Russia introduces law protecting feelings of believers...

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So, basically, you may be fined for 300,000 rubles (almost $10,000) or imprisoned for one year for publicly offending or showing disrespect for someone's religious feelings. Fine increases to 500,000 rubles (almost $16,000) and 3 years if you were to do it in religious places (e.g. churches). Officially, that law was made as response to the "Pussy Riot" thingy...
Anyway, what are your thoughts on that law? I think it's really silly and unclear. What qualifies as offense? Who qualifies as believer? Are atheists believers in a sense of that law?

Obviously a horrendous offense of trampling of people's free speech rights, and I have no doubts that it'll be used favourably for some while for other religions, generally disliked religions in the region, will be ignored. If somebody is so afraid that they'll get their feelings hurt, and are so incapable of taking criticism or hate, they should just lock themselves inside all day and live in their own little perfect bubbleworld, rather than inconveniencing anybody else who wants to live in the reality that we won't always get along and agree on everything.

"WAHHH I'M OFFENDED THAT SOMEONE THINKS MY BELIEF IN AN IMAGINARY SKY FAIRY IS STUPID WAHHHHH"

Arrest me, Russia. :P

MarsAtlas:
Obviously a horrendous offense of trampling of people's free speech rights

That's Russia you're talking about. I'm not dissing them but from what I've heard "democracy" is more of a loose term there. Also, I just looked up some more info, it seems like it's not just "insult" more of "humiliation in public" so it's not a mere bad word or something that would get you in jail - it's (supposed) to be more deliberate and harsher than that. Also, the larger fines aren't exactly for doing the same in a religious place - it's desecration and destruction of objects considered significant by the religion. You know like actually attacking and damaging churches and such. I don't think it's just "hurt feelings" as you seem to imply.

Never going to russia EVER, I would be hastily thrown into prison and sentenced to death with the amount of shit I say. :3

Can you please post a link?

DoPo:

Also, I just looked up some more info, it seems like it's not just "insult" more of "humiliation in public" so it's not a mere bad word or something that would get you in jail - it's (supposed) to be more deliberate and harsher than that. Also, the larger fines aren't exactly for doing the same in a religious place - it's desecration and destruction of objects considered significant by the religion. You know like actually attacking and damaging churches and such. I don't think it's just "hurt feelings" as you seem to imply.

Hmm, i basically translated an original article in Russian that reads as "за публичные действия, выражающие явное неуважение к обществу и совершенные в целях оскорбления религиозных чувств верующих", which loosely translates as "for public actions, showing clear disrespect to society and committed in order to offense religious feelings of believers".

Yoshisummons:
Can you please post a link?

http://news.mail.ru/politics/13178164/?frommail=1
But it's in Russian.

DoPo:

MarsAtlas:
Obviously a horrendous offense of trampling of people's free speech rights

That's Russia you're talking about. I'm not dissing them but from what I've heard "democracy" is more of a loose term there. Also, I just looked up some more info, it seems like it's not just "insult" more of "humiliation in public" so it's not a mere bad word or something that would get you in jail - it's (supposed) to be more deliberate and harsher than that. Also, the larger fines aren't exactly for doing the same in a religious place - it's desecration and destruction of objects considered significant by the religion. You know like actually attacking and damaging churches and such. I don't think it's just "hurt feelings" as you seem to imply.

My father always used the term "thiefocracy" to describe Russia (he definitely didn't say 'theocracy'). I didn't get it myself. Maybe someone will be able to explain such line of thinking!

OT: This is absolutely terrible and scary. I feel sorry for all the Russian citizens. Any law coming from such religious overtones is a clear sign you should get out if you value your voice and opinions, not that Russian citizens had much of one from what I've heard about the state of their political system.

Stupid Putin.

DoPo:

MarsAtlas:
Obviously a horrendous offense of trampling of people's free speech rights

That's Russia you're talking about. I'm not dissing them but from what I've heard "democracy" is more of a loose term there. Also, I just looked up some more info, it seems like it's not just "insult" more of "humiliation in public" so it's not a mere bad word or something that would get you in jail - it's (supposed) to be more deliberate and harsher than that. Also, the larger fines aren't exactly for doing the same in a religious place - it's desecration and destruction of objects considered significant by the religion. You know like actually attacking and damaging churches and such. I don't think it's just "hurt feelings" as you seem to imply.

