After a rousing service in the church's warehouse-like auditorium focusing on the agonies of sin and bliss of salvation, I meet the chief pastor, Valery Reshetinsky. For him, the fight against homosexuality is a matter of "national security" upon which the survival of the nation depends.
"Here's the issue," says Pastor Reshetinsky, a large-boned man with a slight moustache, tells me. "In a real democracy, my freedom and rights are limited by the freedom of someone else."
In his opinion, freedom of speech for sexual minorities is a violation of what he considers his inalienable right not to have to hear something he finds offensive.
"You can't do everything that you want to do, because there are people who have the exact same rights as you do," he insists.
The pastor goes on to accuse a worldwide conspiracy of Masons, New-Agers, postmodernists and financiers of various nationalities, of imposing ideas that are not "characteristic for Ukraine" on the nation's children.
Supporters of the bill, like Ruslan Kukharchuk, a founder of the local group Love Against Homosexuality, deny the accusation of intolerance. They say they too condemn the violence against homosexuals. What is more, they add, gays are free to do whatever they want "in the privacy of their room".
Kukharchuk, however, has also written about what he calls the "homo-dictatorship" which he claims dominates Western society and persecutes religious, anti-gay proponents like himself. He strives to counter "aggressive" gay propaganda, he says - in other words, public discourse that implies that homosexuality "is normal, is good, is part of democracy".
Valery Reshetinsky & Ruslan Kukharchuk, BBC News 43 Comments
[10/15/2012 3:15:24 AM]
Fundie Index: 42
Submitted By: Marcus Aurelius