2013-08-20 17:23:00

Russian Church spokesman defends Isinbayeva for backing anti-gay propaganda law

Moscow, August 20, Interfax - Vladimir Legoyda, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Information Department, has called strange comments by a number of international media outlets on pole vault world champion Yelena Isinbayeva's remarks concerning the Russian law banning propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.

"Followers of religious traditions have repeatedly been criticized for their unwillingness to recognize freedom of speech and accused of attempts to monopolize the truth. But, as the information campaign against Yelena Isinbayeva shows, a lot of world media have apparently reconsidered their attitudes toward such a concept as freedom of opinion in the past several years," Legoyda told journalists on Tuesday.

He suggested that Western journalists find members of the French national team among the participants in the demonstrations against legalization of same-sex marriages in Paris and report their opinion on the matter, which, as he put it, would be a true commitment to the freedom of the press principle and journalistic professionalism rather than to ideological cliches.

"The Church views homosexuality as a sin, which doesn't mean hatred toward the sinner committing this sin but rules out propaganda or any support of such sexual relations. Any person, be it an athlete, a politician, or a housewife, a believer or a non-believer, is entitled to accept or reject this position," he said.

Attempts to put pressure on Isinbayeva should be viewed, among other things, as an act of disrespect for the Russian population, an overwhelming majority of which supported the legislation, Legoyda said.

"Orthodox believers, members of other traditional religions in Russia and a lot of non-religious people are against propaganda of same-sex relations. They are supported by many Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the West, and some world media are stubbornly trying to create a picture that distorts this reality," Legoyda said.

Speaking to journalists after winning the pole vault gold at the 2013 IAAF World Championships last week, Isinbayeva suggested that foreign guests should respect the Russian law banning the propaganda of homosexuality among minors.