Ukraine takes aim against “gay propaganda”

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The Ukrainian parliament could give final approval next week to a bill that aims to outlaw “pro-homosexual propaganda” – any “positive depiction” of gay people, gay pride marches, or even the screening of a film like Brokeback Mountain.


Critics have described the legislation, which imposes indeterminate fines and up to five years in prison for repeat offenders, as a throwback to the Middle Ages, although it is only a couple of decades since homosexuality was a criminal offence here and in the rest of the USSR.

In some ways, Ukraine is an open and tolerant society. It was the first former Soviet republic to decriminalise homosexuality, in 1991. It has sprouted its own gay rights movement, and gay night clubs operate freely in central Kiev.

The new bill could be interpreted to outlaw public displays of single-sex affection, such as kissing and hand-holding”

But despite this, the bill – which sailed through its first reading last week – enjoys wide backing. All major political parties are united in support, and polls indicate that many Ukrainians support some restrictions on the rights of sexual minorities.

One of the legislation’s incubators is the Christian Hope evangelical church in Kiev. Located in a nondescript five-story structure outside the city centre, Christian Hope provides a wide array of educational and charity services, and has established a network of some 150 churches throughout Ukraine. It has also helped collect thousands of signatures in support of three anti-gay bills put forward in parliament this year.

After a rousing service in the church’s warehouse-like auditorium focusing on the agonies of sin and bliss of salvation, I meet the chief pastor, Valery Reshetinsky. For him, the fight against homosexuality is a matter of “national security” upon which the survival of the nation depends.

“Here’s the issue,” says Pastor Reshetinsky, a large-boned man with a slight moustache, tells me. “In a real democracy, my freedom and rights are limited by the freedom of someone else.”

Written By: David Stern
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

51 COMMENTS

  1. I am amazed that the medieval church rose again in Russia. Many people have told me is an very superstitious place, not really in sync with its grim official ideology.  The bigotry arose from the grave with it.

  2. I think I found the home of the Gay Forum of Ukraine. 
    http://www.ukraine.com/forums/

    I found various photos of Svyatoslav Sheremet. He seems to have be an extroverted bodybuilder, the Yul Brynner type. In my day gay libbers were all in their 20s.  He might be in his 40s or 50s now.

    Then as now the camera is your best tool to fight back.

  3. “Help, help, we’re being oppressed,” cries christian policy maker.  “Teh geys are denying us our right to discriminate against them…. so we’ll make ‘em shut up.”

    It would be funny if it weren’t so … actually happening.

  4. That photograph is horrific, and brought to mind the following extract from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. I hope that Mr Sheremet is okay.

    “Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

    P.S. As Ignorant Amos might say, why the feck doesn’t Sir Elton Hercules John have a Nobel Peace Prize? The guy’s raised billions for charity, works tirelessly promoting LGBT issues, and continues to be a thorn in the side of odious people everywhere who think that their beliefs give them the right to persecute those different from themselves. I’m a little too old to have heroes, but, goshdarnit, that man is a hero to me.

    P.P.S. What is it with Christians and Spongebob Squarepants? And why did mention of the pineapple-dwelling poriferous one set off alarm bells and make me think that these Ukrainian evangelicals are being advised by groups like Focus on the Family?

  5.   One of the legislation’s incubators is the Christian Hope evangelical church in Kiev.

    As the people shook off the imposed philosophy of communism, guess which hate-mongers were first in the queue with a fake substitute.

  6. Where did they hang that iron curtain? Maybe we should hang it back up and let the barbarians go through the process called civilization.
     
    Freedom is not supposed to be a privilege just for the elite..

