Tuesday, July 10, 2012

597 Russia returns to Christianity, defies pro-Gay "communistic" West

Russia returns to Christianity, defies pro-Gay "communistic" West

Newsletter published on 15 July 2013

(1) Thousands queue in Russia to see religious relic
(2) Communistic pro-Gay West cf Russia's reborn Christianity
(3) US Supreme Court declares Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional
for violating Gay rights
(4) Supreme Court decision overturns People's rule
(5) Obama vs Africa on Gay Marriage
(6) Kevin Rudd comes out for Gay Marriage
(7) Russia bans Gay propaganda; HRW says it's discrimination
(8) Putin signs bill banning Gay propaganda
(9) Trots claim credit for shifting public opinion on Gay Marriage
(10) US aid agency expelled from Russia
(11) Foreign agents law is here to stay - Putin
(12) NGOs find loopholes in Foreign Agents’ Law, officials urge corrections
(13) Human rights NGO 'Memorial' received $3m. from abroad to shape
public opinion in Russia
(14) Porn Producers Say Unprotected Sex Is Free Speech Right
(15) Brother Nathanael Kapner describes his conversion to Orthodox
(16) Sodomy Hazing Leaves 13-Year-Old Victim Outcast in Colorado Town

(1) Thousands queue in Russia to see religious relic


13 JULY 2013

AFP - Around 65,000 people have queued for hours in Saint Petersburg to
see a religious relic brought from Greece, officials said Saturday, in
the latest sign of the Russian Orthodox Church's influence in
post-Soviet Russia.

The cross of Saint Andrew -- said to be a relic of the X-shaped cross on
which Andrew the Apostle was crucified -- was placed in Saint
Petersburg's Kazan Cathedral on Thursday after arriving from its
historic home in Patras in Greece.

In just the first days of its display, there were some 65,000 visitors
and the numbers are increasing all the time, a representative of the
fund which helped bring the cross to Russia told the RIA Novosti news

The cross has come from Greece as part of commemorations of the 1,025th
anniversary of the Christianisation of the mediaeval Slavic state of Rus.

The queue to see the relic snaked all around the Petersburg cathedral
with the faithful having to wait for several hours to be allowed to
briefly touch the object.

Local officials said that the atmosphere in the queue was cheerful.

"It is a great event for all Orthodox. I came especially to Saint
Petersburg from my house in the country which is 200 kilometres away,"
Tatyana Koroliova, 60, told AFP.

The excitement recalls the frenzy that surrounded the appearance of the
Belt of the Virgin Mary in Russia in 2011 -- also on loan from Greece --
which attracted gigantic queues when it was put on display in Moscow.

The Russian Orthodox Church was suppressed under Communism but has
staged an astonishing recovery in post-Soviet Russia to become one of
the country's most powerful institutions.

Symbolically, the Saint Andrew cross is being shown in the Kazan
Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, which under Communism was turned into a
museum of atheism.

But the anti-Kremlin opposition accuses the Orthodox Church under its
powerful Patriarch Kirill of meddling in politics and also instigating
the harsh treatment of the Pussy Riot punk group.

Two members of the punk collective are serving two-year prison colony
terms for performing an anti-Kremlin song inside a Moscow church, in a
case which divided Russian society.

The relic is due to stay in Saint Petersburg until Monday and then be
taken to Kiev in Ukraine, Minsk in Belarus and to the Russian capital
Moscow before returning to Greece on August 2.

(2) Communistic pro-Gay West cf Russia's reborn Christianity


US threatened by Russia's Christianity


By Xavier Lerma

If you ever wonder why the weasel west media always calls Putin a
dictator or demonizes him, just look at what has been happening
recently. By watching the US news last week one would think all of
America has turned gay with the Supreme Court ruling on married same-sex
couples. The New York Times called it a, "major victories for the gay
rights movement". Some even compare it to racial equality. If Putin was
the dictator the West claims, the new law that defends Christianity
would have been in effect immediately after the pussy riot blasphemy
which happened last year. Recently President Putin signed a 'gay
propaganda' ban and law criminalizing insult of religious feelings.

Oddly enough the West is the only place where some Christian leaders are
gay. Their Christian churches omit certain biblical teachings against
homosexuality. Yes, Russia's Christianity and anyone who defends it rain
on the gay parade and their upside down world. In the past they
demonized Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and ridiculed Christians in
America as crazed right-wingers. They danced when President Reagan,
Jerry Falwell and Charlton Heston died. There is no longer a real
powerful conservative in the West the liberals fear.

In the East there is someone that causes the western liberal's maniacal
laughter to stop. Vladimir Putin. He has real world power, which causes
the liberal media to fearfully ignore or warp his image. Like a good
Christian King he leads a nation to Christ. Deep down in their evil
souls they shriek like devils because they know Christ is true God and
true power that they cannot defeat. They thought the Bolshevik
revolution destroyed Holy Mother Russia. Christ cannot be defeated and
his servant Putin has welcomed Christ and His church.

Conservative Americans have written thanking me for my articles since
their media and government ignores them. They tell me most of America is
Christian and they support Putin. Tony Smyles wrote, "I wish you would
come to the US and become head of our major news outlets CBS, NBC, ABC
and CNN. Our journalists are, to a man, in lock-step with Obama, having
drunk deeply from his pig's trough of Kool-Aid."

The fact that Putin allows Christianity is an AMAZING thing, while
Christians, true ones, are persecuted in anti christ America. - Robert

Putin has encouraged the nation of Russia to return to spiritual values,
whereas the US. is going in the opposite direction. - Glen

It is a shame that it takes someone from Russia to speak the truth that
our media refuses to do. The reason they don't is because they are
communists themselves. - Steve

The incredible irony is that religious freedom is under assault by the
US Democratic government and party. The battle in the US is truly a
spiritual battle of good versus evil. - Sam

The anti-Christ system has taken full control of the USA. - J

I used to live in a country where strong conservative morale character
meant something. No longer and the days of darkness here in the USA have
begun. - Loy

I am sure they wished their government would do the same as Russia by
putting anti-gay laws and laws to protect Christianity. Fines and jail
time to defend children and Christ's church. Putin said,

"Certain countries ... think that there is no need to protect [children]
from this. ... But we are going to provide such protection the way that
State Duma [parliamentary] lawmakers have decided. We ask you not to
interfere in our governance."

