Priest Peter Searson in a school staff photograph

CREDIT: via Candace Sutton from

HE WAS a paedophile, a psychopath and a thief who despised women, had a fetish for children and a sneering hatred for the locals of the tiny community.

The creepy Father Peter Searson, who wore his yellow fingernails long and manicured, liked dressing up in an army uniform and carried a pistol he sometimes pointed at parishioners.

He stole $40,000 from the parish finances, killed or tortured animals in front of children and showed them a dead body in a coffin.

He got children to touch his penis, made them kneel between his legs, loitered around the children’s toilets and audio-taped primary schoolers in the confessional box when their admissions became “hot”.

Searson was the fifth child-molesting priest sent by the Catholic Church to the working class community of Doveton, 31km southeast of Melbourne.

With his four predecessors — Father Thomas O’Keeffe, Father Wilfred Baker, Father Victor Rubeo and another priest — Searson gave Doveton’s Catholic Holy Family congregation a 35 year period of sexual abuse.

But as letters from desperate locals show, it was Searson that tore Doveton apart.

Within just two years of his appoinment as parish priest, Doveton’s parishioners and parents were so desperate to rid their community of Searson’s vile presence, they mounted a petition to remove him.

Father Peter Searson (above) who wore his yellow fingernails long and manicured, carried a pistol and left a trail of broken lives in his wake.

Father Peter Searson (above) who wore his yellow fingernails long and manicured, carried a pistol and left a trail of broken lives in his wake.Source:Supplied

The Holy Family Church at Doveton where Searson abused children and tore the community apart with his divisive nature. Picture: Google

The Holy Family Church at Doveton where Searson abused children and tore the community apart with his divisive nature. Picture: GoogleSource:Supplied

This parent said she had taught her daughter to treat Father Searson as “Danger stranger” and asked what priest made children kneel between his legs and ask them about undressing. Picture: Royal Commission.

This parent said she had taught her daughter to treat Father Searson as “Danger stranger” and asked what priest made children kneel between his legs and ask them about undressing. Picture: Royal Commission.Source:Supplied

One parent wrote to the church complaining that Searson had criticised mothers who worked and demoralised anyone who did not put $5 or $10 in the church plate weekly. Picture: Royal Commission.

One parent wrote to the church complaining that Searson had criticised mothers who worked and demoralised anyone who did not put $5 or $10 in the church plate weekly. Picture: Royal Commission.Source:Supplied

Dozens of handwritten notes and letters of complaint written to church authorities reveal shocking details of his abuse and Doveton locals’ anguish at his continuing presence.

The letters, tendered in evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sex Abuse, lay bare a harrowing period in Doveton’s history.

But the letters and the petition were all in vain. Searson remained at Holy Family for 13 years until he was finally ousted for assaulting two boys.

By then, Searson’s sexual abuse and divisive nature had left a trail of broken lives.

Doveton was little more than two decades old when Searson arrived to lead the Holy Family church as its parish priest.

Established in the 1950s, the post World War II suburb was a disadvantaged, low socio-economic public housing estate settled by migrants.

It was on January 21, 1984, that Searson turned up at the church next door to Doveton’s Holy Family Primary School.

He already had a disgraceful record with children and a reputation for hating women.

Complaints about the then 61-year-old stretched back to when he had worked at the St Paul’s School for the Blind at Kew in Melbourne a decade before.

Peter Searson was the fifth paedophile sent to Doveton, following on from Victor Rubeo (right) pictured with one of his victims, Paul Hersbach.

Peter Searson was the fifth paedophile sent to Doveton, following on from Victor Rubeo (right) pictured with one of his victims, Paul Hersbach.Source:Supplied

Paul Hersbach (above) in 2014 after giving evidence at the Royal Commission about how Father Rubeo molested both himself and his father. Picture: Alex Coppel.

Paul Hersbach (above) in 2014 after giving evidence at the Royal Commission about how Father Rubeo molested both himself and his father. Picture: Alex Coppel.Source:News Corp Australia

Originally from Adelaide, and a latecomer to the priesthood, Searson received his first formal complaint of sexual abuse in 1974, 12 years after his ordination in Rome.

By 1978, he had been moved to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the northwestern Melbourne suburb of Sunbury.

Apart from claims of sexual abuse, Searson caused “deep and bitter resentment … and hurt” among parishioners, according to a letter tendered at the royal commission.

