Archive for August, 2012

Pussy Riot Jailed! Modern Witch Hunts From Russia to Rick Santorum

August 17th, 2012 by admin

The Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who stage politically provocative impromptu performances in Moscow on Russian political life, were arrested for “religious hatred” and “hooliganism” in March 2012 and on August 17, 2012, were handed their sentence of guilty with two years in prison.

You can follow live updates here.

A recent comment in the thread comes from New York based Human Rights Watch :


The charges and verdict against the Pussy Riot band members distort both the facts and the law…These women should never have been charged with a hate crime and should be released immediately.

Pussy Riot’s “stunt” consisted of taking over the altar in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior to sing a song protesting Putin and the authoritarian, patriarchal bent of the church. It was a guerrilla performance in Moscow’s main cathedral where they high-kicked and danced while singing a “punk prayer” pleading with the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin, according to CBS News.

Lyrics include:

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, become a feminist,
Become a feminist, become a feminist,

The Church’s praise of rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines,

A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class – bring him money!

It’s also pretty obvious that the church and its authoritarian agents are using this opportunity to demonize free speech and women by describing Riot’s dance as “devilish” and accusing them of practicing Satanism.

…prosecutors and lawyers for religious people who where described as victims of the stunt said the women were motivated by religious hatred. The defendants were accused of committing “moral harm” and even of practicing Satanism.  ~NYT

I guess to put it simply, Pussy Riot hurt the Orthodox Churches’ feelings. The Slate blog states that:

Trying them for “religious hatred” appears to be nothing but a cover for trying them for displaying the insufficient fealty to the religious dogma of the Orthodox Church that their song protests. ~Slate

The Slate blog then transitions into Russian culture and how free speech and freedom of religion are handled in Russia and the US:

…we’re lucky to have an ironclad provision in our Constitution that protects not just speech, but also disallows the government to give favored status to religion. Without that protection, it’s easy to imagine the United States backsliding into these kind of religious witch trials pretty quickly, especially if the blasphemers were young women.

Let’s not get too cozy all wrapped up in our America flag however.  We need only look back a few months to the “debate” over contraception to see that Fundamentalists and religious leaders in general in this country, firmly take the reigns when it comes to policies focusing on women’s right to choose, access to basic contraception and women’s health in general.

Rick Santorum is running around claiming that health care reform is a “sin,” and he appears to believe that the First Amendment allows the church to dictate government policy that rules believers and nonbelievers alike.

Sounds like witch hunting to us.  Hunting that has been distilled to the crux of the whole issue–if you have a uterus, you’re a witch.

See the devilish cathedral performance HERE.

To hear the archived Feminist Lens program Witch-Hunts, Heresy and Human Rights click HERE.