2020-02-25 18:33:00

High-ranking Russian Orthodox Church rep objects to ban on consecration of WMDs

Moscow, February 25, Interfax - Alexander Shchipkov, first deputy chairman of the Russian Orthodox Church's Department for Church, Society and Media Relations, has objected to plans to ban the consecration of certain types of weapons, including weapons of mass destruction.

The Russian Orthodox Church's Inter-Council Presence has drawn up a draft document proposing that the consecration of any types of weapons whose use may cause the deaths of "an indefinite number of people," including "indiscriminate weapons and weapons of mass destruction," be banned.

"An essential motive of the text of this document, in fact, separates a warrior from his weapon by claiming, figuratively speaking, that armor can be consecrated but a sword cannot. Meanwhile, the Church cannot bless a person and his mission half-heartedly," Shchipkov said.

"Including the theme of a ban on the consecration of this type of weapon or another in the political agenda deals an indirect blow to the people's confidence in the army and the country's sovereignty," he said in an article published on the Interfax-Religion website on Tuesday.

The New Testament rule of 'turning the other cheek' ("if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also") does not imply that it should be extended to loved ones, fellow-believers, or compatriots, Shchipkov said. "We are entitled to turn our own left cheek, but we have to defend our neighbor's cheek," he said.

Russia's foreign political opponents would inevitably interpret a ban on the consecration of this type of weapon or another as internal weakness, while "our weapons are a guarantee of our sovereignty and historical choice," Shchipkov said.

As concerns nuclear weapons, the essential factors are the principles of the presumption of innocence and historical reputation, he said. "Obviously, it's not we who should repent of the inclination to unjustifiably use nuclear forces. We only have to acknowledge that our policy of reasonable defense sufficiency complies with Christian principles," Shchipkov said.

"We remember that military duty is highly valued in Orthodoxy. Weapons are consecrated as long as they serve just and noble causes, and the same concerns any involuntary use of force. What can be discussed are the objectives of carrying and using weapons, rather than their consecration. What is important is precisely who uses weapons and how - what intentions they are guided by and not what they use in particular. It's not the weapons that kill but the people using them, and therefore, it's ridiculous to assess weapons based on the degree of their 'morality'," Shchipkov said.