28 May, 2007

Religious Bigot Bans Gay Pride March In Moscow

If you read my previous blog posting and thought I was perhaps overreacting to the dangers of allowing people who are not quite sane – because they believe in magical beings - to run the world, then you might like to consider yesterday's Gay Pride march in Moscow. The march was banned by the city authorities but marchers went ahead anyway, trying to deliver a letter to the city's mayor, Yuriy Luzhkov. They didn't make it.

The march was attacked by right wing-protesters and the marchers were beaten and abused while the police looked on. Eventually, about 70 of the marchers were arrested when the police finally intervened. (Some put the number arrested as high as 100.) Later still, the police also arrested some of the right-wing attackers.

I mention this not because I think gays should have fair treatment in Russia (although I think that everyone should have fair treatment everywhere) but because of the reason the mayor of Moscow is reported to have given for his opposition to the march. He is on record as saying that Gay Pride marches are “the work of Satan”.

So here is a man who believes in magical beings, he feels that these magical beings are influencing the world in which we live, he clearly gets his information from a five-thousand-year-old document produced by someone else who was crazy enough to believe in magical beings, and he probably talks to these invisible beings at least once a week. Yet he is in charge of a whole city! On the orders of this delusional man, gay rights marchers are locked up and refused a voice. And I'm pretty sure he's not receiving any medical treatment for his mental problems.

Homosexuality, whatever you think about it, is at least real. It exists. It is manifested in many, many species, including our own. It is a fact of life. It doesn't hurt anyone or deprive them of their civil liberties. The magical beings that Yuriy Luzhkov believes in are not real. They exist only in stories and in his mind. Yet they get peaceful protesters beaten up and they deny them their right to speak.

Now tell me religion isn't a bad thing.


Timothy Carter said...

I restate my case from my comment under your last post - religion and spiritual beliefs aren't evil, but the people who have them can certainly be. That is beyond appauling what happened, a huge and blatant disregard for basic human rights.

And for the mayor to make such a statement, a statement based only on his beliefs, eliminates the separation of church and state. He should be thrown out of office for that. President Bush at least attempts to hide behind more politicized lingo when he makes statements like that.

Unfortunately, religion can be used as a tool for hatred by those willing to find a way. People will go to war with each other over their version of how God said, Thou Shalt Not Kill. It can also be used as a great tool for good. It can bring happiness and joy when used properly.

Don't blame religion. Don't even blame the magical beings. It's all about the people.

There. Had my say. Great topic, Graywave. Great blog. Please keep it up.

graywave said...

Sorry, Tim, but I don't buy it. Saying it's the people, not the religion, is similar to saying it's people who shoot people not guns. It's true that guns themselves are not sufficient - but they certainly are necessary! Same with religion. A bunch of abstract fantasies themselves never hurt anyone but when they enable people - justify them, even - to make otherwise indefensible decisions affecting freedom, civil rights, even life and death, they become very, very dangerous.

Of course the Bible says thou shalt not kill but it also says disobedient sons should be taken to the village elders and stoned to death. It says love thy neighbour too but it also says you can have slaves and beat them to death (as long as they take more than a day to die). There is no good in the Bble that is not counteracted a hundred times over by the evil in it. I don't know why some Christians think they can cherry-pick only the nice bits and pretend this isn't a very unpleasant doctrine.

By the way, if you're a believer, we are never going to agree on this.

Timothy Carter said...

Woah there! Never said I was a Believer. Just a dude with some spiritual ideas that make sense to me. I follow no religeon, so don't think I'm coming from that perspective.

We will agree that religion has caused an awful lot of harm over the ages - the Crusades and the Inquisition spring immediately to mind. All I'm saying is that, at their inception, religions aren't designed to be a force for evil.

Guns, on the other hand, are built with one function - to fire a projectile that will kill. That is their only purpose, and the one they were designed for. I think each religion started out as a bunch of good ideas about the nature of reality, God and humankind, then other people got their hands on it and saw opportunities for power. It hasn't affected all regigions - I don't think anyone's tried to blow up a building or deny someone rights in the name of the Bhudda (of course I could be wrong on that one).

I guess what I'm saying is, a set of spiritual guidelines that some people choose to live by aren't in and of themselves evil. However, when people decide that everyone must adhere to those specific guidelines, that is when religions go bad. Blame the people that corrupted it, not the ideas that started it off.

Anyway, I can't help but be in a positive mood, Graham. My wife and I just adopted a kitten, and he's super cute! We named him Karma.

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