Written by his assistant priest at Sunbury, Phil O’Donnell, to the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne in 1982, it describes how Searson’s “utter humiliation of women has to be seen to be believed. He revels in reducing people to tears”.

Father O’Donnell said Searson had driven parishioners away with his open nastiness, had savaged normally “tough” parish nuns, making them cry, and launched bitter recriminations at members of the congregation he did not feel had put enough in the church plate.

A 1983 letter from the principal of St Anne’s Catholic School in Sunbury to the local bishop highlights a shortfall in a church loan.

Letter from parishioners to the Archbishop complaining that Searson had delivered a sermon on pornography

Letter from parishioners to the Archbishop complaining that Searson had delivered a sermon on pornographySource:Supplied

“Made from the school’s Provident Fund in 1978 for a library and resources area, the loan was for $90,000 and the cost shown is only $57,927. I wonder what the balance was used for,” the principal wrote.

The headmaster at the next school Searson was to be transferred to, Graeme Sleeman, would later tell the church hierarchy he had proof that Searson had stolen $40,000 from school funds.

But Mr Sleeman’s pleas fell on deaf ears in the church hierarchy.

Searson’s transfer from Sunbury to Doveton set off a flurry of complaints.

One handwritten letter, from a group of parishioners, expressed their “disgust at the way” Searson had conducted a Mass for children taking their first communion. with a sermon “based on pornography/censorship”.

The litany of grievances about Searson include his abuse of the school’s tuckshop ladies, padlocking the school gates to keep children out, and punishing children if their parents lodged complaints.

Searson allowed his dog, Rex, described by one assistant priest as Searson’s “only friend”, to urinate and defecate around the tuckshop,

Searson had also “pointed a handgun at a couple” of parishioners and was “turning people, especially teenagers and children … away from the church”.

Two years after his arrival in Doveton, parishioners and parents petitioned for his removal, but they were to suffer his abuse for 11 more years. Picture: RC.

Two years after his arrival in Doveton, parishioners and parents petitioned for his removal, but they were to suffer his abuse for 11 more years. Picture: RC.Source:Supplied

Searson had also berated parishioners for not leaving at least $5 to $10 in the church plate because they were “not below the poverty line”.

And “people employed at the school have been threatened by Father with their jobs if they disagree with him”.

Letters between church and school officials note that when Searson was asked about complaints he demanded to know the names of the parents who had reported on him.


In November 1985, Catholic nun Sister Joan Powell wrote to a church superior to complain that Father Searson was audio taping children’s confessions.

She wrote that Searson had told the Grade Five teacher that, referring to the children’s confessions “when it starts to hot up I’ll start the tape”.

Concerns were raised about Father Searson’s behaviour. Picture: Royal Commission.

Concerns were raised about Father Searson’s behaviour. Picture: Royal Commission.Source:Supplied

In the letter to Father Doyle, Sister Powell wrote: “There is one girl in the Grade 5 class whose parents have already asked that their daughter not go to Fr. Season for confession because she was so upset after Father made her kneel between his knees.

“Two other girls in the class do everything possible to avoid F. Searson as he always cuddles them.”

The letters regarding Searson show the distress parents felt at his insulting snobbery — like the family he told them their house “wasn’t good enough” for a home mass because it didn’t have carpet — to their despair when the church did nothing about his sexual abuse.

Parent’s letter to the Vicar General of the Catholic Church complaining about Searson’s sexual abuse of young girls during reconciliation.

Parent’s letter to the Vicar General of the Catholic Church complaining about Searson’s sexual abuse of young girls during reconciliation.Source:Supplied

Written to the Archbishop, bishops, the Vicar General of the Church, they complain about Searson holding hands with children during confession, and asking young girls is “they looked at themselves when undressing”.

Many letters declare that both teachers and parents had advised children not to go alone to Father Searson’s office.

In July, 1987, schoolteacher Faye Chandley wrote a file note about a pupil who had “asked to leave classroom and speak with me” and had “sat in chair shaking and crying too ashamed to tell about what had happened to her”.

The girl, named Julie Stewart would later give evidence to the Royal Commission about what Searson had done to her as third-grader.

In Faye Chandley’s note, Julie tells her about Searson coercing her with dolls and wanting to “put his penis at the top of her thighs … talked of ejaculation — white stuff came out — wanted her to hold his penis”.

The abuse “went on for a couple of years” and caused problems for Julie at home.

Ms Stewart told the Royal Commission that Searson would force her to sit on his lap during confession and indecently assault her.

