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Russ Orth activists denounce evolution at Moscow Museum

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    http://uk.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=UKBRE92H0WU20130318   Russian Orthodox activists denounce evolution at Moscow Museum Mon, Mar 18 2013 By Gabriela
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 18, 2013
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      http://uk.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=UKBRE92H0WU20130318
       
      Russian Orthodox activists denounce evolution at Moscow Museum
      Mon, Mar 18 2013
      By Gabriela
      Baczynska
       
      MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Orthodox religious activists festooned a Moscow
      museum named for Charles Darwin with banners and leaflets denouncing evolution
      theory in a display of disdain for secular education.
       
      The incident on Sunday at the Darwin natural history museum named for the
      Victorian British naturalist who expounded the theory of natural selection was a
      non-violent but bold attack on secular traditions that remain strong despite a
      post-Soviet revival of the Russian Orthodox Church.
       
      Footage released by Orthodox activist group Bozhaya Volya, or God's Will,
      showed activists unfurling a banner reading "God created the world" on the
      building's facade while others threw leaflets bearing creationist slogans into
      the lobby of a popular destination for school trips and family outings in the
      capital.
       
      "God created kittens!" read one leaflet visible in the video, which also
      featured activists holding banners disparaging the theory of evolution as a
      "pseudo-scientific myth" and singing religious songs.
       
      "Checkmate atheists! In the year 7522 since the creation of the world,
      creationists have seized the Darwin museum," a member of the group which
      advocates "the revival and development of Russia as an Orthodox Empire" said on
      Twitter.
       
      Moscow police said they had not received any complaints from the museum about
      the incident. The museum, which is closed on Mondays, could not immediately be
      reached for comment, and the Russian Orthodox Church could also not immediately
      be reached.
       
      About two-thirds of Russians consider themselves Russian Orthodox and the
      church has gained influence since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, drawing
      concern from critics who say it is too powerful in a secular state.
       
      Tension between Russian Orthodox activists and secular liberals has increased
      in recent years.
      Activists have occasionally vandalized art exhibits they have denounced as
      blasphemous, while two women from the band Pussy Riot were convicted of a
      religious hate crime for a "punk protest" in Moscow's main cathedral in February
      2012.
       
      The women, who urged the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of then Prime Minister
      Vladimir Putin, are now serving two-year prison terms.
       
      The singers said they had not meant to offend the faithful, only to lampoon
      the church's ties to Putin, who was praised by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill
      during his successful campaign to win a third presidential term weeks later.
       
      (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Steve Gutterman)

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