The Russian Orthodox Church Bishops’ Council will begin tomorrow. A document will be issued by the council that will define the church’s stance on human rights, calling for resistance to the emerging system of liberal values that contains “lies, untruth and insults to religious and national values.” Opponents see a possibility that the document is being prepared as a political order, to displace secular human rights organization, and the political opposition with them.
The ruling hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church meet in Moscow once every four years to determine the further course of the church. Deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department of external relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said that a document was being prepared “on human rights, on the problem of freedom and dignity. We will try to answer the question of whether those who say that man is good from the start are right, and if he is completely emancipated, society itself will come to a normal life by itself.”
In 2006, at the World Council of the Russian People, the Russian Orthodox Church suggested that the concept of human right accepted in secular society should be reexamined. “In the complex of rights and freedoms of man ideas are gradually being integrated that not only contradict Christianity, but traditional moral understandings about man in general,” chairman of the world council, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad Kirill said at that time. A year later, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexiy II echoed those thoughts in a speech before the Parliament of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
“This is the first document in history that officially applies Orthodox dogma to one of the most pressing socio-political problems in modern society – human right,” Orthodox political scientist Alexander Dugan, one of the drafters of the current document told Kommersant. He said that it would be “a powerful philosophical institution designed to influence the legal model of the Russian state.”
“We are convinced that the time has come to reexamine the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are against those human rights that lead to the corruption of society and contradict moral bases,” said Konstantin Bendas, business manager of the Russian Union of Christian Evangelicals. Zinovy Kogan, chairman of the Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations of Russia said, “Unfortunately, the liberal approach to human rights protects sin that contradicts human nature and God’s law. The effort of the Russian Orthodox Church to change the situation is absolutely right; we support it.”
“The church in encroaching out of its area, because only the state can limit human rights, and not a church institution,” countered Lev Levinson of the Institute for Human Rights. “It is completely possible that this is a political order.”
“Secular human rights organizations have discredited themselves so much with their double standards that it is time to displace them,” said Dugan.