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Slipped Disc editorial: Naked Femen cannot share Pussy Riot cause

The radical feminist attack on an act of Christmas worship in Cologne Cathedral should dismay readers of all persuasions. Freedom of religious worship is a human right as sacrosanct as freedom of speech. When one is attacked, so is the other. The Femen group damaged their cause by denying the people of Cologne the peace of Christmas Mass.

Any attempt to justify this attack by reference to the Pussy Riot demonstration in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 2012 is misplaced. Pussy Riot were protesting against the church’s support for the Putin regime. They did not disrupt an act of worship. Their protest was staged at a relatively quiet time in the church day as the basis for a video titled ‘Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!’

It was crass, misguided and offensive to the church and the regime but it made a legitimate political point and it did not attack the rights of any other individual. The punishment inflicted on the protestors was out of all proportion to their alleged crime. Pussy Riot’s protest was redeemed by the over-reaction of an authoritarian state.

Femen conducts its guerrilla tactics in the impunity of free societies. Its attack in Cologne was odious. The group needs to rethink its modus operandi if it is to gain any semblance of civilised support.

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Comments

  1. It’s interesting that the words painted on her body, in Cologne, were in English.

  2. Crumbleaddict says:

    Hear hear. Very well put! Thank you.

    • Crumbleaddict says:

      My above comment was to Norman, not in support of Jeffrey’s observation, BTW….. I think this editorial hits the nail on the head in a very level headed and non-knee-jerk way. As a feminist and person of faith, I found it very clarifying!

  3. “Freedom of religious worship” . what an euphemism for centuries of letting a tiny minority of shrewd people preach lies, manipulate the uninformed and untaught, abuse people and much more. One should really rethink, whether the right of “Freedom of religious worship” is not an unfortunate outcome of just this rigorous manipulation. Fighting for it by someone informed and tought makes me suspicious.
    “The Lord” did not create clothes during genesis, did he? It tells a lot about us if we are upset by the naked, anywhere!

    • Yes, for me this is the crucial point. Whether or not freedom of religious worship has the legal backing of the State, should the church be a big enough tent to be able to cope with everyone, and everything they do? And if it’s not, what is the proper response when its limitations are tested like this?

      I was once at a service, and the sermon was about the place – or lack thereof – of homosexuality in Christian dogma, delivered by a self-proclaimed gay preacher. In the middle of the sermon, a man stood up incandescent with rage, and said this is not what he came to church to hear, then stormed out. The Dean later said he wished the man had stayed, because he missed the best part of the sermon. And knowing the Dean, if the man had indeed stayed and kept up his protest, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had engaged the man in a dialogue right then and there, in the middle of the sermon, that would have transformed the experience.

      Not quite as high on the Richer scale as what happened in Cologne. But I’d like to think if I had been there at the Dom I wouldn’t have been offended, but would have definitely held out the hope that the people in the church could together have found a way to accept the protester and her protest into their midst.

  4. Alberto Martinez says:

    The naked don´t upset anybody . But it´s good to respect other people beliefs even if we don´t agree with them . This action is pointless.

  5. Jeffrey E. Salzberg says:

    Why would my comment about the protest’s being in English not be accepted? What could possibly have been objectionable about it?

  6. “Freedom of religious worship is a human right as sacrosanct as freedom of speech.”

    Difficult call, but I would disagree. Freedom of speech is a superior right, it must be, or a society is not free and any anti-human agenda can be hidden under pseudo-religious cults and agendas.

    Nevertheless the young narcissistic lady (she does this all them time, Putin visit to Hannover, German TV show…) has no right to bomb a holy mass inside church premises, that’s not free speech, that’s just hooliganism, only intended to create media attention. Or where is her or her group’s political statement?

    Very interesting to connect the dots and see what the targets of Femen are so far.
    -Putin’s Russia (visit to Hannover Fair)
    -Islamic Qatar
    -Catholic Church (this event and others)

    Among the three main world religions, their actions only target two, Christianity and Islam…

  7. Brilliant way to take down the patriarchy, though. If there’s one thing that sexist heterosexual men want to prevent at all costs, it’s attractive young women taking their tops off in public. You go, sisters!