  7. I think the logic of hate goes something like this: my life sucks, therefore there must be someone else to blame. Blame the parents; if that doesn’t work, then it’s the siblings’ fault; if that fails, blame the crappy neighborhood you grew up in, or the shitty school you attended; or, blame your shitty neighbor or boss or colleagues or job or society at large; when that doesn’t do the trick, pick a sub-set of society: women; people of a different tribe or color; immigrants; gays; Jews, especially the Jews; those of a different religion or sect within the religion, if you have a faith; blame people with more money than you or with less, depending on your starting position; blame fate; blame the gods even. Whatever you do, never, ever, blame yourself. And don’t just blame them, hate them as well; hate them with a passion that sears so deep into you that it burns away your self-loathing and makes you feel good about yourself, even if it’s just for a split second. See, it has a logic all of its own.

    Of course, I hasten to add, there are people who have been genuinely aggrieved (which is a hard thing to define) and therefore have a right to be angry or hateful, but a lot of hate appears to be a case of projection of inner self-hate (and fear even, I forgot to say) and scapegoating (as seems to be the case here).

  8. It seems that the Ukraine today is something like where we were in the 1950s. One hopes that their catching up to the rest of the world can be expedited somewhat. Fortunately these things tend to accelerate in pace – ten years ago we were campaigning for an equal age of consent and the repeal of Section 28, equal marriage rights weren’t even on the horizon. Today we have anti-discrimination laws and all the major political parties are in officially favour of marriage equality.

    One hopes that the seeds of tolerance and moral probity will bear much fruit in the Ukraine over the coming years. But it would be nice if international organizations intervened a little more heavy-handedly to spell out the standards we would like them to achieve.

    On the other hand, this is perhaps the clearest expression I have yet heard of the “Help, they’re taking away my right to persecute others” mentality. I don’t honestly know how people can say those sorts of things with a straight face.

  9. Here’s how it looks to me: The post-Soviet reforms have turned out badly. The Ukranian establishment doesn’t want to or is scared to try to reverse those policies, so it uses standard right-wing tactics and blames the positive symbols used to sell the politico-economic reforms; freedom for women, gays, freedom of and from religion and freedom of expression.

  10. And the Church encourages that brutality.
    Well they are hardly condemning it are they?

    Truth be known it is at the nod and wink of the church that is happens in the first place.
    When they cannot get their way by one means they get it another by intimidation and instigation of their will by tacit invocation to physical means, tis what religion, especially the RCC, excel at, and have done for 2000 years.

  11. I like how the author of the article is compelled to tell the reader that the christian hope church provides lots of educational and charitable services.  Reminds me of the Jerry Sandusky apologists who say that he did so many “nice” things before he raped children.

  12. This is off-topic, but I read a comment on a discussion site a couple of days ago by someone who said that even though Jimmy Savile was a psychopathic, serial-raping pedophile (and the inspiration for the character of Jacko Vance in Val McDermid’s brilliant crime novel The Wire in the Blood), his karma probably balanced out because he raised a lot of money for charity.

  13. “In a real Democracy, my freedom and rights are limited by the freedom of someone else.”

    What POPPYCOCK DRIVEL!!!!!!!!! Pastor Reshetinsky  and his ilk may be entitled to the “freedom” of their obviously ludicrous religious opinions, about homosexuality, but not the freedom to bury their
    heads in the sands of ignorance about its facts.

    The Ukraine——–Still obviously suffering from the 26 year aftereffects of popular consumption of meatloaf that glows in the dark…………………………………….

  14. Christian Hope evangelical church is part of a network . The headquarters of this network (missionpartners.org) are located in both Canada and the U.S.
    Understanding fully the futility of the action, I am still sending this to the chosen ones. It makes me feel better… go figure:

    “Valery Reshetinsky’s rants about the homosexual community in Ukraine are priceless.

    Everything that comes out of his mouth is offensive to me, so we are even. And by the way, what is “characteristic for (his) Ukraine” aside from pogroms that is??

    As if the world were not in a sad state already,  evangelical churches have found their way to the bottom of the barrel, and they are still digging.

    Your self-serving self righteous stances are a disgrace. You have no monopoly on morals or decency, but what you do have is the mentality of ignorant peasants.

    Calling you a bunch of dullards is giving dullards a bad name.”

