It’s ironic that more than 20-years after the dissolution of the USSR, God has been reintroduced into Russian public schools, while in the USA, our government is quickly completing the task of erasing all mention of God and religion from our schools, and the rest of our public sphere.
The story mentions how the Russian Orthodox Church asked for compulsory instruction on Orthodox Christianity, but the education authorities offered a compromise by giving parents a choice of having their children schooled in one of several major religions, or in secular ethics. The issue that nobody addresses is the moral mess that post-Soviet Russian society has found itself in which compels the Russian government to give its children some baseline of what constitutes ethics and morality in society. There was a great Russian writer from the 19th century named Fyodor Dostoyevsky who wrote a novel called “The Brothers Karamazov“. In that book is a famous quote from one of the characters that says “Without God, all things are permitted“.
Any discussion of morality always finds its way back to God. The Soviet Union was the world’s first militantly secular state, and today’s Russia now tastes the bitter fruit planted by that atheistic regime which ruled Russia for most of the 20th century. Some may look at this action in Russia quite cynically by remembering the old saying that goes something like “The working classes find religion to be comforting, the intellectual classes find religion to be amusing, and the ruling classes find religion to be useful”. However this plays out, the leadership of modern Russia gives its full encouragement and support to the revival of religious practice in their country, and its political leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, often give their personal support to religious leaders, institutions, and works. The Russian experience with militant secularism is something from which the USA still has much to learn.
The full article may be found at Public Radio International (www.Pri.org)