The Western media prefers to insult Putin and herald perverted girls
that defile churches in Russia. The same church destroyed by Communists
and rebuilt by the Russian faithful. The West proclaims how terrible
Putin is and how he jailed poor little girls in a band who were just
singing in church. Even the conservative media, supposedly Christian,
ignores the Russian church and men like Putin who helped it. Propaganda
they say. Propaganda we say when the West warps or ignores the truth of
a church Christ Himself saved.

It was not long ago when Communism soaked the land of Russia with blood
and destroyed churches in its quest to bring happiness to mankind. Now
the Russian Orthodox Church is strong and getting stronger thanks to men
in government like President Vladimir Putin. Does America know how this
happened and why their media still portrays it as the same evil Soviet

How can conservative media sources in America who claim to be Christian
ignore their Christian brothers in Russia who are now successful?
Martyrs they ignore and the blood that was shed to restore the Christian
Church in Russia. They must be con artists playing the conservative side
as fools while the liberals enslave the rest.

Devout Russian Christians are on the march to conquer the world. Not
like the Communist Soviet Union who spread wars like Obama and the US
are doing now. These Russians are like Disciples of Christ who lovingly
reach out to their brothers and sisters. Helping men and women in
darkness enslaved by a materialistic society who are truly in need of
Christ. Look to the East.

Reagan called the Soviet Union the evil empire and rightly so. "The
Soviet Union was the Russian people held hostage by the Communists"-
Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn wrote about those evils in many of
his books, which Reagan was well aware of. On May 30, 1988 in Moscow,
President Ronald Reagan was at the Danilov Monastery. He said,

  "There is a beautiful passage that I'd just like to read, if I may.
It's from one of this country's great writers and believers, Alexander
Solzhenitsyn, about the faith that is as elemental to this land as the
dark and fertile soil. He wrote:

"When you travel the byroads of central Russia, you begin to understand
the secret of the pacifying Russian countryside. It is in the churches.
They lift their bell-towers-graceful, shapely, all different-high over
mundane timber and thatch. From villages that are cut off and invisible
to each other, they soar to the same heaven.... The evening chimes used
to ring out, floating over the villages, fields, and woods, reminding
men that they must abandon trivial concerns of this world and give time
and thought to eternity."

Putin and Reagan listened to Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Those who listen to
their elders tend to be wiser. Vladimir Putin allows Christianity to
flourish unlike the liberals in America who have their own warped idea
of freedom from God and a denial of evil's existence in the world.

There is a reason that most public schools in America do not teach the
Bolshevik revolution and its true consequences. There are people in the
West that want to remove everything related to Christ from "public view"
just as the communists did during the Soviet enslavement of Russia. 20th
century Russia is proof that Christianity can prevail against their
darkness and confusion.

Today, the liberals who control the West fear Putin as though doomsday
was tomorrow. It's not a nuclear threat but rather a spiritual renewal
that threatens them. It is not Putin but Russia's Christianity they
fear. Rather, it is Christ they truly fear and hate. They try to
persuade Americans by scaring everyone with ideas of Putin as the evil
KGB out to destroy the world. They "reason" KGB is bad. Putin is KGB.
Therefore, Putin is bad. They demonize Putin because it's not our world
but their liberal world that is in danger of being destroyed.

Xavier Lerma

Contact Xavier Lerma at xlermanov@swissmail.org

Hyperlink to Pravda is mandatory if you republish this article.

(3) US Supreme Court declares Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional
for violating Gay rights


Updated June 26, 2013, 3:16 p.m. ET

Supreme Court Rulings Boost Gay Marriage

DOMA Violates 'Equal Protection Principles'; Justices Avoid Ruling on
California's Proposition 8


Marc Solomon, Freedom to Marry Campaign director, joins Lunch Break to
discuss the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling against the
federal Defense of Marriage Act. Photo: AP.

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court dramatically advanced the struggle for gay
rights Wednesday, ending the federal government's discrimination against
same-sex spouses and authorizing the resumption of gay marriages in the
nation's largest state.

In a pair of 5-4 decisions announced on the final day of the court's
annual term, the justices struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act,
which had denied federal benefits to gay couples married under state
law, and let stand a district-court ruling that Proposition 8, a 2008
voter initiative that ended same-sex marriages in California, is

Wall Street Journal Legal Reporter Ashby Jones breaks down the Supreme
Court's Prop 8 and DOMA rulings, and what the decisions could mean for
same-sex marriage going forward.

In striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy
said Congress had no business undermining a state's decision to extend
"the recognition, dignity, and protection" of the marriage contract to
same-sex couples.

By excluding such couples from the rights and responsibilities of
marriage afforded by more than 1,000 provisions of federal law, "DOMA
writes inequality into the entire United States Code," Justice Kennedy

That violates the right to liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment,
Justice Kennedy wrote, joined by liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Four conservatives filed three separate dissents. Justice Antonin Scalia
read his from the bench. He and others contended that the court had no
jurisdiction to hear the case at all, because the Obama administration
already had concluded the 1996 law was unconstitutional and thus there
was no dispute for the court to resolve.

As for the merits of the law, Justice Scalia said it should stand.
"Favoring man-woman marriage no more 'demeans' and 'humiliates' other
sexual relationships than favoring our Constitution demeans and
humiliates the governmental systems of other countries," he said.

In Los Angeles, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said the
Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8 means that "every county in the
state of California must now recognize the right of same-sex couples to
legally marry." She said marriages will resume in the state as soon as a
federal appeals court lifts a stay on an earlier district-court ruling
requiring the state to permit gay marriage.

President Barack Obama applauded the outcome. "The laws of our land are
catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in
our hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they
are or whom they love, we are all more free," he said in a statement. He
directed cabinet secretaries to implement the ruling "swiftly and smoothly."