    Yes indeed, I feel much better

  15. “On the other hand, this is perhaps the clearest expression I have yet heard of the “Help, they’re taking away my right to persecute others” mentality. I don’t honestly know how people can say those sorts of things with a straight face.”

    [By the way, could someone explain to me how to do blockquotes on this system - thanks.]

    The thing that really makes me bang my head against the wall is why journalists never challenge people over such twisted mentality. They keep quoting such absurdly stupid comments yet never make the idiots try and explain the “rationality” behind the comments. If people could be made to reflect upon their stupid comments, it might just make them realise that they are stupid and they’ll shut up and everyone can get on with a normal life.

  16. Back to the future in Ukraine yet it was not so long ago they received universal acclamation for dispensing with the Russian yoke achieving self determination and now the state is using the same iron heel to subjugate a minority section of their people.How irrational and sad  this is for a new nation to sink into the mire so soon on its journey to freedom.

  17. Obviously, religious savagery is not limited to Islamic Countries.  Some Christian countries have not yet evolved enough to understand the nature of sexuality in humans and in animal kingdom.

  18. Please also—- note carefully, that the thug in the picture who’s jumping on Mr. Sheremet— by virtue of the cap he’s wearing, must OBVIOUSLY NOT be a Chicago Cubs Baseball fan……………… 
     See, Captain, how “evil” is exported by “The Big Apple”!!!!!!!!!My kind of town,– Chicago is……..my kind of town,— Chicago is……….my kind of razzmatazz-and ithas——all that Jazz————-!!!!!! (etc,etc,etc,…….)But thankfully,————– not the Mets or Yankees!!!!!!

  19.  What a precious little bunny that Carey is.

    The cretin is a homophobic jebus drooling idiot!
    About time he shuffled off to his maker I have had enough of him for one lifetime!

    Reminds me of the weird inadequate little nutbag’s that used to hang around the fringes of society dressed in filthy rags and unkempt beards getting scraps of food for nothing and moaning ‘woe woe and thrice woe’ at anyone unlucky enough to be in earshot then shaking  rattling sticks at things considered unholy, while dispensing made up preposterous nonsense at the crowd who were not particularly impressed but it provided some entertainment in the dreary slog of life…
    I really wish he would revert to traditional ju ju man antics and fuck off back to his cave…and wait for the tide to come in!

  20. HOMOSEXUALITY IS A NATURAL PHENOMENON. IT IS NOT A CHOICE.

    Science of sexual orientation (Dr. Cynthia Chappell ):
    http://vimeo.com/31526921 

    Symmetry Of Homosexual Brain Resembles That Of Opposite Sex, Swedish Study Finds:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re… 

    PET and MRI show differences in cerebral asymmetry and functional connectivity between homo- and heterosexual subjects:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu… 

    Gay Men, Straight Women Have Similar Brains:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/… 

    Homosexual Women Have Less Grey Matter in Perirhinal Cortex than Heterosexual Women:
    http://www.plosone.org/article… 

    There are many other grant based studies.

  21. I wish those thugs, and the pastor and his flock, would glimpse at the websites you recommend and took to heart the information there, but wait a minute – do they have a heart  or even a brain?!  I doubt that very much since normal human biology is ‘not characteristic for Ukraine’ according to this holy imbecile.  

  22. I agree.

    I would never attempt to talk reasons to the leaders, but to those who start having doubts about their religious beliefs.  Maybe they will listen.

    In general, each year the population of atheists/agnostics increases (at least in the west).  So, lets accelerate it (I know that you agree with me).   Hopefully, we will also have more atheists than agnostics in this population.

    All we can do during our short lifetime is to spread awareness and take pride in doing so.  After all, we are doing this out of compassion for fellow humans.  This is why many atheists like myself consider themselves Secular Humanists.

    Cheers.

  23. “Supporters of the bill, like Ruslan Kukharchuk, a founder of the local group Love Against Homosexuality, deny the accusation of intolerance. They say they too condemn the violence against homosexuals. What is more, they add, gays are free to do whatever they want ‘in the privacy of their room’.”

