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  • » 05/06/2010, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Orthodox: Europe allows freedom to criticise religions, but censors their voice in society



    In response to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, who termed religious beliefs as "myths”. For the Moscow Patriarchate, Europe which boasts "freedom of expression," restricts the right of believers to express their ideas in society, in particular on bioethics and homosexual marriages.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - Europe applies double standards in dealing with measures of freedom of expression in society. This is the charge launched by the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, concerned that this fundamental right is not fully applied to religious communities. The deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Patriarchate, the abbot Philipp Ryabykh, told Interfax news agency: “In the Western world the right to criticize every religious point of view is often claimed, but at the same time symbols of faith are censored and the religious approach to political and social life of citizens censored”.  

    This is how the priest responds to the words of Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, according to whom criticism of governments and religions, "their myths and ideas”, meet European democratic standards. The religious outlook of many problems Ryabykh continues, "is often not considered in the same way as that based on scientific method or humanism, and indeed it is relegated to the realm of mythology, an insult to people who believe."  

    Furthermore the priest points out that "religious language is censored in public life, thus Christmas becomes a simple holiday season, the Christmas tree is removed from public places as well as the crib to the point that they are even proposing to remove the crucifix from schools. " Europe "often calls for respect for freedom of expression and yet it restricts the right of believers to be in society with their views."  

    Father Philipp calls for guarantees for the rights of religious communities to freely express their concerns on issues of bioethics or same-sex marriages: "If we build a society in which religious believers can also speak freely, we will have achieved the desired result for Europe '.  

    In a recent article Jagland reiterated, "Freedom of speech and expression is the very essence of European identity."

     

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