The ruling means that same-sex couples lawfully married in their state
can receive the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples, such as
possible tax advantages by filing jointly, benefits for veterans'
spouses and inheritance-tax exemptions.

When the Justice Department declined to defend the marriage law, the
Republican-controlled House of Representatives hired its own attorney to
do so. House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), who championed that
effort, said he was "obviously disappointed." ...

—Brent Kendall, Geoffrey A. Fowler and Tamara Audi contributed to this
Write to Jess Bravin at jess.bravin@wsj.com

(4) Supreme Court decision overturns People's rule


Scalia Dissent: Gay Marriage Decision 'Jaw-Dropping'

Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 02:42 PM

By David Alan Coia

In a blistering rebuke of the Supreme Court decision to overturn the
Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Antonin Scalia said the self-governing
power of the people has been eroded.

"Today's opinion aggrandizes the power of the court to pronounce the
law," Scalia wrote in the dissenting opinion. It will have the
predictable consequence of diminishing the "power of our people to
govern themselves," wrote Scalia, who was joined in his dissent by
Justices Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts, while Justice
Samuel Alito wrote a separate dissenting opinion.

Scalia described the "assertion of judicial supremacy over the people’s
representatives in Congress and the executive" as "jaw-dropping."

"It envisions a Supreme Court standing (or rather enthroned) at the apex
of government, empowered to decide all constitutional questions, always
and everywhere 'primary' in its role," said Scalia. "This image of the
court would have been unrecognizable to those who wrote and ratified our
national charter."

(5) Obama vs Africa on Gay Marriage


Obama clashes with African host over gay rights

AP | Jun 27, 2013, 08.06 PM IST

DAKAR, Senegal: President Barack Obama on Thursday praised the Supreme
Court's ruling on same-sex marriage as a "victory for American
democracy" but clashed with his African host over gay rights in a sign
of how far the movement has to go internationally.

Obama said recognition of gay unions in the United States should cross
state lines and that equal rights should be recognized universally. It
was his first chance to expand on his thoughts about the ruling, which
was issued Wednesday as he flew to Senegal, one of many African
countries that outlaw homosexuality.

Senegalese President Macky Sall rebuffed Obama's call for Africans to
give gays equal rights under the law.

"We are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality," Sall said,
while insisting that the country is "very tolerant" and needs more time
to digest the issue without pressure. "This does not mean we are

Obama said gay rights didn't come up in their private meeting at the
presidential palace, a mansion that looks somewhat similar to the White
House. But Obama said he wants to send a message to Africans that while
he respects differing personal and religious views on the matter, it's
important to have nondiscrimination under the law.

"People should be treated equally, and that's a principle that I think
applies universally," he said. ...

(6) Kevin Rudd comes out for Gay Marriage


Kevin Rudd flags possible referendum on gay marriage, pushes NBN in grab
for youth vote


JUNE 28, 2013 1:47PM

KEVIN Rudd has flagged a possible referendum on gay marriage as he
pushes to capture the youth vote.

Three days after he first appealed to young Australians to lend him
their ideas and help him "cook with gas", the Prime Minister laid out
marriage equality and the national broadband network as policies he
believed would appeal.

Mr Rudd, who publicly changed his mind to support gay marriage last
month, said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott must allow his members a
conscience vote in the next parliament.

"If he doesn't, then I think we then have to look at other mechanisms,
including the possibility of recourses to plebiscite or referendum," he

He said he wanted to see marriage equality, and his daughter and others
had helped him change his mind.
"Wherever I go in Australia, it just hits you in the face what young
people think about this, which is that our current arrangements are just
wrong and offensive to people."

(7) Russia bans Gay propaganda; HRW says it's discrimination


Activists arrested as Duma votes to limit 'non-traditional sex propaganda'

June 11, 2013

About 100 people gathered outside the Lower House of parliament in
central Moscow to protest or support legislation that, if approved,
would introduce fines for propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations
to minors.

While the supporters of the initiative chose a more conventional form of
expression and demonstrated with posters calling for a “purge” of
homosexuals in Moscow and Russia, its opponents chose a more creative

Several gay couples started kissing near the entrance of the parliament
building, demonstrating the vague line between the visual propaganda or
promotion and the expression of a persons’ feelings. The protests were a
re-run of the one held in December 2012 when the hearings on the draft
law started.

Police detained about 15 people for violating public order, but the
inclination of those detained were not reported.

Initially the bill was banning the propaganda of paedophilia and
homosexuality to minors, but the formula was changed before the second
reading, apparently after strong protests from the LGBT community,
Russian activists and international rights groups who pointed that this
could be viewed as discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The current version of the bill describes the propaganda of
non-traditional sexual relations as “spreading the information in order
to form non-traditional sexual desires in children, describing such
relations as attractive, promoting the distorted understanding of social
equality of traditional and non-traditional relations and also unwanted
solicitation of information that could provoke interest to such relations.

One of the main sponsors of the bill, the head of the Lowed House
Committee for Family, Women and Children, Yelena Mizulina, has
elaborated in press comments that the last part concerned pop-up ads on
the Internet.

Anti-gay orthodox activist demonstrate outside the lower house of
Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, in Moscow, on June 11, 2013, to
support a bill banning homosexual "propaganda" among minors (AFP Photo /
Vasily Maximov)

The amended bill was approved on Tuesday in the second and third final
reading and will now be considered by Upper House and signed by the
President. 436 LowerHouse MPs voted for it with only one abstention.

Breaking the ban means a fine. A private person can be fined from 4000
to 5000 roubles ($125 - $156) and legal entities from 800,000 to 1
million roubles for real-life propaganda, and internet promotion is
punished by 50,000 to 100,000 roubles ($1550 - $3100) fines for private
persons and 1 million roubles for legal entities with forced suspension
of their activities for up to 90 days.

Also the bill orders foreigners and people without citizenship are
expelled from Russia if found guilty of such a felony.