“He would say to me: ‘Do you love father?’ And I said ‘yes’. He would ask me to kiss him on the lips. I did,” she told the inquiry.

During her last confession she said Searson lifted her onto his lap and pushed her against his erect penis.

Note by teacher Faye Chandley about Julie Stewart confessing that Searson had sexually molested her during confession.

Note by teacher Faye Chandley about Julie Stewart confessing that Searson had sexually molested her during confession.Source:Supplied

Julie Stewart was molested as a nine-year-old by Father Searson told her ‘the Lord forgives you’. Picture: ABC TV.

Julie Stewart was molested as a nine-year-old by Father Searson told her ‘the Lord forgives you’. Picture: ABC TV.Source:ABC

List of grievances by teachers and parents against Father Peter Searson when he worked at Holy Family Catholic Church in Doveton. Picture: Royal Commission.

List of grievances by teachers and parents against Father Peter Searson when he worked at Holy Family Catholic Church in Doveton. Picture: Royal Commission.Source:Supplied

“He whispered in my ear: ‘You are a good girl. The Lord forgives you’.”

The nine-year-old snapped and ran screaming out of the confessional and was taken to the principal, Graeme Sleeman’s office.

Mr Sleeman, who also gave evidence at the inquiry, told how he resigned his post in 1986 at the school because of the abuse.

Parents launched a petition to get him back and to try and oust Searson, but nothing happened.

Searson would also belittle parents born abroad whose English was not up to his standard.

He also regularly made statements in his homilies saying that children whose mothers didn’t work should feel loved, while those who had working mothers must “feel unwanted”.

Despite the torrent of letters to Catholic leaders in Victoria, Searson endured at Doveton until March 14, 1997.

He was removed for an accusation of physical rather than sexual assault against boys.

Ms Stewart attempted suicide as a teenager, and received a $25,000 payment from the church which she said just “retraumatised” her.

The church paid a total of $291,000 to three of Searson’s victims via the Melbourne Response program.

Peter Searson died in 2009 before facing any child sex charges. One bishop and 15 priests paid their respects at his funeral in Melbourne.

The letters from parents and teachers about Searson are available on the Royal Commission’s web page.

If you or anyone you know need any help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

A parent’s letter complaining about Searson pointing his pistol at young boys in the church. Picture: RC.

A parent’s letter complaining about Searson pointing his pistol at young boys in the church. Picture: RC.Source:Supplied

PAYPAL :- we value your ongoing support and generous donations that assist the production of this site.

Preview Image

Join us on Facebook in discussion:- Facebook's Profile Photo


Islam’s Non-Believers









A new film by Deeyah Khan, above – Islam’s Non-Believers –  follows the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, which supports ex-Muslims, often referred to as apostates or unbelievers, both in the UK and abroad.

The documentary – which can be seen here – provides an important insight into the hidden plight of young people in Britain, many of whom are leading double lives – pretending to still be Muslims including by wearing the veil or attending mosque – in order to avoid ostracisation, abuse and even violence.

Depression, self-harm, and suicide are some of the effects.

According to Sadia, one of the ex-Muslims featured in the film said:

I remember saying to my mum, ‘I don’t think I believe in God anymore,’ And her saying, ‘You can’t tell anybody else because they’ll kill you, we are obliged to kill ex-Muslims,’ and that it would put me at extreme risk if anybody else was to find out, so that conversation ended there.

Given the stigma and risks, it’s hard to know how many ex-Muslims there are in Britain, and internationally, but it’s a growing phenomenon.

The Internet is doing to Islam what the printing press did in the past to Christianity. Social media has not only given countless young people access to “forbidden” ideas and allowed them a space to express themselves where none existed – but it has also helped them find each other, share their stories and see that they are not alone.

This has brought with it courage and hope for the right to live as they choose. It’s become a global resistance movement.

There are literally millions of us – in every home and “Muslim” family, on every street corner, in every city, town and village across Britain and the globe.

Atheism is ‘breaking like a tsunami’, says a worried official of the Islamic regime of Iran.

The “threat” of atheism explains why the Saudi government has equated atheism with terrorism and Egypt’s youth ministry has joined with the highest Sunni authority, Al-Azhar, to combat “extremism and atheism”.

Atheism is punishable with the death penalty in 13 countries and a prosecutable offence in many more, including via fines, imprisonment, flogging, and exclusion from civil rights, such as losing child custody.

And it is not just “over there” that apostates face persecution but right here in Britain with Imams and respected mainstream “community leaders” legitimising discrimination and/or inciting violence.

