The Moscow Patriarchate representative to the Council of Europe Hegumen Filaret (Bulekov) on the request of an Interfax-Religion correspondent commented on recent decision of the Strasbourg Court, which considered illegal refusals of Russian authorities to hold gay pride parades.
- Father Filaret, what do you think about decision of the European Court on actions held by Russian minorities?
- This decision was not unexpected for those who followed the process. The European Court has earlier taken the same decisions on Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Poland and other European states. The Strasbourg Court is not a platform for discussions so public and religious organizations don't have an opportunity to present their position during the legal action and somehow influence the decision.
The problem with this court decision is much broader and serious than just the organization or denial to authorize gay pride parades. Human rights norms were created for protection of individuals from discrimination. At the same time, over the past few years we have seen formal use of human rights norms for groups and communities, primarily minorities, without regard for societal traditions in general, history, and culture. It can be illustrated by the Strasbourg Court decision to ban crucifixes in Italian schools that caused stormy reaction all around the world. This decision has become a source of new tensions in society. It referrers not only to the so-called sexual minorities, but to national, language and other minorities either. It is impossible to ask for respect without showing corresponding respect to traditions of majority, seeking to achieve only their own aims. It will inevitably lead to conflicts and confrontation. Such decisions of the Strasbourg Court won't lead to desired accord in society, respect of personal rights of every person, but will provoke new spots of tension.
We can see already such reaction of certain public organizations on gay-prides in Russia.
- What political and social consequences such Strasbourg decision may have?
- The Court hasn't taken into account that the gay prides lost their human rights content in many world cities and turned into mass entertainment events available to the underage children and other vulnerable social groups. Russia unlike Brazil with its carnivals has never had a tradition to make public intimate side of life whether it refers to minorities or traditional majority. Thus in this case statements about discrimination are absolutely groundless.
The decision made in Strasbourg essentially constitutes violence against the feelings and morals of the majority of society. That will hardly help achieve the stated purpose to cultivate tolerance and achieve accord, mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence.
The Russian Orthodox Church may follow its social doctrine and back the increasingly load calls on the Russian state to reconsider the forms of participation in international treaties related to human rights if such processes continue to accelerate.