MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama must have known that his support of gay marriage would bring him trouble. But of all possible repercussions, a demand to roll back Alaska’s 1867 sale to the United States was one he was unlikely to have seen coming.
And yet that was the very claim that an ultraconservative religious group made in a Moscow arbitrage court, citing the need to protect fellow Christians from sin.
Obama’s alleged plans to legalize the “so-called same-sex marriage” threaten the freedom of religion of Alaska’s Orthodox Christians, who “would never accept sin for normal behavior,” the nongovernmental group Pchyolki (“Bees”) said.
“We see it as our duty to protect their right to freely practice their religion, which allows no tolerance to sin,” the group said in a statement on their website.
The Pchyolki also cited technical violations of the terms of the 1867 deal that saw Russia sell Alaska to the US government for $7.2 million, or 2 cents per acre. Payment was made by check and not golden coin as specified in the contract, the group said.
The lawsuit, filed in January but not reported by media until this week, was not processed because the Pchyolki failed to include a handful of mandatory papers, including documents to justify their claims, according to Moscow arbitrage court’s website. The group had until last week to provide the required paperwork, but failed to do so for reasons left unspecified.
Among the papers the group failed to file was also a notification to the defendant, the US government, which may account for it not having commented on the lawsuit so far.
The Pchyolki are a relatively obscure group created in 2008 to protect orphans’ rights in Russia, which it did by campaigning against sexual education in schools, among other things.
Their biggest claim to fame, until the Alaska lawsuit, was last year’s instruction for believers published after punk band Pussy Riot’s notorious performance in a Moscow church. The instruction on protecting places of worship from “blasphemers” advised to distract the offenders by spitting in their faces, ruin their recording equipment – if they have any – with holy water and detain them, with “bloodshed” deemed acceptable as long as it happens outside the church grounds.
The Russian Orthodox Church estimated its flock in Alaska at about 50,000 of the state’s total population of 730,000, the BBC said in 2010, adding that the faith was the main legacy of Russia’s 68-year-long rule over the northern territory.
Obama has often spoken in support of LGBT rights, including in his 2012 presidential address. But though he criticized bans on gay marriage imposed in various US states, he never voiced plans for a federal bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
- ruypenalvaIt is unexplainable19:04, 16/03/2013It is unexplainable that Russia in the past has sold this important region to USA!
- arsanlupinOnly to someone who knows nothing of Russia's - or the United States' - history.23:12, 17/03/2013Russia had serious money problems in the 1860’s. They also feared losing Russian America in some future war with Britain, whom they fought in Crimea in the 1850’s. Neighboring British Columbia had a gold rush going on, causing British settlers to pour into the region. Russia feared that in any future war with Britain, would be a prime target, easily captured. Therefore Alexander II decided to sell it, and in 1859 offered to sell the territory to the United States, hoping that its presence in the region would offset Great Britain. However, the USA was a little busy with the American Civil War.
Also, Russia needed to repay its landowners after the 1861 emancipation reform of 1861. They had borrowed 15 million pounds sterling from Rothschild at 5% annually. When it was time to pay back the loan, the Russian Government was short on funds.
Russia still wanted to weaken British power by surrounding British Columbia, including the Esquimalt Royal Navy base, to be surrounded by the USA. After the Civil War ended, Alexander II instructed the Russian ambassador to the United States, Eduard de Stoeckl, to ask the USA to buy Alaska again in March 1867. The negotiations concluded after an all-night session with the signing of the treaty at 4 a.m. on March 30, 1867.
To say the USA didn’t pay in gold is false. As part of the document transfer process, a Treasury Warrant for $7.2 million in gold was issued. It was thought of as logistically inconvenient for US Secretary Seward to carry in – or for Ambassador de Stoeckl to carry out – the 11.8 metric tons of gold coins. It was converted to gold coin by the US Treasury Department, and transported to the Russian Embassy later the same day.
As for the legislating of morality in the name of religious freedom, I consider that a new low in the hypocrisy of organized religion.
Any anti-ISIL operation in Iraq cannot be effective unless the Islamic State is attacked in Syria. But the final statement of the Paris Conference did not mention Syria as a precaution against disunity in the coalition and with due regard for the Russian position. Professor of the Chair of Modern East Department of History, Political Science and Law in RSUH