In the film, Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain, justifies ostracisation by saying that Islam’s non-believers are “outside the human norms”:

How we treat people is the same; we don’t discriminate but our love cannot be the same, it’s just human behaviour. Islam is a pragmatic religion, it doesn’t expect people to behave outside the human norms.

[When asked on his position with regards the death penalty for apostasy in an ideal Islamic state, he refused to respond in usual double-speak.]

Shah Sadruddin, another “community leader”, is shown calling for the death of a Bangladeshi atheist blogger:

This son of a bastard is challenging us.
O Bangla’s Scholars, O Bangla’s Muslims, wake up! No son of a bastard will remain alive after swearing at my Prophet!

Sadruddin is a teacher/rector at an Islamic academy and madrasah and ran as a Conservative councillor and lost. In a clip for the Conservatives, he says:

I believe in equality, I believe in fairness, I believe in loving the human race and I hate to hate anybody.


Rayhana Sultan, above left, a young ex-Muslim from Bangladesh, says this form of hate speech can further intimidate ex-Muslims, forcing them back into the closet:

These kind of lectures create an environment that subconsciously teaches devout Muslims to see ex-Muslims or anyone who thinks out of the box as a threat, further ostracising them, de-humanising them, bullying them, so it further creates so much dangers for people to come out as an ex-Muslim.

Whilst apostasy is not criminalised here in Britain, many imams and self-appointed “community leaders” have created a climate where vilification and incitement to violence are permissible, particularly since there is no political will to recognise it as incitement.

Add to this, links to the transnational Islamist movement, British government appeasement of the Islamist movement, multiculturalism as a social policy which homogenises the “Muslim community” and fails to recognise dissent as well as accusations of “Islamophobia” to silence critics and you have a situation where young people born and raised in this country have neither the right nor the choice to think or live as they want.

Identity politics is literally killing us.

Deeyah Khan’s film is often hard to watch – parts of it are heart-breaking – but it also inspires and brings hope by highlighting those challenging apostasy laws and stigma and calling for equality – much like the gay liberation movement has done in decades past.

Clearly, the ex-Muslim movement deserves the support and solidarity of all those more interested in defending human rights and lives rather than religion and the religious-Right.


Sign a petition calling for an end to apostasy laws.

For more information, visit the website of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

Editor’s note: Islam’s Non-Believers was broadcast by ITV on October 13. In an analysis of the documentary, Luqmaan Al Hakeem wrote:

I came to realise that the majority of their reasons for leaving the faith were emotional and cultural as opposed to being intellectual reasons.


PAYPAL :- we value your ongoing support and generous donations that assist the production of this site.

Preview Image

Join us on Facebook in discussion:- Facebook's Profile Photo


The Christian lobby is now trying to convince women that abortion causes breast cancer
 Jane Gilmore

Last week the ACL sent out an email inviting people to attend a Melbourne screening of Hush, a documentary described as “a pro-woman perspective on the abortion debate”.

The ACL describes controversial anti-abortion documentary ‘Hush’ as “a pro-woman perspective on the abortion debate”.

Hush has been lauded by anti-abortion and religious groups around the world for its allegedly “balanced” reporting of thoroughly debunked myths – that abortion causes breast cancer, infertility and mental illness.

Perpetuating dangerous and disproved claims about serious medical issues is a definition of “a pro women perspective” I haven’t heard of before, but to be fair, there are many issues pushed out by the ACL that I find difficult to comprehend.

A still from the documentary 'Hush'.
A still from the pseudo-documentary ‘Hush’.  Photo: Hush

Hush props up the allegation of “balance” by claiming the director, Punam Kumar Gill, is pro-choice. Despite this, there are 28 people featured in the film discussing the alleged dangers of abortion, and only two who assert it is a safe procedure.

Whether or not Gill really is pro-choice is irrelevant in the face of the claims made by the documentary, which gives significant weight to assertions by Christian anti-abortion researchers while ignoring overwhelming evidence from the medical profession that there is no reliable link between abortion and breast cancer.

It’s very much akin to the work of anti-vaxers, who cling desperately to risible claims by quack scientists, in the face of irrefutable evidence that they are wrong, because their feelings trump facts.

The film has been described as “a prototype of pseudoscience” by Dr David Grimes, who says he “advised the director in writing in September of 2014 of the poor credentials and discredited science of several anti-abortion activists interviewed for the film.