Well thats the problem, isn't part of public debate a challenge of one's stance? To many, it is disrespectful to be challenged on anything because they're closed-minded twats who decided how everything is before using any critical thought of facts. Who does one define "mean to offend", exactly? I mean there's obviously defacing a church, but what about drawing a picture of Mohammed, or reading off something written by Christopher Hitchens? A teacher trying to teach evolution in the classroom? Its so vague that courts are almost certainly going to rule in an extremely biased manner, and lets be honest, if, say, a Christian came up with this law, do you think they really care if Islam is disrespected, or vice versa? The law was probably founded on wrong-headedness in the first place, so its doomed to even work as the print says in the first place. This is how the OP translated it:

"for public actions, showing clear disrespect to society and committed in order to offense religious feelings of believers".

That sounds very vague. There's certainly going to be a bias in most regions depending on what religion is challenged. And what about atheism? Is "you're going to burn in hell sinner!" in any way, ven in the very vague abstract, covered under this law? Does the state define non-belief as a protect religious belief?

Top to bottom, with the phrasing and knowing how a lot of people are when their beliefs are challenged, it stinks of religious persecution.

AngelOfBlueRoses:

DoPo:

MarsAtlas:
Obviously a horrendous offense of trampling of people's free speech rights

That's Russia you're talking about. I'm not dissing them but from what I've heard "democracy" is more of a loose term there. Also, I just looked up some more info, it seems like it's not just "insult" more of "humiliation in public" so it's not a mere bad word or something that would get you in jail - it's (supposed) to be more deliberate and harsher than that. Also, the larger fines aren't exactly for doing the same in a religious place - it's desecration and destruction of objects considered significant by the religion. You know like actually attacking and damaging churches and such. I don't think it's just "hurt feelings" as you seem to imply.

My father always used the term "thiefocracy" to describe Russia (he definitely didn't say 'theocracy'). I didn't get it myself. Maybe someone will be able to explain such line of thinking!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleptocracy

Not much of a surprise given the ruling party has a strong base in the Orthodox Church. Also, not really anything new considering that a similar was passed around the beginning of the New Russia. ANd the reason for Russia being seen as a Kleptocracy (it has admittedly gotten better) is because of the rush of privitization after the collapse of communism and the resulting oligarch's lying, cheating, and stealing their way to wealth by gutting the newly privatized businesses.

But doesn't the law only apply inside places of worship in which cases freedom of speech wouldn't apply anyways because those are private establishments?

Well the Orthodox Church has always been pretty powerful. The church has always been a tool of the government in Russia.

B-but Russia is glorious nation with great economy busting with Krokodil and AIDs!
What a glorious day it is in mother Russia!!

But where does the limit go? Who decides what's bad enough to get fined?

I think it's very disrespectful of Russian lawmakers to assume that religious people are so immature that they'll get their undies in a bundle over hearing someone criticize their faith.

Queen Michael:
I think it's very disrespectful of Russian lawmakers to assume that religious people are so immature that they'll get their undies in a bundle over hearing someone criticize their faith.

... sounds like the lawmakers are playing it how they see it.

Sticking up for those poor persecuted religious folks who have no means of defending themselves.

Queen Michael:
I think it's very disrespectful of Russian lawmakers to assume that religious people are so immature that they'll get their undies in a bundle over hearing someone criticize their faith.

You didn't say "inaccurate" though.

...

Eh, is anyone actually surprised by this?

lRookiel:
-snip-

Hey offtopic - I think your avatar is...umm broken. That offends my fate and I will have you arrested! :P Joking of course.

But seriously, it's broken.

MarsAtlas:
Well thats the problem, isn't part of public debate a challenge of one's stance? To many, it is disrespectful to be challenged on anything because they're closed-minded twats who decided how everything is before using any critical thought of facts. Who does one define "mean to offend", exactly?

Pinkamena:
But where does the limit go? Who decides what's bad enough to get fined?

