Right now, there are laws being passed in other countries that make it illegal to be LGBTQ or even be associated with supporting this community’s rights. Prison sentences, torture, and the death penalty are possible punishments for violating these laws. Although there are numerous laws being passed or already passed criminalizing homosexuality, we want to bring attention to what’s happening in Russia.
During June 2013, President Vladimir Putin signed a new law banning the ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships’ to minors. This law makes it illegal to hold any gay pride events, speak in defense of gay rights, or say that gay relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships.
The federal law defines propaganda as:
“distribution of information that is aimed at the formation among minors of nontraditional sexual attitudes, attractiveness of non- traditional sexual relations, misperceptions of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations, or enforcing information about non-traditional sexual relations that evokes interest to such relations . . . .”
Since the law passed, there has been a surge in violence against the LGBTQ community. Self-proclaimed vigilantes have targeted LGBTQ persons with both public and private acts of brutality and torture. For example, a group called ‘Occupy Paedophilia‘ has been on what they call a ‘safari’ hunting gays. Videos of this group’s violent attacks document incidents where unsuspecting LGBTQ teens are lured through online dating sites and then brutally humiliated and tortured.
According to the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance (SHRA):
“These self-proclaimed ‘crime fighters’ perform their actions under the broad day light, often outside and clearly visible to the general public that indifferently passes by or even commends them.”
“Video recordings of bullying and tortures are freely distributed on the Internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends. Many victims were driven to suicides, the rest are deeply traumatized.”
There are reports that other Russian citizens have also attacked openly LGBTQ persons in public areas, while onlookers do nothing to prevent the violence from occurring. Several government officials have denounced and degraded LGBTQ people on television and in other media.
Sadly, groups of Russian Christians have been reported as participating in some of these public attacks (CBS report).
Even the Christian who cannot feel comfortable supporting or protecting LGBTQ relationships should be appalled by the brutality to the community (and for that matter – brutality to any person as we are all made in the image of God.
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