“She was apparently undeterred in conjuring up a conspiracy,” he says.

The documentary’s website lists a bibliography of the so-called “science” behind the breast cancer claims. The first article shows a possible small increase in the number of young women with breast cancer, but does not posit any possible causes. The second article was eviscerated by Discover Magazine in 2003, which utterly debunked the premise, methodology, results and conclusions of the study. And pointed out that – as Phyllis Wingo, chief of the cancer surveillance branch for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said – even if you accepted their flawed suppositions, “a relative risk of 1.3 – compared with the relative risk of 20 associated with smoking and lung cancer – is usually considered too weak to draw definite conclusions”.

The third link supporting the ludicrous notion that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer was written by Patrick Carroll, an insurance expert with no medical training, who works for the Pension And Population Research Institute, an obscure institution with a single-page website linking only to Carroll’s three papers on breast cancer and abortion.

These studies were used to prove a link that has been investigated and rejected by the National Cancer Institute, the Cancer Council of Australia, the American Cancer Society, and the Australian Medical Association, among many others.

Dr Tony Bartone, Vice-President of the Australian Medical Association, said the assertion is irresponsible. “There is no evidence that abortion is in any way linked to the development or onset of breast cancer.

“A patient suffering from breast cancer has enormous challenges to deal with, and they certainly don’t need this kind of misinformation adding to their already overwhelming worries,” he said.

“Also, patients making informed decisions about terminations do not need to be subjected to this kind of misinformation, which can only create significant and unnecessary further stress when they already have so many  concerns to deal with.”

What’s worse, the screening for which the Australian Christian Lobby was issuing invitations is a fundraiser for Women’s Forum Australia, “an independent women’s think-tank” founded by Melinda Tankard Reist, which claims to advocate for “women’s health and wellbeing”.

Of their 10 published news items, three were anti-abortion, six were about adoption (with a focus against same-sex parents adopting) and one was advocating against surrogacy. Their two events are the Hush screening and a Pregnancy Support Awards for services that persuade women against abortion.

Tankard Reist has long resisted publicly declaring any link to faith-based organisations, but the links between her, the organisations she’s founded, and right-wing Christian groups are difficult to ignore.

While faith is certainly a personal matter that no private individual should ever be obliged to disclose, it is relevant to public advocacy. Women’s Forum Australia has every right to argue against abortion if they choose to, but peddling dangerous misinformation under the guise of “balance” and “science”, and hiding a faith-based agenda behind an alleged concern for women’s health, demands some investigation and response.

ACL’s invitation to the event was forwarded to Fairfax Media and came directly from Dan Flynn, the Victorian Director of ACL. Kristan Dooley, the contact provided on the event information, confirmed to Fairfax Media that the event is a fundraiser for Women’s Forum Australia.

The ACL is very clear on its purpose, as stated on its website it is “seeking to bring a Christian influence to politics”. If the ACL is promoting a fundraiser, it would be unlikely to do so without some faith-based or ideological alignment with the beneficiaries.

Pseudoscience and discredited conspiracy theories do nothing for the anti-abortion cause. Using such things to raise funds for further advocacy is egregiously unethical.

If these are the best arguments they can make for an ideological crusade against a legal medical procedure that saves women’s lives, they desperately need to rethink their strategy.

And in the meantime, Australian women can rest assured that if they require an abortion, the procedure is safe, legal (in most states) and entirely a matter for each individual to decide.




PAYPAL :- we value your ongoing support and generous donations that assist the production of this site.

Preview Image

Join us on Facebook in discussion:- Facebook's Profile Photo



In recent years, religion and the state in Russia have tended to be closely intertwined, with the state using the church as an instrument of manipulation. This is evidenced by the recent conflict over the staging of Tannhӓuser at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater. IMR legal expert Ekaterina Mishina analyzes the relationship between the government and the church in today’s Russia and draws parallels with totalitarian and fascist regimes of the recent past.


