Pussy Riot Revisited

August 24, 2012 Length: 5:41

Freedom of Speech and the Sovereignty of God





I received a small number of criticisms regarding my previous talk on the subject of the Pussy Riot group. One woman went so far as to declare that I couldn’t possibly be a Christian, holding as I did, that the two year sentence was just and right. A man accused me of being against free speech, because I did not think these women had a right to enter into a sacred space, Christ the Saviour Cathedral, for the purpose of furthering their political agenda. I was also accused of not following Christ’s directive that we should be quick to forgive.

One of the problems, as I see it, is that many, including strong Christians, cannot differentiate between forgiveness and justice. One can forgive someone, but the consequences of a wrong must still face justice. You can’t expect a parent to constantly forgive a child who is abusive, for at some point the child must reap what he has sown. Otherwise, you enable them to continue their destructive behavior, and the child is never going to be prone to repentance. If we never let another reap what they’ve sown, we are killing them. Love and forgiveness must be balanced with justice.

Human rights are taken to the extreme if we see others as having the right to trample on the sacred. We should never defend anyone’s right to defile the holy. And I am not just talking about the defilement of Orthodox churches, for synagogues, mosques, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist temples as places of worship should not have to be objected to invasion by people bent on pushing a political agenda. Both the Russian and French Revolutions saw the ultimate result of this mindset with the destruction of churches and holy sites in mass.

Would anyone think a person had the right to enter a private home, screaming profanity in front of their children, because the person had the right of free speech? Surely not! Yet those who would see the Pussy Riot girls as having a right to their vile and profane display in Moscow’s Patriarchal Cathedral, fail to see this building as being God’s house! Millions of ordinary Russians paid to have this building rebuilt after it had been imploded by orders of Stalin.

We have entered a period in human history where personal freedom has been elevated to the point that we have been made gods. In arriving at such a place, we have replaced the sovereignty of God with the sovereignty of man. Power, politics, and money have replaced the sublime conversations about the things of the Spirit, because everyone had been lowered to the lowest common denominator. Everyone is empowered, and we are no longer accountable to God.

Finally, since my words will surely open up a flood of new criticism, I would like to offer the following words from the Holy Elder of our time, Bishop Nikolai.

Don’t argue with atheism. Don’t argue with an angry man. Don’t argue with a bitter man. Don’t argue with an atheist, because man is by nature devout. Don’t argue with an angry man because man is by nature peaceful and calm. If you argue with an angry man, you argue with the devil. Don’t argue with a bitter man because man is by nature grateful, and thankful to God. What you should do is, by acts of love and mercy, pray that God would enlighten the person. You are not going to convince them by argument and logic.