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Europe censors religious views, while allowing criticism: Russian Orthodox spokesman

Catholic World News - May 06, 2010

A spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow has charged that European leaders allow unrestricted criticism of religious beliefs, but do not give believers the same right to voice their opinions.

Abbot Philipp Ryabykh, the deputy director of ecumenical affairs for the Moscow patriarchate, told Interfax: "In the Western world the right to criticize every religious point of view is often claimed, but at the same time symbols of faith are censored and the religious approach to political and social life of citizens censored."

The Russian Orthodox spokesman was responding to a statement by Thorbjon Jagland, the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, who said that criticism of religious "myths and ideas" should be acceptable in a democratic society. Abbot Ryabykh noted that religion "is relegated to the realm of mythology: an insult to people who believe." At the same time, he pointed out, religious ideas and symbols are being pushed out of public life.

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