Police officers separate an orthodox activist (back) and gay rights
activist (front) clashing just outside the lower house of Russia’s
parliament, the State Duma, in Moscow, on June 11, 2013 (AFP Photo /
Vasily Maximov)

The international Human Rights Watch organisation has described the
proposed legislation as an attempt to make discrimination look decent,
and says Russia authorities are violating the basic rights of
representatives of LGBT community.

At the same time, the latest opinion polls shown an overwhelming
majority of Russians support the ban on promotion of non-traditional
sex. The share of supporters has grown to 88 percent from 86 percent
last year. Moreover, 42 percent of those polled say homosexuality should
be made a criminal offence, and 25 percent say that it should be subject
to “public condemnation”.

(8) Putin signs bill banning Gay propaganda


Russia passes anti-gay-law

Vladimir Putin signs bill that means people disseminating 'propaganda'
about homosexual relationships to minors risk fines

Associated Press

guardian.co.uk, Monday 1 July 2013 02.38 AEST

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has signed into law a measure that
stigmatises gay people and bans giving children any information about

The lower house of Russia's parliament unanimously passed the
Kremlin-backed bill on 11 June and the upper house approved it last week.

The Kremlin announced on Sunday that Putin had signed the legislation
into law.

The ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" is part of an
effort to promote traditional Russian values over western liberalism,
which the Kremlin and the Russian orthodox church see as corrupting
Russian youth and contributing to the protests against Putin's rule.

Hefty fines can now be imposed on those who provide information about
the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors or hold
gay pride rallies.

(9) Trots claim credit for shifting public opinion on Gay Marriage


Progress "born of earnest struggle"

Ann Coleman and Alan Maass report on the advances for same-sex marriage
in the U.S. Supreme Court--and explain how years of organizing for
equality turned the tide.

June 27, 2013

SUPPORTERS OF justice and equality celebrated on Wednesday after the
U.S. Supreme Court announced two decisions that advance marriage
equality. A central provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA) was declared unconstitutional, and an attempt to require
enforcement of California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage was

In the case that challenged DOMA, the justices' vote was split 5 to
4--but the majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy was
unambiguous in labeling the law's ban on federal recognition of same-sex
marriage as discriminatory. "By seeking to displace this protection and
treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than
others, the federal statue is in violation of the Fifth Amendment,"
Kennedy wrote.

The decision focused on only one part of DOMA--a disappointment to those
marriage equality supporters who hoped the court would go further and
declare any restriction on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The
effects of the ruling will only apply to married same-sex couples in 12
states and Washington, D.C., where equality is the law.

Still, the DOMA provision that was struck down is a critical one: it
blocked legally married same-sex couples from more than 1,000 rights and
responsibilities that different-sex married couples enjoy. Denial of
these rights, according to the court majority, "demeans" couples and
"humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex

True to Neanderthal form, Chief Justice John Roberts, in a dissenting
opinion, insisted that DOMA did not "codify malice." But that's exactly
what the 342 representatives, 85 senators and President Bill Clinton did
with the passage of DOMA in 1996--they codified discrimination against
same-sex couples at the federal level.

The overwhelming size of the congressional majority in favor of DOMA
less than two decades ago underlines how much public opinion has shifted
on this issue--a direct product of grassroots pressure and protest
shifting public sentiment and putting pressure on the institutions of
government to stand by their stated principles of justice and equality.

The Supreme Court decision on DOMA opens the way for more such pressure.
That's something right-wing Justice Antonin Scalia recognized in his
dissenting opinion, which referenced his dissent delivered exactly 10
years before in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decision that
finally struck down anti-sodomy laws.

"By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of
human decency," Scalia said, "the majority arms well every challenger to
a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition."

We can only hope Scalia is right--that everyone who has been fighting
laws that codify discrimination will take confidence from this latest
advance and challenge every "state law restricting marriage to its
traditional definition." - - - -

THE COURT issued another decision that amounted to a victory for
same-sex marriage--in the case Hollingsworth v. Perry relating to
California's Prop 8.

The ruling here was more on a legal technicality than the
constitutionality of the referendum. In the heated legal battle that
followed its narrow passage in November 2008, the state of California
eventually refused to continue defending Prop 8 against challenges by
same-sex couples wishing to be married. A district court allowed
right-wing supporters of Prop 8 to step in and defend the law, instead
of the state government.

In Wednesday's ruling, again by a 5-4 vote, the court threw out the case
on technical grounds, ruling that supporters of Prop 8 didn't have the
authority to defend the case in the federal courts. Nevertheless, the
effect of the ruling will be to allow marriage licenses to be issued in
California to same-sex couples. ...

(10) US aid agency expelled from Russia


20 September 2012 Last updated at 01:43 GMT

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has
announced it will close its offices in Russia following an order from
the authorities.

The Russian government gave the US until 1 October to close the mission,
accusing it of meddling in politics. USAID has worked in Russia for two
decades, spending nearly $3bn (£1.8bn) on aid and democratic programmes.

The expulsion follows a government crackdown on pro-democracy groups.

Steve Rosenberg reports.

(11) Foreign agents law is here to stay - Putin


July 04, 2013 14:30

The law that obliges NGOs that participate in politics and receive
sponsorship from abroad to register as foreign agents will not be
changed in essence, but some details in it can be edited, Vladimir Putin
has said.

The President was holding a meeting with leading Human Rights activists
and officials on Thursday that was dedicated to the recently introduced
foreign agents law. "As far as the law is concerned, or rather the part
of it that causes great discussions – whether the organizations that are
engaged in internal political activities should register – we will not
change this position,” Putin said. “This is because when people are
doing some political work inside the country and receive money from
abroad, the society has the right to know what kind of organization this
is, and where they get the funds to sponsor their existence,” the
President added.

Putin admitted, however, that the details of the law can be subject to
editing and asked officials to work on dividing the NGOs described in
the text into those engaged in politics and those dealing with social

The Russian leader also said that he personally opposed tax exemptions
for companies that sponsor non-governmental activities. “If someone
wants to appear pretty, they should pay from their profits and not
through benefits or, in other words, at taxpayers’ expense,” Putin noted.