Orthodox activists have been demanding resignations of Boris Mezdrich, director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater, and Timofey Kulyabin, stage director of Tannhӓuser, for a long time. In late March, the activists held the so-called “standing in prayer for protection of religious feelings” in Novosibirsk. Photo: RFE/RL

In 2003, Free Inquiry magazine published an article by political analyst Lawrence Britt titled “Fascism Anyone?” that defined 14 characteristics of a fascist political regime. The article evoked all kinds of reactions, ranging from positive to extremely negative. Particularly harsh criticism was offered by an anonymous commenter who wrote under the pseudonym “Fascist Heart.” Brimming over with enthusiasm, Fascist Heart (here referred to as “he” for ease) tried to tear to pieces both the article itself and its author. His main point was that Britt was an unpleasant and suspicious person because he was not a doctor of political science, but a former manager at such companies as Allied Chemical, Mobil, and Xerox Corp. According to Fascist Heart, no one could be interested in a former manager’s opinion on fascism and its characteristics, because that opinion would by definition be wrong. Apparently, if Britt had worked for some time as a dictator in some small fascist state and gained some experience there, the harsh critic would have approved of his conclusions.

Meanwhile, there are many examples to prove that you can be an outstanding political scientist even without a formal political education: Dmitry Oreshkin, for one, graduated from the Department of Geography at Moscow State University, with a Ph.D. in geography, while Vladimir Pastukhov was trained as a lawyer. I see no reason to dismiss Britt’s views just because he studied business, not political science—especially because the characteristics of a fascist regime defined by Britt generally do not contradict the definition of fascism outlined in the constitutional law of many countries.

According to Britt, fascism has the following features:

  • Powerful and enduring nationalism
  • A disregard of universally recognized human rights
  • A tendency to look for enemies and use the idea of atoning sacrifice as a unifying framework
  • A dominant position in society of the armed forces
  • Strong gender-based discrimination, homophobia, and condemnation of abortion
  • The exertion of state control over the media
  • A maniacal obsession with national security
  • The merging of religion and state
  • Protection of corporations
  • Harassment of trade unions
  • A contempt for intellectuals and the arts that results in the freedom of artistic expression coming under attack
  • An obsession with the idea of crime and punishment, often leading to the police having almost-unlimited powers
  • Rampant nepotism and corruption
  • Rigged elections

That said, Britt does not mention the following characteristics of fascism:

  • A fundamentally different political meaning of the concept of head of state as a result of the dramatic expansion of that role’s actual authority
  • Abandonment of the concept of electivity of the head of state, even under a republican form of government
  • The existence of only one legal political party (in Nazi Germany, the German National Socialist Workers’ Party; in Italy, the National Fascist Party; and in Spain, the Falange of traditionalists and nationalist-syndicalist juntas), with the head of that party (Fuhrer, Duce, Caudillo) usually having full state power
  • An open merger between the dominant fascist party and the state apparatus, resulting in the party becoming the core of a dictatorship
  • A dramatic reduction in the role of the parliament, with the parliament either being abolished (as in Italy, once the fascist regime stabilized) or degenerating into a purely decorative institution, deprived of any features shared by parliaments of democratic states (as in Germany or Portugal until 1974)1

In the constitutional law of many countries, fascism is defined as the most blatant, cynical, and severe form of totalitarianism.2 Therefore, some of the attributes set forth by Britt are common to the majority of fascist as well as a number of totalitarian regimes. One such common feature is the merging of religion and state. As Britt explains this concept, “fascist states use religion as an instrument to control public opinion. State leaders resort to religious rhetoric and terminology even when the basic principles of the religion are completely opposite to the actions or policies of the government.”

Italian prime minister Benito Mussolini was a pioneer in building meaningful dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation between the fascist state and the church. In 1929, Mussolini and Cardinal Pietro Gaspari, who represented the Holy See, signed three documents (the Conciliation Treaty, the Financial Convention, and the Concordat) that went down in history as the Lateran Treaty. This treaty stated that Roman Catholicism was the only state religion of Italy, that the Supreme Pontiff was sacred and inviolable, and that “any attempt against his person or any incitement to commit such attempt” was “punishable by the same penalties as all similar attempts and incitements to commit the same against the person of the king. The Concordat defined a wide range of rights and privileges of the Roman Catholic Church, and Article 1 of the Financing Convention provided for generous payments to the Holy See in exchange for ratification of the Conciliation Treaty.

The recent conflict surrounding the production of Tannhäuser has revealed a new dimension of the relationship between religion and the state in today’s Russia. It clearly demonstrates that if, contrary to the expectations of the state, the church does not act with sufficient toughness, Orthodox activists can be used to manipulate public opinion.

