My book Why Religions Work explores religious tolerance issues. It could not be more relevant at the moment with the world in its present state.
This blog has concentrated recently on the wonderful pilgrimages I have been on - to the Holy Land and to Turkey and more recently to Holy Georgia , Greece "In the Steps of St Paul" , Ethiopia and most recently my experiences in Iran.

"If I was allowed another life I would go to all the places of God's Earth. What better way to worship God than to look on all his works?" from The Chains of Heaven: an Ethiopian Romance Philip Marsden

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Pussy Riot Uproar

Am I missing something? The world has gone into overdrive in protest about the sentences imposed on the members of Pussy Riot, turning the whole episode into an issue of free speech and Russian tyranny. But isn't the main point that they were sacrilegious and blasphemous - their act extremely offensive to the religious amongst us? They did after all stage this "punk prayer" against President Putin in front of the altar in Christ the Savior, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow? Is no one outraged about that?
They have said that their protest was against the endorsement of Putin by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, who has since seemingly "forgiven" the group, and asked the authorities to show clemency to them. And they did apparently realise that their act would be deeply offensive to millions of Russian Orthodox worshippers. But did they realise how much further the shock waves would travel.
The subsequent world-wide media hype seems to have largely ignored, brushed aside, this religious aspect of what is admittedly a complex issue. 
This whole incident does though beg the question: What would have happened if, for whatever reason, the protests had been within a mosque?