Easter: can it be more political?

Seems like every aspect of life became politicized to a certain extend. From holidays that people celebrate to clothes they sometimes wear.

Finally the Easter holidays are over and people stopped making a big fuss out of it. My Facebook wall was all about Easter and messages that “he is risen” were popping out every now and then. For some reason people simply ignore the fact that there are some atheists around. This merry enthusiasm of pseudo-religious people, who have been to church couple times in their lives and do not really believe in what they say; all of it kept me thinking of the narrative surrounding religion.

Look at Russia: multicultural country, with various religious groups. Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are among the most common religious in this diverse country. Russian Constitution says that Russia is a secular state; therefore religion should not interfere in political agenda of the country. What happens in reality? Well, Russian Orthodox Church is exercising its powers every now and then. Recently some religious officials suggested introducing a moderate dress-code for women. Couple of days ago Partiarch Kirill announced that he considers the catastrophe on Chernobyl a divine retribution.

So this year on Easter, like every Easter before that, Russian political elite showed up in the most pompous church in Moscow – Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Russian President and Mr. Putin with their wives were there as well. All major channels broadcasted this event, newspapers run stories about it. Apparently, top politicians in Russia do not take into consideration feelings of those who don’t belong to Orthodox Church.

I assume that politicians should keep their religious beliefs for themselves and not show it off in public, like they do it now. This all triggers various aspects of Russian nationalism. In the meantime negative sentiments towards Caucasians is based on negative perception of Islam. Russian leaders do nothing to calm down nationalistic disputes, but go to the church on a religious holiday. Therefore the main perception goes along the following line: Orthodoxy is the most important religion in Russia, due to the fact that even presidents go to church. It is not difficult to jump into several conclusions about other religions, including Islam.

Something to think about…

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