In his book The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe, David Kertzer writes that Pope Pius XI worked closely with Mussolini for more than a decade, giving the fascist regime the institutional power and moral legitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church. According to Kertzer, this alliance was particularly remarkable because of the fact that Mussolini was a staunch supporter of secularism. However, the deal turned out to be beneficial for both sides.3

When, on April 1, 1939, the nationalist leader Francisco Franco came to power in Spain and the Second Republic fell, the winner turned out to be primarily the Catholic Church, which had suffered heavily during Republican rule in the 1930s. Article 3 of the Constitution of 1931 separated the church from the state and declared that there was no official religion in Spain, thus putting an end to the centuries-old power of the church in that nation. Article 26 of the Constitution introduced a series of harsh restrictions on religious communities. In particular, organizations considered to pose a threat to national security were abolished and their property nationalized. Once in power, Franco immediately banned all the reforms of the Second Republic that had had an extremely negative impact on the spiritual and social role of the church in Spain. The church regained its privileged status immediately after the end of the civil war: in June 1941, the rights of the church were formally recognized in an agreement between the Vatican and the government of Franco and then finally formalized in the Concordat signed in August 1953. The church fully adapted to the conditions of the Franco dictatorship, with Cardinal Goma, the Archbishop of Toledo, coining the famous phrase “divine totalitarianism.”

Soviet-style totalitarianism, by contrast, was not so kind to the clergy. The first conflict emerged in December 1917, when the decrees “On Civil Marriage, on Children and on Keeping Civil Registry Books” and “On Divorce” made marriage and family relations exempt from the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Soviet Criminal Code of 1922 clearly demonstrated the attitude of the Bolsheviks to the church. It criminalized the “use of religious prejudices of the masses to overthrow the workers’ and peasants’ government, or to incite resistance against its laws and regulations” (Art. 119); “commission of fraudulent acts to incite superstition among the masses of the population, as well as to benefit in such a way” (Art. 120)“; “teaching religious beliefs among minors in public or private educational institutions and schools” (Art. 121); and “practicing worship in public institutions and enterprises, as well as placement of any religious images in such buildings” (Art. 124).

It wasn’t until the post-Soviet period that the relations between the Russian authorities and the church started to warm up, and gradually this relationship morphed into something that is very reminiscent of the “merging of religion and state.” In this sense the Pussy Riot case is symbolic. Instead of being prosecuted under Article 5.26, part 2, of the Code of Administrative Offenses for “insulting religious feelings of citizens or desecration of articles, marks and emblems relating to the world outlook symbols thereof,” members of the punk group were convicted of criminal offenses under Article 213 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism). The conviction of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina is a classic example of the genre of selective enforcement. Apparently, in order to avoid accusations of religiously based prosecution, Russian lawmakers decided to create a respectable legal framework to prosecute those who offend the religious feelings of citizens. On June 29, 2013, Article 148 of the Criminal Code, which until then had modestly criminalized “illegal obstruction of the activity of religious organizations or of the performance of religious rites,” was expanded to include new provisions. The revised article criminalized “public actions expressing obvious disrespect for society and committed to insulting the religious feelings of believers,” as well as the commission of such acts “in places specially designated for worship and other religious rites and ceremonies.” It thus became much easier and more convenient for the state to protect the feelings of the faithful.

The recent conflict surrounding the production of Tannhäuser has revealed a new dimension of the relationship between religion and the state in today’s Russia. It clearly demonstrates that if, contrary to the expectations of the state, the church does not act with sufficient toughness, Orthodox activists can be used to manipulate public opinion. After all, except for Metropolitan Tikhon, who filed a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office, none of the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church called for any action to be taken against the director of Tannhäuser or the director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater. On the contrary, on March 5, the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church published an explanation by Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Information Department, in connection with the situation. His words were correct and encouraging: any believer or priest, he wrote, who notices something in the public sphere that he considers blasphemous or insulting to his feelings should not immediately rush to the Prosecutor’s Office. “A sinner is not only the one who blasphemes God, but also the one who falsely accuses someone of blasphemy,” claimed Legoyda. However, these words were ignored by Orthodox activists. A prayer event held in the center of Novosibirsk on March 29 looked quite menacing. Slogans like “Down with American quasi-occupation” did not make this rally look like something peaceful, and appeals to “protect the sacred and save Russia” sounded very much like the infamous “Kill the Jews and save Russia.”

In today’s Russia, the government actively uses religious communities to manipulate public opinion, even though religion and state are legally separated in accordance with Article 14 of the Constitution. Protection of religious feelings is increasingly being used as an argument to justify harassment and escalate criminal persecution. It could also come in handy for officials seeking to justify the reintroduction of censorship.



