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Russian blogger convicted for playing 'Pokemon Go' in church

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Jim K    14,176
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A Russian blogger was convicted on Thursday of inciting religious hatred for playing "Pokemon Go" in a church, and given a suspended sentence.

 

Ruslan Sokolovsky posted a video on his blog last year showing him playing the smartphone game in a church built on the supposed spot where the last Russian tsar and his family were killed. He has been in detention since October.

 

Judge Yekaterina Shoponyak on Thursday found Sokolovsky guilty of inciting religious hatred and gave him a 3 ?-year suspended sentence. It is the same offense that sent two women from the ###### Riot punk collective to prison for two years in 2012.

 

Sokolovsky's behavior and his anti-religious videos manifested his "disrespect for society," Judge Yekaterina Shoponyak said in televised remarks, adding that Sokolovsky "intended to offend religious sentiments."

 

Shoponyak pointed out that the 22-year old video blogger was on trial not only for playing the game in the church but also for posting several videos that offended believers. She listed "mockery of the immaculate conception," ''denial of the existence of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad" and "giving an offensive description of Patriarch Kirill," the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

 

/snip

 

More at the Associated Press.

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zhangm    1,345

Hmm, this sounds extremely familiar. Perhaps it was posted here a while back? The title is memorable.

 

Edit: Oh, I see. The earlier stories were just about the arrest. This one is about the conviction.

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+Human.Online    8,709

Good, serves him right.  Screw religion, but if you go to a place that is respected for whatever reason, you show some damned respect.

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FloatingFatMan    19,247
3 hours ago, Nefarious Trigger said:

Good, serves him right.  Screw religion, but if you go to a place that is respected for whatever reason, you show some damned respect.

I both agree and disagree.  I do NOT think religions should get any special protections at all under law... But if the guy went into a religious place with the express purpose of offending people, then normal incitement to hatred laws should apply.  It certainly doesn't need the additional rider of "religious hatred"...  That's just as much BS as anti-blasphemy laws are.  It is impossible to blaspheme against something you do not believe in, but it IS possible to incite hatred against a group of people.  I can and will say anything I want against any or all religions, but I won't incite people to hate those who follow those religions.

 

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DocM    16,676

Basically, he was charged with disorderly conduct and being a public nuisance, AKA an asshat. Works for me (Y)

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+Human.Online    8,709
3 hours ago, FloatingFatMan said:

I both agree and disagree.  I do NOT think religions should get any special protections at all under law... But if the guy went into a religious place with the express purpose of offending people, then normal incitement to hatred laws should apply.  It certainly doesn't need the additional rider of "religious hatred"...  That's just as much BS as anti-blasphemy laws are.  It is impossible to blaspheme against something you do not believe in, but it IS possible to incite hatred against a group of people.  I can and will say anything I want against any or all religions, but I won't incite people to hate those who follow those religions.

 

I care very little for religion.  This isn't even REALLY about religion.  It's about a man who went into a place where social norms dictated a form of respect that people adhere to - and he deliberately broke them.  Anywhere in the world there will be outcomes to this, on various different levels.  In the UK, for example, he would be asked to leave most likely.  But now take that story and set it in a strongly orthodox country such as Russia, where religion is held in stronger regard within the structure of the law...  See how that pans out ;)

 

I agree, I could take God's name in vain all day and it mean nothing.  However, if God means so little, why would I be in a church? Why would I then post a vlog about myself doing this?  It shows that while he may not respect or subscribe to the religion, he acknowledges that it exists, that others do and he sees a value in disrespecting the religion, the people there, the history and the social norms.

 

Basically, a deliberately boastful antisocial nuisance in a country where tolerance is low.

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+Mirumir    5,636

Don't enter somebody else's cathedral with your own charter (when in Rome, live as Romans live).

 

When it comes to the relationship between the state and the religion in Russia, the country has gone a full circle in a relatively short time-span, in less than 100 years: from being deeply religious - to being atheist - to trying to restore the faith.

 

Because the Soviet Union persecuted the priests (i.e., Lenin signed a death-sentence for 10, 000 priests with one decree) and destroyed the churches (Stalin), the modern Russian state feels especially obliged to protect the church-goers. 

 

Simply put, it's a very sensitive topic in Russia.

 

The man in question demonstrated his complete disregard for civil order, his hateful YouTube messages confirmed the nature of his character and intentions, and deserved his punishment. The sentence is harsh because the case is unprecedented and they wanted to send the message that this was a big no-no in Russia (just like with sentencing the P. Riot).

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