Moscow, January 23, Interfax - A representative of the Russian Orthodox Church believes people's freedom can be restricted for security and moral reasons.
"Freedom is not absolute. Freedom can and should be restricted for security and moral reasons," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, said at the meeting of the Presidential Human Rights Council on Wednesday.
He said "international law documents and the entire historical heritage of mankind state" that freedom can be restricted.
The Presidential Human Rights Council discussed the amendments to the bill toughening punishment for insulting believers' feelings.
The bill was criticized by independent human rights activists, the council's chairman Mikhail Fedotov, and human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin.
The law was supported by Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Yaroslav Nilov (the head of the State Duma committee on public associations and religious organizations), Alexander Boroda (president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia), and Shafig Pshikhachev (executive director of the International Islamic Mission and a representative of the Directorate of Muslims of the Caucasus).
"The bill we are talking about is a step in the right direction," Father Vsevolod said.
"We have no desire to crack down on anyone. A person who encroaches on holy things should feel that they will be held responsible," Pshikhachev said.