OK, from what you're asking and the way you're asking it, I think you're missing the problem and focusing on something that matters less. I should clarify, I could be speaking out my ass as I'm not into politics or Russian politics and the like but I know some Russians and I'm basing what I'm saying on conversations I've had with them. So yes, you are missing the problem. And focussing on something that matters less. Your concern would be otherwise grounded but in this case I think you're assuming too much it's a USA-like situation. When Russia is rife with other issues and actually making an ambiguously worded possibly incredibly easy to enforce law is...not that big of an issue. It doesn't really add more problems as much as sort of stir the current ones a bit. People could get prosecuted and put in jail for lots of things, religion isn't really going to make many more innocents being put on trial. So in the grand scheme of things, I do not think you seem to assume this is a big flaw when it isn't that big.

Don't get me wrong - the law is abusable or even just plain bad and everything but so are many other stuff.

MarsAtlas:
A teacher trying to teach evolution in the classroom?

It's funny you mention this. On two accounts. First, I don't think Orthodox church has a huge issue with evolution. Not nearly (or, like, at all) as I've heard of in the USA and some religious people outright refusing to acknowledge it. I had classes in religion when I was in school - Eastern Orthodox Christian religion, the teacher was the priest from the local church[1]. I haven't heard the 6000 years thing until, like, a two-three years ago. Even then, I didn't get that it was an actual thing until later. Similarly I've not heard of problems with dinosaurs and other...erm "science" (can you really call dinosaurs science?) until very recently.

It's also funny on a second account: few decades ago, the history in Russia was both simpler and more complex. Simpler to comprehend, more complex to...actually comprehend if you knew any and decided to think about it. So, how is it simpler - well...simple - Lenin did it. Seriously. Lenin founded Russia (all of it, he made it from the beginning), Lenin created the alphabet, Lenin created the airplane and so on. Lenin did it. Now try and think of how that would work and what would Lenin need to do everything.

EDIT:

thaluikhain:
Eh, is anyone actually surprised by this?

No, not really. Probably why I'm not as outraged either.

[1] and before I get people who are OFFENDED at the thought of dirty evil religious people obviously and deliberately brainwashing KIDS by forcing them to have these classes, as I'm sure some would immediately think - it was an optional class.

DoPo:
OK, from what you're asking and the way you're asking it, I think you're missing the problem and focusing on something that matters less.

A church getting vandalized is more important than people's freedom to speak?

I should clarify, I could be speaking out my ass as I'm not into politics or Russian politics and the like but I know some Russians and I'm basing what I'm saying on conversations I've had with them. So yes, you are missing the problem. And focussing on something that matters less. Your concern would be otherwise grounded but in this case I think you're assuming too much it's a USA-like situation. When Russia is rife with other issues and actually making an ambiguously worded possibly incredibly easy to enforce law is...not that big of an issue. It doesn't really add more problems as much as sort of stir the current ones a bit. People could get prosecuted and put in jail for lots of things, religion isn't really going to make many more innocents being put on trial. So in the grand scheme of things, I do not think you seem to assume this is a big flaw when it isn't that big.

Don't get me wrong - the law is abusable or even just plain bad and everything but so are many other stuff.

Thats my entire point. It can be abused very easily, and is probably likely to be abused. The law needs a lot of work then. I mean, isn't the point of the law to prevent things that happened in an incident, whereas trespassing and vandalism, among other things, should cover it? I mean if something offends you, but they're not doing any harm, then they should just deal with it. If they are causing harm, there already exists laws for that. Example: For all the hate teh Westbore Baptist Church receives, they do not break the law. Everything they do is completely legal. They cause no physical harm to anybody or their property, and they do not damage public property. They don't even litter. I don't like their protests, but laws already exist on the book to prevent them from doing harmful things.

MarsAtlas:
A teacher trying to teach evolution in the classroom?

It's funny you mention this. On two accounts. First, I don't think Orthodox church has a huge issue with evolution.[/quote]

I'm not even talking about an organized movement. I'm just talking about in general. All it takes is one upset parent to challenge the school curriculum.

Relax, guys. It's just hate speech legislation. It's a good thing, right? Respect for people's differences and whatnot?

I'd have less rustled jimmies if Putin would just get over the silly charade and declare himself Tzar. It'd be an open and honest grasp for power, at least.

