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Apparently dancing around the altar of Moscow’s main cathedral in a demonstration against Putin is a No-No. That’s what feminist punk band Pussy Riot did just recently, and they posted a video of it online. Some people are like, that’s stupid, others are like that’s awesome. Whatever you think, it’s an act of dissent against government by women in a country growing increasingly strict again regarding how people (especially women) in its country behave.

Pussy Riot’s punishment was a sentencing of two years in prison. These are young women protesting their government and making a statement that church and state are supposed to be separate. Are they criminals? If you consider speaking up about government and religion a crime- I guess so. If you consider dissent a crime- yes. People need to be able to protest their government. If you don’t think it was okay they were in church, FYI, the church forgave them. But seriously- Prison? Really? And for two years? Outrageous!

Perhaps the one main positive thing is that their efforts were not in vain. People all over the world are protesting their imprisonment, talking about freedom, dissent, feminism, women’s rights, and separation of church and state.

Chaplin, who heads the Orthodox Church’s department for relations with society there in Russia said in an interview with Shuster at Time:

“The religious neutrality of the state is a fiction. It has no basis in reality.” Shuster said Chaplin described the separation between church and state as a “myth” of the 20th century that would be vanquished in the 21st. “I think the West made a mistake when it tried to completely separate these spheres,” he said. “They are completely inseparable. The same people act in the sphere of politics and the sphere of religion.”

There is truth to his statement right now. I think often people have their religious views and their political views and each are influenced by the other. But what is so incredibly dangerous is that not everyone holds the same views, religious or political. So how are my politics to play out if my religious views are not what is dictating the way government acts.

This is even more evident in the case of women’s rights and for gender equality to play out in laws. Many religions have laws that are particularly restrictive of women. Our society, in the United States, is supposed provide liberty and justice for ALL. If a religion dictates what women can do or what any people can do, there is not liberty or justice. Chapin says it’s a fiction that there is separation. The state needs to be working harder to make sure that separation exists!

An example of the dangers of church and state not being separate: Chaplin has been a big advocate for a national “dress code” and said that women who wear revealing outfits are guilty of inciting rape. DANGEROUS! And to make his ignorant belief inform the law puts everyone in danger, especially women.

In the U.S. right now we have Rep Todd Akin in the big political realm, saying if you are raped and become pregnant, you weren’t really raped, because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Wow- what misinformation, lack of education, ignorance, stupidity…. I’m really not sure what to call it but it’s not that far from the Russian priest saying your outfit might be the reason you were raped. In the past, religious groups have said to people asking “What if someone is raped? when talking about abortion, that women can’t get pregnant by rape. This is really some intense ignorance about biology. And extremely sad, not just because it’s wrong but because there are probably women out there who were raped but got pregnant so think it couldn’t have been raped no matter how much they said NO.

Church and state are separated for a reason. Blurring those lines takes rights away from people and therefore freedom away from everyone.

In Moscow, while Pussy Riot is locked up for being young women who are dissenting, giving a strong message to the entire population, there is a very real push for church and state to be one again in Moscow and in the U.S. It is part of the War On Women that continues working to oppress women. The band’s name is very appropriate because we will not be quiet, the PUSSY RIOT is growing!

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