Much has been written about Pussy Riot, the crux of the arguments have been put on the human right issues – and quite rightly so – but there is a theological aspect of the case that needs to be explored.
The metaphor of Pussy Riot ‘praying to God’ for the removal of Putin, in the Church of his greatest supporter is powerful, and the sentence will rest on whether Pussy Riot were committing a religious hate crime.
If Pussy Riot are guilty of a religious hate crime, as alleged, then they are in very good company –Jesus Christ himself committed the same sin.
The overturning of the money lenders tables in the Gospels was a direct, unquestionable, violation of Temple law, they were there with the blessing of the Pharisees. Jesus deliberately invaded the Temple and disrupted the status quo, he upset the authorities and from that point they were out to get him.
The Temple authorities and the State then conspired to create a charge on which they could get rid of the trouble maker, they created charges, they got false witnesses, they silenced any opposition. The modus operendi of a totalitarian State never changes.
As much as the Sanhedrin were implicit in the crucifixation of Christ so the Russian Orthodox Church are complicit in the conviction of the Pussy Riot, for the crime of highlighting the complicity of the Church in maintaining a corrupt and oppressive regime. The political dynamic between the Church and the State is as valid today in Putin’s Russia as it was in Judea.
Der Speigel writes:
It was even suggested that the women were practically possessed by the devil, having “twitched and jumped satanically, throwing their legs up, rolling their heads and calling out very insulting and blasphemous words.
Der Speigel also points that Pussy Riot are from the avant garde of Russian and that they are hardly their beliefs and methods are highly unorthodox, again the same can be said of Christ.
The Christian Church was born out of protest and social revolution in the face of oppression.
Singing a Prayer in Church is the greatest crime that Pussy Riot could be reasonably charged with, the prayer by the young women was to another young woman, Mary, to free the State. Arguably Pussy Riot were upholding the faith the Church said they were blaspheming.
The Russian Orthodox Church is acting as an agent of the State, and has sullied its name and the name of Christ.