Concerned Women for America (CWA) has long been one of America’s most radical anti-gay organizations. Today, they may have reached a new low by appearing to support blasphemy laws. In an op-ed in the American Thinker by Janice Shaw Crouse, senior fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, she seemed to defend imprisoning the Russian band Pussy Riot because they insulted Christianity. According to Crouse:

Have the women repented or taken responsibility for their actions?  Their formal statements about the incident reveal their utter lack of morality, embrace of a “blame everyone but us” ideology, and disdain for capitalism and individual responsibility.  Like their U.S. counterparts, they want “human rights, civil and political freedoms” for themselves but not for Christian believers or anyone else with different beliefs.

The media — both in Russia and in the U.S. — ignores the religious bigotry directed at Christianity and, instead, jumps to the defense of anyone who shows intolerance towards the church.  It is apparent from the closing statements of the three Russian feminists on trial that they are not sorry for their actions and, in fact, view themselves as the victims, not the Christians whom they denigrated.  The punk rock group entered the sanctuary with the intent to insult Christians, and when they were held accountable, they claimed that it was someone else’s fault.

First, it is obvious that the band members are not fundamentalist Christians, so in a free society why would they repent? Does CWA now feel that repentance should be mandatory for anyone who does not want to serve prison time, even if it conflicts with their personal beliefs? Do rights for Christian fundamentalists, according to Crouse, depend on silencing those with whom they disagree? Because if this is so, then it appears that Crouse’s version of fundamentalist Christianity may be incompatible with liberty, freedom, democracy, and modern civil society.

Second, for all of her prattling about Christians as victims, it is the women of Pussy Riot who are  going to jail.  Who are the real victims here?

Third, for all CWA’s empty talk about standing for freedom, it seems they support St. Petersburg’s totalitarian law punishing anyone who “promotes homosexuality.” Clearly, this is code for suppressing free speech and placing a gag order on anyone who does not hold a fundamentalist Christian view on homosexuality. Is this what CWA would do in America if the political conditions were ripe? I shudder to think of what plans CWA has in store for this nation if their allies ever gain real political power.

Recently, Madonna spoke out against the anti-gay law during a concert in Russia. Nine activists have now filed a suit for 333 million rubles ($10.5 million) against the diva, her show’s promoter and the venue where it was held. Here is how Crouse described Madonna’s actions and that of Pussy Riot:

From the concealment of their balaclava masks, they “courageously” followed the PR example of fading American singer Madonna — knowing that the quickest way to generate a flood of media attention is to launch attacks against religion, and the more heavily laced with profanity, crudity, and vulgarity, the better.

Crouse then defended The Council of Orthodox Public Organizations and published their statement:

The Council of Orthodox Public Organizations released a statement about the incident, and this passage sums up the problem with the media’s attempt at creating a groundswell in favor of leniency:

We do not understand those as well, who appeal to the Holy Patriarch, our brothers and sisters to ‘forgive’ the blasphemous women, and ask the state to not condemn them and not punish them.  If the Patriarch will forgive them today, will it not lead tomorrow to a tenfold multiplications of blasphemous ‘acts,’ and to the very displacement of the Orthodox people from the public space, as wells [sic] turning of holy church spaces into places for mockery and arrogance of non-believers?  It is especially crucial to not even mention forgiveness without redemption, without commitment to never return to the already done monstrous sin.  Our God Jesus says: ‘If … your brother commits a sin against you, you should rebuke him; if he redeems, then forgive him’ (Luke, 17:3).  This is what is said about personal relationship among Christians.  So how can we justify our expectations of redemption from those who insulted the very God and the whole of Church?

Again, it seems that CWA’s Crouse supports — or is at least sympathetic to — laws which imprison or sanction people for speaking out against the church or taking actions to protest it. While I could see Crouse saying that Pussy Riot should be prosecuted on grounds of trespassing — to suggest that blasphemy laws should apply — or even exist — is to take a very Middle Age stand on an issue that I thought the civilized world settled centuries ago.

Finally, Crouse lists CWA “as a leader in the World Congress of Families movement that recently co-sponsored the Moscow Demographic Summit.” This begs the question: What role might CWA be playing overseas to demonize LGBT people or help pass laws limiting their rights in Russia?