  8. Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

    Mark Twain

    Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marktwain104599.html#xdc18wsq1wCkOOqr.99

  9. Ah,the lesser vessel. Somehow we must live with the heartbreak that women are quite as limited and idiotic as men. Gender quality, at last! Hurrah!
    A publicity hound? A neurotic show-off? A plain moron? And why the Cologne Cathedral and
    not an Orthodox Synagogue? Now that would have demonstrated something like courage and seriousness of spirit.
    And why the weighty thoughts smeared on her torso in English 101? Do they only thus carry the
    force of law? Oh well, all very German, this…

    • Are there any Orthodox synagogues in Cologne?

      In any case, in an Orthodox synagogue she would have received far less attention than she got in the Catholic cathedral in a largely Catholic city. And getting attention is the point of a protest like this, whatever one may think of the protesters’ views or methods.

  10. cabbagejuice says:

    Outrageous political protest that breaks the mold sensitizes society to more of the same and to an extent legitimizes it. Blowing up four planes in a desert more than 40 years ago emptied of its passengers is a template for bomb ridden cars and buses that almost seem benign by comparison but do lead up to the abomination of 9/11 which in turn spawned other terrorist attacks as in Madrid and London. The same goes for other copycat mass shootings.
    Connecting the dots is not difficult and in the case of Femen, originally a Ukrainian protest group against the current president and a wish to join the EU back in 2008 has either sponsored or inspired strangely violent protests against religion. Strange, because if they are talking about tolerance and equality practically everything they do is aggressive and hateful.
    First they hate themselves, maybe even more than they hate men. Any woman who trivializes the trauma of abortion is mentally and eventually physically self-destructive.
    Three weeks ago was an under reported, if at all, atrocity outside the San Juan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, topless women again this time in the thousands (!) spewing obscenities and attacking good men who did not react to their insults, spit and being spray painted by them. The police did not do anything either. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpXOBHDiFD8
    This event clearly was a racking up of a previous one a year before.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckpQFIro2C4
    I find it difficult to understand or get into such a mindset but I have met women with a pathological hatred of men having at the same time a willingness to use them out and cry victim or rapo when they respond to their provocations. Hence, the seeming contraction between Femen’s advocacy of abolishing prostitution, yet at the same time baring it all in public.
    It is a pity that radical feminists have just about destroyed romance and innocence at the same time. Western Civ thanks to its Judeo-Christian values moved in the direction of true women’s rights, instead of being a baby-making chattel with no property rights who could be divorced anytime if her husband said it three times. Ennobling the role of women was a long process over 2000 years but the radical feminists will throw it all away, while replacing it with the joylessness and cattiness of a women’s prison.

  11. Of course?

    Notwithstanding the influence it has had in world history and its far-flung presence, simply by virtue of numbers, I’m not at all sure Judaism should be counted as one of the world’s “major” religions. The portion of the world’s population that is Jewish is roughly 0.2% – smaller than Sikhism (0.36%)

    • cabbagejuice says:

      I think that Judaism should be counted as one of the world’s major religions because of having one of the longest histories over four millennia and its influence through Christianity that kept the Torah as part of its Scriptures. Of course there are disagreements how these were interpreted by Christians but the basic morality is not disputed from the Ten Commandments onward. It also influenced Islam with some of the stories intact like that of Joseph and others were changed like sacrifice of Ismael rather than Issac. The monotheism of Islam is taken from Judaism.
      Western Civilization for better or worse in turn had an enormous impact on the rest of the world.

  12. “Pussy Riot were protesting against the church’s support for the Putin regime. They did not disrupt an act of worship.”
    Disruption or not (though the video clearly shows upset members of the church, so I’m not sure what Norm was looking at), those girls should’ve been at the Moscow Kremlin, because that’s where their problem was. Supporters have their reasons, and for them to assume guilt by association is just proof they are just as ignorant as those they protest.

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