    Wow, yeah. Okay. Great. That’s not totally fucked up and intolerant, at all.

    “In his opinion, freedom of speech for sexual minorities is a violation of what he considers his inalienable right not to have to hear something he finds offensive.”

    Genius, Pastor. What kind of world would this be if something you disliked fell upon those perfect ears of yours? Why should homosexuals be allowed to do things like hold hands while walking down a street when your poor eyes just cannot take the sight?

    Absolutely sickening photograph, too. Painful to think about.

  24. You know, I would like to see what happened next from the picture above. It is outrageous that one man, clearly in a defensive position, is apparently about to be stamped on by one person while seemingly being kicked by two others. People everywhere should be outraged by this; the Ukraine government and its ambassadors should be hauled in front of the cameras to explain clearly what they are doing about it. Remember the old adage (slightly modified): first they came after the gays, but I was silent because I wasn’t gay; then…

  25. >For him, the fight against homosexuality is a matter of “national security” upon which the survival of the nation depends.

    That photograph is a perfect example of the sort of “national security” that the fight against homosexuality brings to a society.

    I would also like to know what happens next.  That picture is horrifying

  26. “The thing that really makes me bang my head against the wall is why journalists never challenge people over such twisted mentality. They keep quoting such absurdly stupid comments yet never make the idiots try and explain the “rationality” behind the comments. If people could be made to reflect upon their stupid comments, it might just make them realise that they are stupid and they’ll shut up and everyone can get on with a normal life.”

    When one is dead,
    He doesn’t know that he is dead,
    It is the others that suffer.

    It is the same thing for stupidity!

  27. PERSON
    Here’s
    how it looks to me: The post-Soviet reforms have turned out badly. The
    Ukranian establishment doesn’t want to or is scared to try to reverse
    those policies, so it uses standard right-wing tactics and blames the
    positive symbols used to sell the politico-economic reforms; freedom for
    women, gays, freedom of and from religion and freedom of expression.

    It a slippery slope.

    Before you know it they’ll be letting them kill burglars.

    Anvil.

     

  28. Who would have thought  that an evangelical church would have been leading the campaign to persecute homosexuals probably every one on this page.  These brainless cretins only have a simplistic belief that unless you agree with their way of  life then it is their duty to make your life a misery.

  29. Mercy

    “Supporters of the bill, like Ruslan Kukharchuk, a founder of the local group Love Against Homosexuality, deny the accusation of intolerance.

    Wow, yeah. Okay. Great. That’s not totally fucked up and intolerant, at all.

    They  can’t be “intolerant”!  They used the magic word  “LOVE”, so that makes it OK! -  (Preachers’ “logic”).

    {You may recall that the Spanish Inquisition used to burn people for the “LOVE” of their “souls”!  -  Quite compassionate really for the “souls” – pity about the humans!!!! }

  30. Must be a shitty culture

    Aided and abetted by very shitty ignorant leaders.
    Bad education.
    A society ill at ease.

    Toxic combination and it is always the weakest that get the brunt on the endemic fear.
    Those three brave little soldiers above are the direct result of the culture which suffers religious intolerance as a virtue and pompous moralistic vigilante wannabes as something to aspire to.
    Something better then nothing.
    Because that is all the church can offer them.
    An obvious pride in open bigotry.
    Encouraged by a Church full of hysterically fear laden homophobic inadequate hate filled cretinous sleazy old men that conduct this orchestra from hell with barely concealed contempt for those that are different!

  31. Indeed.

    This is part of delusion, i.e., they are just blind to the facts, which they can see if they look.  A mental block caused by religion.  People get killed or kill just because of this mental block.

  32. Great post. I did actually research the outcome of the photographed incident a while ago. You can read the follow-up here:

    http://www.rferl.org/content/b

    Seems that Mr. Sheremet made out OK, given the circumstances.

    Your reference to Orwell is spot-on. Thuggery is always just the long arm of institutionalized bigotry — it is no different in Ukraine, the southeastern United States or in Afghanistan. Totalist ideology can be presented with a soft, even dull, edge, and then left to rogue elements for its messy implementation.

