Moscow, March 13 – People in the Russian Orthodox Church are amazed at the loyalty that the British authorities, who have forbidden wearing crosses at work, have shown towards other religious and non-religious symbols.
‘This decision of the British authorities cannot but give rise to anxiety, especially given the existence of other tendencies aimed at liberation of human instincts in the European society today. Why then is the public demonstration of one’s involvement in the gay culture considered a norm whereas the wearing of a cross is not? Indeed, there is a diversity of symbols connected with the gay culture, but just try to sack a person who openly demonstrates his sexual orientation. Clearly he will make a row and will certainly manage to be reinstated. And what is the danger of old Christian symbols? Who are insulted by them?’ the chairman of the Synodal Information Department Vladimir Legoida stated on Tuesday. The attitude to the Sikhs is another example of the double standards exercised by the British government. He said that the Sikhs, even those who serve in the London police, are officially permitted to wear the turban, one of the symbols of Sikhism.
He believes the decision of the British authorities to be ‘a very disturbing symbol’. If this signal, Mr Legoida said, means that it is impossible for one to show publicly one’s belonging to Christianity, ‘who then can guarantee that tomorrow the authorities will not tell you to put the notice saying ‘such-and-such church’ but to take away the crosses and that not only from the cupolas but also whatever represents the cross’. This attitude is difficult to assess as any other than a manifestation of Christinophobia, the cases of which are becoming ever more frequent in today’s world.
In addition, this situation, Mr Legoida believes, ‘vividly points to Europe’s abandonment of her fundamental identity’.
‘If we speak of the freedom of conscience, then why do we encounter with restrictions? If the non-aggressive demonstration of one’s religious affiliation is impossible in a civilized society, then the question arises about the nature of this society. It turns out that all the talk about tolerance and calls to it become meaningless words since we are unable to live in good-neighbourly relations, without losing our identity?’ Mr Legoida noted.
In his opinion, the problem boils down to ‘the imposition of an idea that religion is solely a private affair of each’.
‘I think it is wrong because never in history religion has been only a private affair of a person. But being certainly a very private affair, it has always had a public and social dimension. Otherwise we make a person to leave his faith behind in the church or in the narrow family circle and do not allow him to motivate his public actions by his faith. But it is absurd’, he believes.