As one who entertains religious discussion because I have a background in philosophy, I can tell you that any legitimate discussion of religion insofar as a normal conversation and sharing of ideas had better not constitute an offense...or there will not be enough Russian manliness in all of Moscow to save them from my righteous fury. Make all the laws you want to handle what you deem as rabble-rousing, peace-disturbing, and so on...but if I hear one word against a civil discussion, anyone who would try to fine me would NOT be fine, if you catch my drift.

And just to think a bit over 20 years ago religion was discouraged by the state in Russia.

I feel like this is appropriate: http://www.viddler.com/v/18c26af3

FalloutJack:
As one who entertains religious discussion because I have a background in philosophy, I can tell you that any legitimate discussion of religion insofar as a normal conversation and sharing of ideas had better not constitute an offense...or there will not be enough Russian manliness in all of Moscow to save them from my righteous fury. Make all the laws you want to handle what you deem as rabble-rousing, peace-disturbing, and so on...but if I hear one word against a civil discussion, anyone who would try to fine me would NOT be fine, if you catch my drift.

Ahh but they would compensate for their lack of manliness with the power of VODKA!

The goofing off out of the system though, I agree there. This is just totally fucked up, Russia.

Vegosiux:

Ahh but they would compensate for their lack of manliness with the power of VODKA!

Against a pissed off Irish? Putting aside the stereotype, an angry Jack is not a pleasant thing to see...

Joseph Harrison:
But doesn't the law only apply inside places of worship in which cases freedom of speech wouldn't apply anyways because those are private establishments?

I think you're mixing something up here. Freedom of speech doesn't apply to the in house rules of a private establishment. If this was a rule in the churches where they could throw you out for speaking up then you'd be right. But this is actual government legislation against speaking up, which is exactly what freedom of speech is supposed to protect you from.

What do I think? I think that this is such a slippery slope that is may as well be a greased up wall.

it's russia, so.. it's sad, but at the same time, it could be much much worse.

Well, its only a matter of time till the retards in the US govt pass something similar.

And on that day, I will form a religion that is extremely offended by horrible business practices, and my church shall go on a crusade against Hollywood and the more retarded sectors of the games industry.

I can't get off this damn planet soon enough. Leave it to the fundamentalists and conservatives, we'll see how soon they turn on each other when there is nobody else to blame for their incompetence.

Considering how the whole Jason Richwine thing played out, America doesn't have much standing to be critical of this policy.

Guys... I know that tensions are generally pretty high on this site when it comes to freedom of speech, doubly so when it comes to religion. But I'm just wondering if maybe this might not be as bad as we're making it out to be.

I mean, don't get me wrong, free speech is a vital part of any just society, but to be perfectly honest this law doesn't seem like a huge damper on it. From what I can tell, it's just asking people to not spread hate speech, or vandalize religious establishments. It doesn't really seem as though it's designed to lock up anyone who criticizes someone's personal beliefs, just punishing those who take it far enough that it's destructive and hurtful. And it isn't biased towards any particular religious view either - it could apply to those that might want to firebomb some hypothetical atheist rally just as much as a Christian church.

I concede that the law does seem a bit too open to interpretation, which leaves a lot of potential for abuse, but I wonder how much of that is due to us only getting to read a small portion of it.

I don't know, it just doesn't seem as though it's so much to ask that people show a degree of respect to others. Sorry if anything I say offends, that's just how I see it.

"Your rights end where my feelings begin."

Sounds like an absolutely idiotic law if it's as you're describing. I'll have to have a wee look for more detail myself later. Any news about Russia usually needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

I must admit I'm confused though reading through these comments though. I could have sworn the Escapist normally joins the "Feelings > Free Speech" bandwagon.

Or is that only when it's topics that you lot don't like?

So fining people for being ass holes? I'm ok with this. Believe whatever the fuck you want but don't tell me what to believe. As for people crying "free speech", that church has free speech when protest military funerals with the hope someone will punch and they can sue for assault

This only works if the law doesn't get taken advantage of. I've heard mother Russia isn't the fairest place to live though

As an Atheist I don't like hearing Religious zealots got on about bullshit on the streets, can I have them fined?

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