  33. The bigotry arose from the grave with it

    Really, the bigotry was in the grave and then arose? Hmmm, maybe, but i doubt it. i suspect the bigotry has remained alive and well throughout. I hope that they can grow out of it quickly.

  34. I was the lightning rod for gay bigotry for a number of years starting in 1970 here in BC. The bigots made it clear they felt justified because of the bible.  Sikhs were the other problem. They were actually scarier. They not so big on threats and more on getting together with two by fours in gangs and beating people to death.  

    Not all that long ago police used to enjoy going where gays were congregated just to watch them flee in panic.  You could hear them laughing.  Police tend to have a very rigid Christian view of morality.

    The one nice thing about the Internet is bigots now blow off steam in emails rather than showing up at your house.

    It takes an ideology to help people behave really really badly.  I have a Russian friend who might be able to comment.

  35. One of the things about this sort of fight, it is quite unlike the fights you may have had in school, where the fight goes on until one party or the the other is bloodied and unmoving.  In these sorts of bigot fights, that is just the beginning of the attack, as the gang continues kicking, and beating. In this stage when the victim is too weak to continue defending or who is blinded by blood in his eyes, is when most of the damage takes place.  They are trying to kill the victim not just humiliate him.  There is no sense of fair play. Anything goes.  I remember being attacked once and complaining my assailants were “dirty fighting”. They burst out laughing at my sense of fair play in fights.

  36. NoKiddingMan

     HOMOSEXUALITY IS A NATURAL PHENOMENON. IT IS NOT A CHOICE.

    Some interesting reading there, NKM.

    Thing is, for myself at least, I’ve never been able to quite get my head round this deterministic line of arguement.

    As a consequence I rarely use it (usually, if at all, as a brief preamble) preferring to lean towards Goulds advice:

    “Better to stick resolutely to a philosophical position on human liberty: what free adults do with each other in their own private lives is their business alone. It need not be vindicated – and must not be condemned – by genetic speculation.”

    Anvil.

  37. Thanks for your comment.

    My main reference is evidence based facts.  I would like to see evidence for any claims to be able to accept it as reality of life (that is most likely true).  Till then, I accept the homosexuality as a natural trend determined by brain, i.e., its structure/substructures and functions, as has been clearly demonstrated by science.  

    Nothing is wrong with speculation, but to be taken as most likely true evidence is definitely required.  Speculation can come from any well known philosopher or scientist, but still evidence is a must to me.  Even if RD claims anything, I want to see what is evidence for his claims (he never failed to my knowledge).

    Genetic speculation is not meaningful to me.  If genetic or hereditary evidence is provided, then it is most likely true.

    I prefer not to refer to individuals, but to the evidence provided by them.

    And, I agree: Adults can do whatever they want with each other as far as there is mutual consent. This is unrelated to what I posted though. But true.

  38. Well, I think we can forgive Goulds use of the word ‘speculation’ as the essay in question may be from as early as 1977? (I’ll try and find out?).

    Given a few decades he may well have used the phrase ‘most likely true’.

    Still, I know several people who baulk at Feynmans scientific use of the word ‘guess’, so…

    Regardless, ‘speculation’, ‘most likely true’, ‘guess’, or indeed ‘evidence’, does not spell the word ‘fact’, does it.

    Anyway, Gould’s point, back in 1977, (in response, it’s worth noting, to E.O. Wilsons proposal that homosexuality had a genetic explanation) was that strategically this was a dangerous move for if you ‘speculated’ that this or that person was “directly programmed” for this or that behaviour how can you then continue to defend it when your speculation (or something that you thought ‘most likely true’) turns out to be wrong.

    I personally would have added a coda regarding the potential genetic justification of  ‘other behaviours’, but hey, I was young and getting drunk at the time.

