Russian court finds Pussy Riot members guilty of hooliganism

CNN reports that “a judge found three members of the Russian female punk rock band Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism Friday for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin.

Judge Marina Sirovaya said the charges against the three women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich — were proved by witnesses and the facts.

The Pussy Riot members were charged after screaming “Mother Mary, please drive Putin away” in a protest act inside Christ Savior Cathedral, one of Moscow’s grandest houses of worship, in February.

Sirovaya is expected to hand down the sentence against the women once the facts of the case have been read out, Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency said.”

The article also says that “they were accused of offending the churchgoers present, through their actions and their clothing, and showing a lack of respect for the rules of the Orthodox Church.

While their action outraged many of Russia’s faithful, their trial prompted international concern about freedom of speech in Russia.”

Such concern for freedom of speech was expressed by Madonna, who said at Tuesday’s concert, according to RIA Novosti: “Everyone has the right to free speech, everywhere in the world. Maria, Katya, Nadia, I pray for you. They did something brave with their action. And I am praying for their freedom.”

The article also says that “rallies have been organized in their support outside Russian embassies around the world, including London and Washington.”

For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin “criticized the women’s action earlier this month, but said they should not be judged ‘too harshly’, RIA Novosti said. He added that he hoped the court makes ‘the right decision’.”

Read the entire article here

This case has created a heated debate between those who support freedom of speech in all cases and those who think that there are limits to how freedom of speech is expressed.

Manichaeans support freedom of speech for all people in the world, regardless of race, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation.

With that being said, we Manichaeans also believe that every house of worship, regardless of the religious group, should be treated with respect.

A house of worship is a sacred space where people congregate to worship God. It is not a place to make protests against the government while wearing revealing clothing, shouting profanities, and playing the guitar as if it were a rock concert.

This is nothing else but defilement. The fact that people are so concerned about freedom of speech, but show little to no concern for the sanctity of a house of worship should give everyone an insight into the times we are living in.

If the band members want to express their disapproval of Putin’s government, they are free to do so, but they should do it in a public space in which it is legal to make protests, and not in a house dedicated to the worship of God.

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