Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Western media concealing facts about female rock band’s desecration of Russian cathedral

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

(**** WARNING this story contains graphic information, viewer discretion is advised***)

August 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Russian punk rock band “Pussy Riot,” currently on trial for desecrating Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, is being elevated by Western elites and media outlets to the status of a human rights icon.

Time magazine describes the trial as “A Kangaroo Court Goes on a Witch Hunt,” while Britain’s Guardian newspaper quotes supporters comparing group leader Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to Simone de Beauvoir. The Obama administration says it is “deeply concerned” about what it calls a “politically-motivated prosecution,” and the pro-abortion “human rights” group Amnesty International claims the trio are “prisoners of conscience.” Madonna Ciccone and other American pop stars and celebrities have characterized the girls as “heroes” and are demanding their release.

However, those same sources are giving a very truncated version of what the trio of girls actually did when they entered Russia’s most revered church, for what the band members claimed was merely a political protest against the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The three women, all in their twenties, are being prosecuted for barging into the Cathedral’s most sacred space, the sanctuary that contains the altar, where they performed a high-kicking dance, sang an expletive-laden song, and engaged in mockery of worship. A video of their antics, with an English translation of the lyrics, can be found here (warning: offensive content).

Western media accounts typically quote only one phrase from the song sung by the trio, “St. Mary, virgin, drive away Putin,” giving the impression that the song was nothing more than an outcry against the Russian leader. However, an English translation of the full lyrics obtained by LifeSiteNews.com indicate that the girls had more than just electoral politics in mind.

In addition to their mockery of Orthodox worship, the girls derided the “Black robe, golden epaulettes,” of Orthodox clergy, and mocked the “crawling and bowing” of the parishioners. They then added a barb against the Orthodox Church’s defense of public morality, stating, “The ghost of freedom is in heaven, Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains.”

“The head of the KGB is their chief saint,” continue the girls, in reference to Putin’s former position under the Soviet regime.

They then sing a stanza associating the sacred with feces, followed by another stanza objecting to perceived support of the Putin administration by leaders of Orthodoxy, then another stating “Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin,” adding “B**ch, you better believe in God.”

“Pussy Riot” members’ little-known history of obscene “protests”

Another aspect of the story that has been left virtually unreported by Western media outlets is the association of “Pussy Riot” and its members with other obscene displays calculated to provoke moral offense and outrage.

In 2008, band members entered Moscow’s Museum of Biology in order to engage in a “fertility rite” protest against the election of Dmitry Medvedev as the country’s president.  “Pussy Riot” member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and her husband removed their clothes and engaged in public sex in the museum, while others took photos of the incident and posted them on the Internet.

Maria Alekhina, another member, has released a video of the group in which she enters a supermarket and masturbates using a chicken leg, according to an uncharacteristically frank article by the Associated Press. In another recent stunt, the group hung a drawing of a huge phallus on a St. Petersburg drawbridge, the agency reports in the same article.

The group’s repeated acts of calculated provocation against Russian religious and moral sensibilities have created an impression of the band in their home country that differs dramatically from the sympathetic portrayal produced for Western consumers.

While America’s pop culture royalty and media establishment fawn over the jailed trio, Russian performers have been loath to associate themselves with their cause, including the nation’s two biggest rock stars, Zemfira and Mumiy Troll. Some, like the star singer Elena Vaenga, have even denounced them publicly, stating, “I’ll personally drink to the health of the judge who’ll slap them with some jail time.”

Even sympathetic Russian journalist Michael Idov admits in a recent article for the New York Times that “the hometown opinion on Pussy Riot is mixed at best. Even the liberal response has involved language like ‘They should let these chicks go with a slap on the ass.’”

Religious persecution from Russia’s liberals?

Alexander Shchipkov, chairman of the Club of Orthodox Christian Journalists, whom the Voice of Russia characterizes as “a prominent blogger who had to pay dearly for his religious beliefs back in the Soviet times,” regards the group’s cathedral “protest” as a “a cold, bloodless terrorist act.”

“The people who stand behind Pussy Riot want the church to adopt a secular system of values – moral relativism, ecumenism, political correctness and other rules of consumer society. The church will never agree to this kind of ‘secular Reformation,’” Shchipkov added, according to the Voice of Russia.

Dr. Igor Beloborodov, director of Russia’s Demographic Research Institute, told LifeSiteNews in an email interview that “Pussy Riot” has “repeatedly insulted the feelings of believers” in Russia, and is actively engaged in promoting an anti-family, anti-Christian agenda.

“Few people know that their aggressive actions have taken place under the slogans of the LGBT community,” wrote Beloborodov. “They have repeatedly stated in their comments that these actions are directed not only against the Orthodox Church and orthodox believers, but also in solidarity with sexual minorities, which in their opinion, are not supported by the Russian authorities.”

“They chose the church as a target for attack, as Orthodox priests are actively supporting the traditional family and the telling of truth about homosexuality,” he continued. “Obviously, in the spread of the ‘culture of death’ this group and all of their actions are a well-planned social project to discredit the church and the destruction of the natural family.”

“That is why today the anti-Christian lobby is expending huge resources in order to present this group as ‘martyrs.’ In fact we are dealing with dangerous anti-moral ‘terrorists’ fighting against society, churches and our children,” he added.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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