    This doesn’t detract from the correctness or the humanity of Gould’s insistence on sticking strategically to ‘a philosophical position on human liberty’ – nor indeed from his science; Gould, like yourself, and I imagine all posters on this site, saw homosexuality as patently a natural phenomena that transcends both gender and species and that given our knowledge of natural selection, kin selection etc’, must, obviously, have been adaptive.

    He takes this a priori. He doesn’t really need to see any further evidence beyong his knowledge that all form has function.

    He doesn’t need to stick his fingers into the wounds – at least not into ‘all’ the wounds.

    My own point – apart from echoing Gould, was that you are welcome to use terminology such as ‘Natural Phenomenon’ and ‘Natural Trend’ till you are blue in the face.

    You can present all the evidence you wish, again, till you are blue in the face, in order to establish what you feel is ‘most likely true’… and you will convince absolutely no-one.

    Well, certainly no-one religious, that is.

    Just as to a scientist none of those earlier words spelled ‘Fact’, to a religious person none of those later words – ‘phenomena’ ‘trend’ ‘natural’ – spell the word ‘Good’. [EDIT: And why on earth should they!]

    To the religious they spell the words ‘bad’, ‘evil’, ‘sin’ and worse.

    Far better, strategically, to resolutely adopt a philosophical arguement on human liberty and tell them to keep their fucking noses out of other people’s bedrooms.

    This is how this is related to your post. Apologies if I was unclear.

    Anvil.

    Edit: E.O. Wilsons theory, it turns out, was from 1975, so I imagine Goulds comment would have been shortly after?

  39. Well, I think being 100% certain is a religious/arrogant way.  I am 99.99% confident that what I see (based on evidence) is a fact.  I use most likely true to avoid arrogant assertions.  The same goes for evolution, but evolution is a fact.

    The purpose of providing scientific evidence is not to offend feelings or categorize people as programmed for certain behaviour.   We are our brains, as any alteration to our brains will alter our behaviour and may affect our health (schizophrenia, depression, aggression etc.).  

    Homosexuality is a natural trend both in humans and animal kingdom.  By trend I mean that it happens.  I have not heard any argument that relates natural selection with homosexuality, because I am not aware of natural selection either favour or stop the birth and survival of homosexual fellows.  There is brutal artificial selection of the religions that can affect and hurt homosexual human beings.

    Again, I cannot accept any argument without evidence.  And, I do understand liberty and rights of all human beings.

    If the above argument is not convincing, then I cannot do anything about it.

    It is good to avoid subtle personal attacks (which may not be your intention), as my goal is not to show I know more than the others, or to show off.  My goal is to express my opinion and learn.    I have seen and highly respected and admired my coworkers who are homosexual (married or single), or transgender.  I strongly support them, because we are all humans.

    I think I have talked about this argument enough.  

    Again, thanks for your comments.  I appreciate your opinion.

    P.S. – I do not have time to proof read my comments.  So, I apologies to my like minded fellows for any errors in advance.

  40.  Yes, NoKiddingMan, I agree with you. And I don’t think you were being arrogant in any way, shape or form.

    I apologise if you thought I was in any way subtley attacking you? This was not my intention. My comments on our use of words were typed with both a warm and a wry smile, and in the spirit of open and friendly debate.

    I appreciated your links, too. I learned from them.

    My point was to merely suggest an alternate strategy when dealing with the religious whilst also pointing out an inherent problem when taking a deterministic line.

    I don’t believe there is a cut and dried, or right and wrong approach here.

    I’ll attempt to be less verbose and more concise and precise in the future.

    Anvil.

    ps: The article of Wilson’s was in the New York Times Magazine:

    Edward O. Wilson, “Human Decency is Animal,” New York Times Magazine (October 12, 1975): 48–50. So presumably this was following the publication of his ‘Sociobiology’.

    Though i imagine, sadly, it’ll be behind a paywall.

    Briefly I think the arguement goes that in small ancestral communities of close family groups the genes for homosexuality are maintained in a similar way to the evolution of the menopause in females – through kin selection in competition with other groups.

    Hope this makes sense?

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