The presidential statement came as about a dozen Russian NGOs said that
they were preparing to sue the government in the European Court for
Human Rights over the law on foreign agents and the recent inspections
in which Russian law enforcers sought to check if the new law was being

The election-monitoring NGO Golos, the activities of which have been
suspended over repeated refusal to register as a foreign agent, said it
would seek $5 million compensation for damages inflicted by prosecutors.

(12) NGOs find loopholes in Foreign Agents’ Law, officials urge corrections


June 13, 2013 12:45

Russian NGOs that receive funding from abroad have developed several
methods that allow them to bypass the obligatory registration as
‘foreign agents’.

Currently the law obliges all NGOs engaged in political activities and
receiving funding from abroad to register as “foreign agents”under
threat of fines.

One possible option is to register an ordinary commercial company that
would receive funds from abroad and employ NGO staff as workers to pay
their salaries, Kommersant daily wrote quoting the head of a Russian NGO
who spoke on the condition of total anonymity.

The source noted that about 15 Russian groups had already switched to
this method.

Another possible loophole, suggested by the daily itself, is to set up
an endowment that would properly register as a foreign agent and receive
foreign funding which would then be transferred to one or several
Russian groups, allowing them to skip the registration as they are
formally sponsored by a Russian company.

The third way has been outlined in a recent report by the Civil
Initiatives Committee, an influential expert group chaired by former
finance minister Aleksey Kudrin, which said that under growing pressure
Russian NGOs could re-register in neighboring states.

Some Russian officials already called for changes in the recently
approved law, saying that the flaws of the original bill are being
exposed as it is applied. Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Presidential
Council on Human Rights, said that the practice was only showing one
thing – that the law had been poorly written and that it was in need of

Fedotov added that the council had already prepared several suggestions
on corrections, but he did not go into detail.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich has said that the law needs
changes and called for activists to draft their amendments. But
Dvorkovich added that the law is in force and must be observed by all
members of the community until it is altered in the desired way.

Russia introduced the so-called Foreign Agents Law in November last year.

Prosecutors and the Justice Ministry launched a major nationwide program
in March this year in order to check how the fresh law is being applied.
The inspections caused protests from NGOs, rights activists and the
international community, which claimed they were a form of government
pressure on independent critics.

Russian officials, including the president, have repeatedly stated that
the law is not banning any NGOs and simply requires disclosure of the
sources of their income. Such transparency would give Russian citizens
and voters some clues about possible motives of the groups’ political
actions, the officials added.

Currently no organization is registered as a foreign agent in Russia.

(13) Human rights NGO 'Memorial' received $3m. from abroad to shape
public opinion in Russia


Human rights group Memorial ‘has signs of foreign agent’ – Russian

  May 24, 2013 14:27

A Moscow court has ruled that prosecutors’ inspection of human rights
group Memorial was lawful. The inquiry, held after the ‘foreign agents’
law was enacted, revealed that the NGO received $3 million from abroad
to shape public opinion in Russia.

On Friday, the Zamoskvoretsky District Court rejected Memorial’s appeal
against the off-schedule inspection carried out on March 26 by the
Moscow Prosecutor’s Office and representatives of the Revenue and the
Justice ministries.

Following the inspection, prosecutors said they had evidence that
Memorial’s activities indicated the organization is a “foreign agent,” a
prosecutor told the court.

In particular, it was discovered that the NGO received “over 52 million
rubles ($1.6 million) in 2010 from foreign citizens and organizations,”
he explained. In 2011, Memorial got “over 40 million rubles ($1.2
million), including from the Ford Foundation,” as well as other
companies registered in the US, the law enforcer added, according to

The inspection also revealed that Memorial – one of the oldest Russian
human rights organizations – was involved in political activities in the
country aimed at influencing public opinion and pressuring authorities,
the prosecutor stated. Memorial’s defense lawyers are set to appeal the
ruling at a higher court, RAPSI agency reported.

Memorial, a historic international charity and human rights group, began
its work in 1987. Initially, the group’s purpose, inspired by Soviet
dissident Andrey Sakharov, was to research political repression in the
USSR. It was officially founded in 1989, and developed into a human
rights organization.

The controversial Russian law that requires all politically active
non-governmental organizations that receive funding from abroad to
register as “foreign agents” came into force in November 2012. Such NGOs
now face heightened controls, including the requirement they file a
financial report to officials every quarter, as well as a yearly audit
report. Violations are punishable by fines of up to 500,000 rubles

Critics have slammed the law as a possible instrument by which
authorities can pressure and restrict funding to human rights
organizations. Supporters of the law, including some senior Russian
officials, maintain that the law’s goal is to better inform the public
on activists’ income sources. They have also emphasized that no
organization can be shut down under the law.

In March 2013, Russian authorities launched major unannounced
inspections of NGOs to determine whether their activities corresponded
with the objectives declared in their charters. In late April – while
the audit was still ongoing – the Ministry of Justice stated that 18
groups would be designated ‘foreign agents.’

(14) Porn Producers Say Unprotected Sex Is Free Speech Right


By Edvard Pettersson - 2013-07-12T04:01:01Z

Pornographic movie makers told a judge that a Los Angeles County
voter-approved measure requiring adult-film actors to wear condoms
violates their constitutional right to free speech.

“It dictates the content of a movie,” Paul Cambria, a lawyer
representing Vivid Entertainment LLC, Califa Production Inc. and two
porn actors who are fighting implementation of the measure, said at a
hearing yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles. “The statute doesn’t
allow a producer to portray conduct that is lawful.”

Los Angeles County voters in November approved the measure, the Safer
Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, which seeks to minimize the spread
of sexually transmitted diseases through the making of porn movies. The
producers asked U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson to halt enforcement
of the measure until the lawsuit over its constitutionality has been

(15) Brother Nathanael Kapner describes his conversion to Orthodox


December 23, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

My Journey Into The Orthodox Church

By Brother Nathanael Kapner

“What’s a nice Jewish boy doing in the Russian Orthodox Church?” some of
you may be asking.

Well, it shouldn’t seem all that strange.

For after all, the founders of the Orthodox Church were all Jews
beginning with St Peter and St Paul.

