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Initial adoption of believers' feelings bill prompts dissent

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/1304c.html#16 Initial adoption of believers feelings bill prompts dissent INTRODUCTION OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY FOR
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 11, 2013
      http://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/1304c.html#16

      Initial adoption of believers' feelings bill prompts dissent

      INTRODUCTION OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY FOR HURTING BELIEVERS' FEELINGS WILL
      ENGENDER OUTBURST OF ATHEISM—COMMUNIST PARTY
      Interfax-Religiia, 10 April 2013

      The draft law providing prison terms for hurting believers' feelings and
      desecrating sacred things will lead to an outburst of militant atheism,
      the Communist Party of the Russian Federation thinks. "The introduction
      of such criminal liability will not add to the authority of the church,.
      This law is against the church," a member of the CPRF fraction, Yury
      Sinelshchikov, declared during discussion of the bill on first reading.
      In his opinion, adoption of the law and the appearance of criminal cases
      based on it "will lead to an outburst of militant atheism, while in its
      most aggressive forms it will engender enmity between believers and
      unbelievers and exacerbate inter-religious strife," Yu. Sinelshchikov
      suggests.

      He thinks that there are no reasons for the adoption of the law, and the
      crimes to which it pertains are already punished by currently existing
      legislation. In addition, he thinks many of the terms used in the law do
      not have legal definition.

      In the best case, it will lead to lengthy linguistic, theological,
      historical, and other expert analyses and red tape during investigation,
      while in the worst case it will trigger "various abuses by officials in
      criminal justice, corrupt phenomena, and reprisals against inconvenient
      persons," the member of the CPRF fraction noted.

      In his turn, the deputy director of the "A Just Russia" fraction,
      Mikhail Emelianov, noted that members of "A Just Russia" do not have a
      united position regarding the bill and therefore these will vote in
      accordance with their convictions, freely.

      Representatives of "United Russia" supported the bill.

      In his turn, one of the sponsors of the draft law, the head of the duma
      Committee on Affairs of Public Associations and Religious Organization,
      Yaroslav Nilov (LDPR fraction), stated that the document will be
      improved for second reading taking account of comments received. "I
      would like to express the hope that everything will be fine for us. This
      bill will work in the interests of our citizens. We will believe and
      faith will save," Ya. Nilov noted. He also answered the question of how
      this bill protects the feelings of atheists. According to Ya. Nilov,
      this document protects, inter alia, worldview symbols which may be
      honored by atheists. He also advised every atheist to see the film "Life
      of Pi." "It's a very good film that shows how in inhumane conditions
      only by faith can one save one's self and survive," he said.

      Three hundred thirty deputies voted for the bill, seven opposed it, and
      one abstained.

      Meanwhile the Yabloko party expressed a protest against the adoption of
      the bill on first reading. "These amendments grossly violate the
      constitution of the Russian federation, article 28 of which guarantees
      freedom of religious confession, including the right to profess
      individually or jointly with others any religion or not to profess any
      religion, as well as the right to disseminate religious or other
      convictions and to act in accordance with them," the party's statement
      says. In the opinion of the statement's authors, thereby "the rights of
      persons not professing any religion are grossly infringed." The party
      produced data from the Ministry of Justice according to which on 1
      January 2012 more than 60 religious denominations representing
      officially registered associations are operating in the country. Among
      them are shamanism and pagan confessions "whose rituals in and of
      themselves are offensive for Christians and Muslims." (tr. by PDS,
      posted 10 April 2013)
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