Ask the Religion Experts: Should we boycott the Sochi Olympics?
Here is the response from Kevin Smith, CFI’s Chair of the Board and acting National Executive Director.
Click here to see the contributions from the other members of the panel, and to add your comments.
The Olympic flame, lit in honour of the gods; the torch relay, sponsored by Coca-Cola and other mega-rich corporations, is making its way to Sochi.
The gods played an integral role in the Olympics’ genesis, and more than 2,500 years later, it’s discouraging to humanists that the myths of men and women continue to intrude in an event that should celebrate diversity.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is participating in the same race as many third-world countries, where attacking homosexuality is all the rage; people motivated by goodwill for themselves rather than towards others.
American Christian evangelicals, their influence waning at home, have invaded god-fearing Uganda to spread the morals of their homophobic creator, one whose every command must be obeyed if they are to have eternal life. They have been victorious, although the punishment for being gay is merely life in prison and not, as some had prayed for, the death penalty.
Similarly, Putin, whose policies are failing at home, attempts to solidify his base by taking a page from the fundamentalists, cozying up to the corrupt Orthodox Church and finding a minority scapegoat. Instability requires provocation.
Some people have called for a boycott. However, the 1980 boycott did not shame the Russians from leaving Afghanistan, and it’s doubtful a boycott of the 1936 games would have stopped Hitler from slaughtering Jews and other minorities, including homosexuals.
For two weeks, these Olympics will provide an opportunity for a rainbow coalition of people to take a stance against Putin’s abuse of LGBTQ rights. The world will be watching.
As it was with slavery, the world corrects the Bible, and so it will regarding its anti-gay agenda. The holy scriptures remain the same, but the practice eventually changes.
Throughout history, when it comes to human rights, religion has been the last one to reach the finish line.
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