But, I wouldn’t even begin to compare myself with them. My journey into
the Orthodox Church is very different than theirs.

It all started in my Bar Mitzvah class at the age of 13 when our
teacher, Mrs Schechter, made some very anti-Christian statements.

We were studying “Comparative Religions” and Mrs Schechter taught us
about every religion under the sun: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Bahai…
but refused to teach us about The Church.

I’ll never forget the scene for as long as I live.

Mrs Schechter, who was built like a bull, got up in front of the class
and said:

“Children…we’re not going to bother studying Christianity for it’s
nothing but a fairy tale. It was started by a self-hating Jew named
Saul, a manic-depressant, who hated his Jewishness so much that he
changed his name to Paul.”

I said to myself, “How could that which informed Western Civilization
for the past 2000 years be nothing but a fairy tale? One day when I get
away from the Synagogue I’m going to study it for myself.”

And that I did.

When I was 21, I got hold of a New Testament and started reading the
Gospels. I simply fell in love with Jesus Christ and was convinced that
He was the Jewish Messiah Who came to conquer death.

Within me was formed a kind of permanent Creed: That there is nothing
more beautiful, more profound, closer to the heart, more human and
divine than Jesus Christ.

If someone were to tell me that He was just a myth concocted by mentally
disturbed men—as Mrs Schechter told us as children—I would answer,
“Mentally-disturbed men cannot fabricate that which is perfect, men who
are willing to die for that perfection.”

But back to my story.

Soon after embracing Jesus Christ as my Saviour, I joined the “Jews for
Jesus”/”Messianic Jewish Movement” that proclaimed that Jews could
remain Jews yet still believe in Jesus.

Now this Movement is a ‘Jewish Supremacist Movement’—Zionist to the
core—favoring Christ-hating Jews over Palestinian Christians…

a bunch of neurotic ‘Messianic Jews’ who revel in having gullible
Evangelical Christians fawning all over them. That’s why I call them,
“Baptists with Yarmulkes.”

So, by the time I was 37, (I was a highly successful
straight-commissioned salesman at the time), I pretty much got sick of
it all.

For when I saw that their touting that “Jesus was a Jew” ended up being
a denial of His Divinity, I decided to look elsewhere.

First, I started attending a ‘high’ Anglican Church in Boston called,
The Church of the Advent.

The Church was dedicated to promoting Traditional Catholic Worship
complete with Renaissance-style Masses.

Oh, it was all very beautiful, religious, and quite moving. But it
seemed to be more of an event…a show…than a life-changing experience.

I was reading Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” at the time and one passage made
a deep impression on me.

One of the main characters, Natasha, goes to a Russian Orthodox Church
to repent of her faithlessness to Prince Andrei, who she cheated on
while he was away fighting Napoleon in the War of 1812.

While in Church, Natasha is pricked to the heart by the priest’s sermon
who spoke in “mild and quiet” tones.

“A sermon given in mild and quiet tones?” I said to myself quite
astonished. “No shouting and Bible-thumping,” as I was accustomed to?
“I’ve gotta check this out.”

So, I got out the Yellow Pages and looked up and down for a listing of
Russian Orthodox Churches. I finally found one in downtown Boston
called, Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral.

It was wintertime in December of 1987 and I went to an evening service
called, “Vigil for the Resurrection.”

All was very mysterious that cold, wintry night as I got off the “T”
(Boston’s subway system) and began walking toward the Church a mile away
in a deep and dark December.

As soon as I walked into the Church with candles flickering their holy
light, frescos on the walls and icons of Christ and the Saints everywhere…

Everyone standing, incense billowing upwards with inebriating pungency,
the priest praying with soft voice, “Let us attend, let us hear the Holy
Gospel,” and the standing choir chanting in mild tones the Psalms of
David, I said to myself with tears in my eyes:

“I’m home! And I’ve been home ever since…

(16) Sodomy Hazing Leaves 13-Year-Old Victim Outcast in Colorado Town


By Chris Staiti & Barry Bortnick

Jun 20, 2013 2:01 PM ET

At the state high-school wrestling tournament in Denver last year, three
upperclassmen cornered a 13-year-old boy on an empty school bus, bound
him with duct tape and sodomized him with a pencil.

For the boy and his family, that was only the beginning.

The students were from Norwood, Colorado, a ranching town of about 500
people near the Telluride ski resort. Two of the attackers were sons of
Robert Harris, the wrestling coach, who was president of the school
board. The victim’s father was the K-12 principal.

After the principal reported the incident to police, townspeople forced
him to resign. Students protested against the victim at school, put “Go
to Hell” stickers on his locker and wore T-shirts that supported the
perpetrators. The attackers later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges,
according to the Denver district attorney’s office.

“Nobody would help us,” said the victim’s father, who asked not to be
named to protect his son’s privacy. Bloomberg News doesn’t identify
victims of sexual assault. “We contacted everybody and nobody would help
us,” he said.

High-school hazing and bullying used to involve name-calling,
towel-snapping and stuffing boys into lockers. Now, boys sexually
abusing other boys is part of the ritual. More than 40 high school boys
were sodomized with foreign objects by their teammates in over a dozen
alleged incidents reported in the past year, compared with about three
incidents a decade ago, according to a Bloomberg review of court
documents and news accounts.

Broken Flagpole

Among them, boys were raped with a broken flagpole outside Los Angeles;
a metal concrete-reinforcing bar in Fontana, California; a jump-rope
handle in Greenfield, Iowa; and a water bottle in Hardin, Missouri,
according to court rulings and prosecutors.

At New York’s elite Bronx High School of Science, three teenage
track-team members were arrested after a freshman teammate alleged they
repeatedly hazed him between December and February, including holding
the boy down and sodomizing him with their fingers. They pleaded not
guilty in New York state criminal court in the Bronx, according to
Melvin Hernandez, a spokesman for the Bronx District Attorney’s office.
A lawyer for one of the boys was unavailable for comment; the other two
declined to comment.

