for this situation but Vladimir Putin”. fellow suspect Maria Alyokhina, alluding to the height of Soviet dictator Iosif Stalin’s terror, in a quote carried by the RAPSI news agency, stated, “If I cannot hear my child’s voice because of my criticism of the authorities, then welcome to 1937”. All three of the accused face sentences of up to seven years on hooliganism charges. A date for their trial hasn’t been set as investigators continue their probe. On Thursday, Pussy Riot lawyer Nikolai Polozov told the Public Post website that the police hadn’t questioned the suspects since their initial arrest. Earlier in the day, Polozov told RIA-Novosti, “This is a mockery of a case and it should be closed immediately”.

Some 300 people gathered in front of the court to demand freedom for the suspects, arrested by the police in early and mid-March. Police made a number of arrests, arresting some 30 demonstrators wearing t-shirts in support of the group. The Prokuratura asked the court to continue the custody of the Pussy Riot suspects to “ensure the safety” of the accused. A lawyer for the group said that some people had made death threats against the suspects and their children in March. The ruling came ahead of a 22 April “Defence of the Faith” nationwide prayer action called by the MP to protect it from attacks by “anti-Russian forces”.

Five masked members of Pussy Riot performed a protest song entitled Holy Shit before the Royal Gates at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in downtown Moscow on February 21. The lyrics included lines such as “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, chase Putin out!” Pussy Riot said the performance was a response to MP First Hierarch Patriarch Kirill’s backing of President-elect Vladimir Putin in the run-up to his landslide 4 March election victory. The patriarch called the 12 years of Putin’s rule a “miracle of God” in a televised meeting. Putin’s press secretary said the president-elect reacted “negatively” when told of Pussy Riot’s protest.

An opinion poll released on Monday by VTsIOM indicated that a mere 10 percent of Russians want to see the suspects remain behind bars. Just over half of the respondents favoured community work or a fine. Yevgenia Chirikova {a pro-US extremist, has met with Biden and McFaul… a violent supporter of “Democracy”: editor}, one of the leaders of this winter’s anti-Putin protests said in her Twitter microblog that the decision not to free the suspects on bail had “set Russia back 500 years. Welcome to the Middle Ages!” The police arrested Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich in early and mid-March. All the suspects admit being part of the Pussy Riot collective, but deny taking part in the cathedral performance. Both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have small children.

Amnesty International recognised the suspects of prisoners of conscience earlier this month, and a number of public and Orthodox figures have called for their release. However, an MP spokesman slammed Amnesty’s decision, calling it an “insult to those genuine prisoners of conscience who’ve suffered under totalitarian regimes such as China, Iran, the Soviet Union, and Hitler’s Germany”. Some 10,000 people attended a rally condemning the group’s actions in the south Russian city of Krasnodar early in April. Patriarch Kirill hit out at those who he said seek to “justify and downplay this sacrilege” in an address to believers in March, saying, “My heart breaks from bitterness that amongst these people there are those who call themselves Orthodox”.

Pussy Riot first hit the headlines in January, when they raced through a musical diatribe against Putin on a snowy Red Square, calling for “Revolt in Russia!” and chanting, “Putin’s got scared” before the police arrested them.

19 April 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/society/20120419/172921607.html

Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep it simple… how would Fox News react if Vladimir Putin were to personally met with and give his sympathy to Trayvon Martin’s family? Why, they’d be up in arms! “How dare he! He’s interfering in our internal affairs!” Yes… what’s good for one side is good for the other, and Americans have to keep their greedy paws off other countries. The world is NOT the oyster of the One Percent… no, never! That’s what “Democracy” really means for them… look at Katrina vanden Heuvel, and you’ll know what I mean (the “limousine liberals” are just another form of capitalist… a rather more hypocritical and pernicious breed than their “conservative” counterparts)…

By the way, all that American meddling is doing is pissing off MP elements that might’ve tilted their way due to social conservatism. American interference is so blatant and condescending that it pisses off all true decent Russians. The Americans are listening to an unrepresentative 5 percent slice of zapadniki… but then again, the Americans kick their own 99 percent in the arse unmercifully, so, why should they give a damn for their Russian analogues?

BMD

19 April 2012. RIA-Novosti Video. Lest We Forget… “The Holocaust, A Catastrophe for European Jews”

Don’t listen to the David Irving and his ilk on the right… the Nazis did murder helpless people on the basis of race hatred, and that’s that. What does that tell us about our own haters, about the racists in our own midst? Now, that’s something to ponder…

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Click here for the RIA-Novosti video. My Nicky said it was gruesome… and it is. Reflect that there are people today who share the Nazis’ racial lunacy… and that racism is NOT dead, unfortunately. THIS is what racism leads to… not pretty is it? American Exceptionalism IS a similar hubristical ideology (but its hatred is based on ideological and conceptual grounds, not racism)… when shall we cleanse ourselves of its amoral rot?

BMD

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