The head of the Russian Orthodox Christian Church shot back on Friday at critics that accuse the church of blending with the state, as allegedly evidenced by a draft bill criminalizing religious offense.
The church is not interested in obtaining state powers or even a state status “as in certain European countries,” Patriarch Kirill said in an apparent reference to legal privileges of Lutheran churches in Scandinavia.
But demands to separate the church and the state often mask the attempt to force the church to give up its ministerial mission and the believers to abandon their civil rights and responsibilities, Kirill said.
He spoke at a conference at the Moscow State University, which students reported earlier to be forced to attend, a move that drew rebuke from church leadership.
A bill proposing to punish offense of religious sentiment with jail terms of up to three years is currently pending review in the State Duma, where it is expected to be backed by all four parliamentary factions.
The bill’s critics say it discriminates against non-believers and is aimed at strengthening the union between the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church, which flourished after Kirill backed Vladimir Putin’s presidential bid earlier this year.
The fact of registration and authorization of users on Sputnik websites via users’ account or accounts on social networks indicates acceptance of these rules.
Users are obliged abide by national and international laws. Users are obliged to speak respectfully to the other participants in the discussion, readers and individuals referenced in the posts.
The websites’ administration has the right to delete comments made in languages other than the language of the majority of the websites’ content.
In all language versions of the sputniknews.com websites any comments posted can be edited.
A user comment will be deleted if it:
The administration has the right to block a user’s access to the page or delete a user’s account without notice if the user is in violation of these rules or if behavior indicating said violation is detected.
Users can initiate the recovery of their account / unlock access by contacting the moderators at firstname.lastname@example.org
The letter must contain:
If the moderators deem it possible to restore the account / unlock access, it will be done.
In the case of repeated violations of the rules above resulting in a second block of a user’s account, access cannot be restored.
To contact the team of moderators, write to email@example.com