While little research has been done on boy-on-boy sexual hazing, almost
10 percent of high school males reported being victims of rape, forced
oral sex or other forms of sexual assault by their peers, according to a
2009 study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

More Brutal

“This is right out of ‘Lord of the Flies,”’ said Susan Stuart, a
professor of education law at Valparaiso University Law School in
Indiana, who has studied an increase in federal lawsuits brought by male
victims of sexual hazing. “And nobody knows about it.”

Hazing in high school is fueling college hazing, experts say, as a new
generation of players on middle- and high-school sports teams learn ways
to haze through social media, said Susan Lipkins, a psychologist in Port
Washington, New York, who has studied the subject for 25 years. The
practice has been increasing in frequency over the past decade, becoming
more brutal and sexually violent, she said.

College Rapes Lead to Brief Suspension and Book Report

“Each time a hazing occurs, the perpetrators add their own mark to it by
increasing the pain or humiliation,” Lipkins said.

‘Be a Man’

High school boys are trying to prove their masculinity to each other by
humiliating younger boys because that’s what they think manliness is all
about, said William Pollack, associate professor of psychology at
Harvard Medical School.

“We keep saying to the boy: ‘Be a man,’ and a boy is not a man, so
that’s not possible,” said Pollack, who is also director of the Centers
for Men and Young Men at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts.

In at least four cases of sodomy hazing last year, the coach or
supervising teacher was alleged to have known about it, ordered it,
witnessed it or laughed about it, according to police reports and court

At Maine West High School in Des Plaines, Illinois, a Chicago suburb,
varsity soccer players allegedly “rewarded” new teammates by holding
them down and sodomizing them with sticks and their fingers, while
coaches did nothing to intervene, according to court documents and
police reports.
Coach Arrested

After witnessing an attack on a 16-year-old in July, varsity coach
Michael DiVincenzo allegedly congratulated the victim and asked him “if
it was all good,” according to a police report. During a freshman drill,
he was alleged to have told players they would be sodomized by the
varsity team if they failed to communicate effectively, according to a
police report.

DiVincenzo was arrested last month on misdemeanor charges of hazing,
battery and failure to report child abuse, Cook County State’s Attorney
Anita Alvarez in Chicago said in a statement. He was released on cash
bond and hasn’t entered a plea. Charges against varsity players were
dropped at the request of the victims’ families, Alvarez said.

DiVincenzo’s attorney, Thomas Breen, didn’t respond to phone messages or
e-mail requests for comment. In April, DiVincenzo issued a statement
denying “guilt of any kind.” In a police interview, he denied knowledge
of the alleged attacks.

Maine West, whose board voted to fire DiVincenzo, has cooperated fully
with the investigation and hired a former U.S. attorney who cleared the
district’s handling of the matter, said David Beery, a spokesman. The
school has also instituted more training for staff and set up an
anonymous Web-based tip line for students to report hazing.

School Assaults

About 4,000 sexual assaults occur each year inside U.S. public schools,
as well as 800 rapes or attempted rapes, according to a letter the U.S.
Education Department sent to educators in April 2011.

“We don’t tolerate this anywhere else in our society,” said Antonio
Romanucci, a Chicago attorney representing some of the alleged Maine
West victims in a civil lawsuit. “So why are we tolerating it in our

State anti-hazing laws enacted in the 1990s have had little effect as
victims are often reluctant to testify and penalties are mild. While the
Education Department hasn’t warned schools about sexual hazing, it has
offered guidance on bullying, cautioning schools that they can be held
liable for tolerating or ignoring it.

“We leave it up to the states to monitor it,” said Elaine Quesinberry, a
department spokeswoman.
Small Town

Norwood sits 7,000 feet high on a mesa in the Colorado Rockies, a
six-hour drive southwest of Denver. Its single main street, with
laundromat and diner, presents a working-class contrast to the lavish
Telluride ski and summer resort 33 miles away. The area was once home to
Spanish explorers and mountain men. Robert LeRoy Parker, better known as
Butch Cassidy, worked the ranches here more than 100 years ago.

Norwood is so small that its 300 students in preschool through 12th
grade attend classes in a single building. The football team fields
eight players instead of the usual 11. Still, glass cases lining the
school’s hallways show off sports trophies celebrating decades of
triumphs from basketball to cheerleading.

“Pain is temporary” reads a poster on the wall. “Pride is forever.”

Inside the school office is a large framed display of Norwood’s victory
in the 2011 state wrestling championship.

A year later, in February 2012, members and coaches of the wrestling
team boarded a bus to Denver for the state tournament, the culmination
of the season. The school principal and local Norwood school officials
drove separately to cheer on the team.

‘Great Area’

The principal’s wife, a banker, grew up in Norwood and they met when he
moved to town as a high school senior. They dated in college and
returned to Norwood about 12 years ago when an opportunity arose to buy
an auto repair shop. He worked for the school for 10 years, first
teaching computer science and auto repair, and served as principal for
two years.

“We always thought it was a great area to raise kids,” the principal
said in an interview. “They were really happy kids, liked going to
school, straight-A students.”

Radio Interview withJonathan Kaufman

Their 13-year-old son was especially good at sports. A sturdy teenager
with dimples and a quick smile, he started Pee Wee wrestling at age 3.
At home he dazzled his family with his knowledge of sports trivia and
enjoyed hanging out with his older brother. Yet in the months leading up
to the attack, his mother become concerned that her usually easy-going
son was being teased at school, she said.
Pinned Down

In February 2012, the boy rode the bus to Denver as the team manager, in
charge of videotaping the older high school students at the meet. After
the coaches and wrestlers left the bus to weigh in, three older and
bigger boys pinned the younger boy down, bound him with the tape, pulled
down his pants and assaulted him, according to the principal. His
parents were at a hotel, awaiting the start of the meet.

Bloomberg isn’t naming the boys involved because they are juveniles.

Just before the meet started, the principal’s older son heard the
attackers laughing about the assault on his brother and told his father.

“I was shocked beyond belief, and I was mad,” the father said. “I do
believe I was madder than I have ever been. You’re trying to protect
your kids, and then something like this happens.”

