Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rallies Stopped in Moscow


May 16th marked the Eurovision Finals. Because the Russian representative (Dima Bilan) won last year's Eurovision contest, Russia was the hosting country this year.

Eurovision is a BIG deal for any country hosting, and even Putin put forward a billion rubles (35ish million dollars) to make sure things went off spectacularly. With it came thousands of tourists from all over Europe to see and experience the festivities.

With it also came the return of individuals attempting to hold rallies supporting gay rights. Russia is one of the more homophobic nations, to put it not-so-eloquently. After a gay pride parade occurred in 2006 (many of the participants flew in from Germany I believe, and were subsequently beaten and arrested), the mayor said there would never be another parade supporting gay equality. He's been said to have called it a "satanic act," and that "not only do they destroy morals within our society, but they consciously provoke disorder which threatens the lives of Muscovites and visitors.”

Like most other unsanctioned (although constitutionally guaranteed to every person under their freedom of assembly) events, this one went down pretty routinely. Authorities quickly stopped a protest about to start and arrested around 40 individuals (some reports say 30).

What is interesting is even though I disagree with the police in stopping something like this (something that almost any other group can do without much trouble.... see some of our Victory Day pictures/video), I think this was relatively generous in the fact that the police stopped the protest before opposition groups could inflict any harm on the organized rally. What usually happens is the gay pride rallies occur, and police stand back for a bit while opposition groups basically beat them up.

But that's not the point of this post.  The point is more of what I read and heard after all this went down.  I was saddened and disappointed to hear that a few Christians here in Moscow were glad that the government would not allow these rallies to occur. They were proud that they wouldn't allow these events to take place.

Is that the attitude we should have as Christians? Although many people in Moscow do believe that homosexuality is a sin, that is not at all the reason why authorities didn't allow the protests to occur. If that were the case, they wouldn't allow many things.

No, the reason they will not allow these rallies to occur is simple: a prejudice and hatred towards homosexuals. Something that, as Christians, we should not tolerate.  Whether it's something we disagree with or not, we should not be happy or proud when personal rights are taken away from other people.  There is no love in that.  There is no grace.  There is no justice.

A Christians, shouldn't our hearts be broken when rights are taken away because of prejudice and hatred?  Shouldn't we be against something like that?  Isn't all of those pretty obvious?