The Good News from Russia
l. The birth rate in Russia is improving - in February Russian President Vladimir Putin hired Boyz ll Men, a popular pop band to perform a selection of their classic and new romantic ballads, to give Russian men some inspiration ahead of St. Valentine's Day. More seriously, there have been restrictions imposed on abortion past 12 weeks gestation, and legislation requiring women seeking abortions to be warned of the physical and psychological damage abortion causes. Pregnancy support centres are being established. There has been a substantial improvement (around 40%) in Russia's total fertility rate since 1999, and an improvement in life expectancy by about 7.5% during the same period.
2. Moscow and St. Petersburg have banned gay pride marches and St. Petersburg legislators have passed legislation prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Vladimir Legoida, spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, hailed the measure and dismissed critics who claim it violates “human rights,” noting that “a global trend in such matters is not an argument for abandoning immutable moral categories. One of the most important values for modern man is freedom. The Church calls on us to remember that the main freedom for the individual is freedom from sin, from falsehood, and from immorality."
3. Russia opposed Western intervention in Egypt, Libya and now Syria, specifically voicing concerns over the fate of the Christian population there. While Russian officials have had the courage to publicly deplore the plight of Middle East Christians, officials of our own "Christian" nations have said little about the persecution, banishment and murder of Christians in the Middle East. Babette Francis