The father sought out his son, who told him what had happened. He then
confronted Harris, the head coach, who at first said nothing had
occurred, according to the father. In subsequent conversations, Harris
said: “This happens 1,000 times a day around the U.S.,” the principal
Rowdy Boys

Harris, who was also school board president, was a builder in Norwood.
The two families were close. They had vacationed together, though in
recent years they began spending less time together because the
principal’s family felt the coach’s boys had become too rowdy, the
victim’s mother said.

Harris, through attorney M. Colin Bresee, declined to comment.

The principal said he notified Norwood’s superintendent and the school
board’s vice president, both of whom were visiting Denver. Given his
personal involvement in the case, the principal agreed to step aside
from any discussion of discipline. He said he didn’t go to the police
that night because he believed school officials would handle the
incident properly.

Brief Suspension

Back in Norwood, Superintendent David Crews imposed a one-day, in-school
suspension on the three boys accused of the assault. Punishment could
have ranged from detention to expulsion, Crews said.

Neither Crews nor the school board reported the incident to police; the
principal didn’t do so until a month after it happened. Under Colorado
law, any school official or employee who has reason to suspect a child
has been abused should immediately report the matter to police or social

The principal complained to the school board about the punishment meted
out to the perpetrators without success, he said. Harris recused himself
from the board’s discussions of the incident and later resigned,
according to Crews and school board minutes.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty,” the principal said. “When you
take on, first, a powerful family in the town -- and he is also the
school board president, and his kid had done something wrong -- there is
going to be something coming back at you.”

Repeatedly Teased

While the 7th-grade victim didn’t require medical attention after the
attack, he soon found himself repeatedly teased by students.

“They would say, ‘What’s been stuck up your butt today?”’ said his
mother. “Things were posted on Facebook, like ‘Rot in hell, liar!”’

As word spread about the incident, townspeople turned against the
principal and his family.

“When I was in school there might have been bullying, but there was none
of this crap about telling the school,” said Jennifer Long, a waitress
at the Hitchin’ Post Cowboy Bar, a popular eatery on the town’s main
street. “How you going to be tough if you don’t get bullied sometimes?”
she said.

Long’s husband James Eilmann agreed.

‘Too Far’

“I got bullied as a kid because I had long hair and earrings,” said
Eilmann, a 45-year-old carpenter. “I played football, baseball and
soccer and the older kids bullied me. But we always shook hands and it
would be over with. But today, you can get prosecuted. It has all gone
too far.”

Frustrated by the response of town and school officials, the principal
finally reported the incident to the Denver police. The police sent
investigators to Norwood and on April 23 they arrested the three boys,
charging them as juveniles with kidnapping, sexual assault and false
imprisonment, according to the district attorney’s office.

On news of the arrests, anger exploded in Norwood, and it was aimed
squarely at the principal and his 13-year-old son. The school board held
a series of private meetings with parents who clamored for the
principal’s dismissal.

“It should have been left alone,” said Sheldon Cline, a 54-year-old
electrician. “It should have been handled through the system here. If
you publicize it, it gets blown out of proportion.”

‘About Punishment’

Marie Fouche, a substitute teacher at the school at the time, went to
the school board to speak in support of the principal.

“It seemed the whole town was against the victim and his father,” Fouche
said. “It was all about punishment and not helping.”

After the arrests, Jessica Bicknase, identified in a police report as
the mother of one of the accused, paid to print t-shirts that bore a
slogan using the initials of the suspects. Bicknase declined to comment.

A dozen students wore the t-shirts to school one Friday, and someone
posted a sign with the same wording on the locker of the victim’s
brother, according to the police report, which was reviewed by
Bloomberg. Students who wore the t-shirts told police they wanted to
support their friends. The victim told investigators he didn’t
understand why his friends would support people who attacked him.
Intimidation Warning

When police visited parents of students involved in the t-shirt incident
to warn them against intimidating the 13-year-old, who would be
testifying against his schoolmates in a criminal case, they found the
parents instead focused on attacking the principal.

“The majority of the time was spent with the parents expressing anger at
[the principal] for reporting the incident, and for not resigning his
position,” according to a police report. “We repeatedly steered the
conversation back to the t-shirt incident, but the parents did not want
to stop talking about [the principal] and his resignation.”

Denver investigators said they were surprised by the response in the town.

“They blamed our victim,” said Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the
Denver district attorney’s office, which brought the charges against the
three students. “There was a huge backlash, and everybody turned against
this boy and his family for bringing trouble to their town.”

Family Struggle

After the t-shirt incident, the principal decided to stop sending his
son to school, and instead brought his assignments home.

“My son was the outcast,” the principal said. “He was made to feel like
he was the one who caused the whole thing.”

Later that year, one of the accused students pleaded guilty to sexual
contact without consent; the other two pleaded guilty to third-degree
assault. They received varied sentences that included probation,
community service and restitution of about $2,500 apiece.

The principal’s contract was up for renewal. After extensive
negotiations involving lawyers from both sides, the board renewed his
contract and put him on paid leave while it reached a settlement.

The principal was offered another job in a town 200 miles away that pays
half his previous salary. The family moved and he enrolled his children
in a new school.

Harris was reappointed Norwood’s wrestling coach. He was given a letter
of reprimand for leaving students unsupervised on the bus, Crews told

Bullying Addressed

In the wake of the incident, Norwood brought in experts from Denver to
address bullying and hazing in school, Crews said.

“Something negative like this can make something positive,” Crews said.
“We can share ideas on how to treat each other with respect and to know
where the boundaries are.”

The principal’s son, now 14, is doing better after having difficulty
coping with the incident for about a year, his parents said.

“It seems like we finally have him back,” said his father. “He’s come
out of everything he’s been going through since this happened.”

He joined the wrestling team in his new school and just finished an
undefeated season. He’s now starting to play football and do weightlifting.

“Maybe it was a wake-up call to get our kids out of that kind of
community where people behave that way,” his mother said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chris Staiti in Boston at
cstaiti@bloomberg.net; Barry Bortnick in Denver, via Jonathan Kaufman at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at

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