Sacrilege Is Real
In part, this explains the deep devotion felt for this sacred place and the gravity of the offense. The concept of sanctuary embedded in Western law means that sacred space should be protected space. In 1978, the Illinois Supreme Court allowed neo-Nazis to march openly through the streets of Skokie, Illinois, but it did not grant permission for them to shout anti-Semitic slurs in the local synagogue. Nor should anti-Muslim fanatics be permitted to derogate the Qu'ran within a mosque. Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the temple but he did not cast aspersions on his mother nor defame his heavenly Father.
Nearly everyone agrees with Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev that Pussy Riot's punishment does not fit their crime. Surely there is a place for leniency in this story. But what the punkers did, and where and how they did it, should not be celebrated—or overlooked. Mathewes-Green has suggested that community service might be appropriate for the offenders. Perhaps they should collect the stories of Orthodox believers who survived the labor and prison camps of the Soviet era, or perhaps they should be required to sit contemplatively for 10 hours before the icon of the sorrowful, weeping mother of Jesus. If sacrilege no longer has any meaning in a culture, neither will sanctuary. And soon the sacred square will become as "naked" as the public square, and that will be to the detriment of both.
- Our Francis, Too
- Catholics and Baptists Together
- The Man Who Birthed Evangelicalism
- Against the Stream
- Charles Colson & Timothy George: Churchless Jesus