Science and religion clash over Russian schools

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A representative of the Russian Orthodox Church has warned of the dangers of science taking too prominent a role in the education system.

According to The Associated Press, Father Vsevolod Chaplin said that teachers should inform children not to follow the vicious examples of “homosexuals and prostitutes.”

His comments came during a debate between leading figures of the religious and scientific communities.

Last month, a group of scientists wrote to President Vladimir Putin explaining their concerns about religion’s growing influence on government.

They were specifically referring about the creation of a school course on Orthodox Christian culture and Russian universities being granted the power to award degrees in theology.

Andrei Vorobyev, a medical researcher, said: “The interference of the Church in government affairs have always been deplorable in Russian history.

“Education of schoolchildren should be based on teaching scientifically proven knowledge.”

Father Chaplin, on the other hand, asserted that “the scientific viewpoint cannot be a state ideology” and that the church should be a leading figure in framing moral standards.

He said: “We have to show them an unhappy homosexual in his 40s and an aging prostitute.

“Otherwise, in 30 years our children will turn into animals influenced by the cult of glamour and debauchery.”

In June, members of the church attempted to cleanse a Moscow river after a gay cruise sailed down it.

Taking the same boat and route as gay cruisers had only hours earlier, spokesman, Yuri Ageshchev, said one of their aims was to cleanse “the filth that filled the river after the trip of a big company of homosexuals.”

Homosexuality was decimalised in Russia in 1993. For the last two years, Moscow Pride has not been authorised by Moscow City Hall and has been marred by violence.