  1. See. А.А. Мишин, Конституционное (государственное) право зарубежных стран. Москва, “Статут”, 2013, pp. 149–157.
  2. Ibid, p. 150.
  3. David I. Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe (New York: Random House, 2014).


PAYPAL :- we value your ongoing support and generous donations that assist the production of this site.

Preview Image

Join us on Facebook in discussion:- Facebook's Profile Photo

Russian Orthodox Extremism
img 54b6827cd247d Russian Orthodox Extremism

Unfortunately, it’s not a joke – there’s a strong movement in Russian Orthodoxy dreaming of the “holy Orthodox tsar”. Putin is the best candidate at the moment.

Russian-Ukrainian war is showing new mass manipulation tools and the most interesting among them for researchers of religion is Russian Orthodox Extremism (ROE) ideology. Mass media attention concentrates on Islamic extremism, and pays little attention to this new type of religious extremism, which is much more dangerous due to couple reasons:

  • Russians have nukes
  • Russians fight much better than Jihaddists

When in late 2000s the Russian Orthodox Church communities began creating military and patriotic groups providing youth with combat sports and martial arts education, no foreign observer could predict where this trend could lead.

To understand what this youth has being training for years we need to read the catechism of “Eurasian Youth Union”, which says: “we are the empire-builders of newest type, and we don’t agree for anything less than the power over the world”.

In their revanchism attempts Russian powers actively try to draw religious factor into their population control strategies and to provide motivation for Russian aggressions, like the war with Ukraine. Head of Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) has declared “the plot of Greek-Catholics, protestants, and Kyiv Patriarchy against Russian Orthodoxy” to be the reason of the war in Donbas. – Considering the Ukrainian traditions of the named denominations’ many year peaceful coexistence this claim makes no sense at all, but sounds horrific for the watchers of Russian TV and is motivating enough to send thousands of volunteer militants to fight for “ressurection of all-Russian identity of Eastern Slavs”.

This Russia propaganda’s “ressurection and gathering brothers together” shall be done as usually in Russian history with AK’s and “Grads”.

Orthodox Ideology of “Russian World”

The doctrine Russia uses tore-conquer countries liberated from the USSR in 1991 and to enforce its international interests is called “Russian World” and its core is national Orthodox Christianity.

In late 2014 the Russian People’s Council adopted the “Declaration of Russian identity ” – a document which states: “every Russian shall be an Orthodox” (thus violating human rights and freedoms as the West sees it).

This logically leads to maxims like “everyone, adhering to Moscow Orthodoxy should be considered Russian”. As subdivisions of Russian Orthodox Church (ROCh) exist in many countries, there are many potential victims to “liberation into Russian World” on the grounds of logically derived maxim “Russian World is there, where Russians are!”, which gives geopolitic justification of territorial claims that has been used for several times when Moscow “protected” Russians outside the country’s borders as Orthodoxes. In theory, Kremlin can use this argument in any country with Russian-speaking Orthodox population (Balkans or Baltic states, for example) or having something to do with Orthodox history (remember Putin’s 2014 speech where he states that for Russia the annexed Crimea has “great civilizational and sacred significance”).

Russian World is built on the notion of Russian Orthodoxy’s superiority compared to other religions, it considers Russian Orthodoxy believers having special right for Ultimate Truth.

Inside Russia it has lead to an inner war against “sects” in previous years (the pejorative word “sect” can be used to define any non-Russian Orthodox denomination).

In occupied parts of Ukraine this practice looks unbelievable at first sight, like a dangerous experiment that has taken place in separatist regions of Donbas (so-called ДНР and ЛНР) which in their “constitutions” have declared Russian Orthodoxy to be their”state religion”. Other religions are prohibited, their believers — persecuted and discriminated. This social experiment creates Russian national and religious dictatorship in the conquered region –something that Europe has not seen for centuries. Following this “clause” Donbas gangs like “Great Don Regiment” led by Russian Orthodox priests or similar”Russian Orthodox Army” systematically closes Orthodox churches.

Religion-based “Russian World” does raise national pride, it promotes national and religious identification of Russians, but it doesn’t have much creative features – it’s more like a survivalist doctrine in the Weltanschaung of everyone around Russia being American agents, liberals, homosexuals, and thus Satan’s servants. Russian population is very sensitive to anti-Western and anti-homosexual discourses and supports them almost always.

A good illustration of Orthodox Church’s effective aggressive anti-American rhetoric equating americanism with hitlerism is Dec 2014 speech of V.Chaplin (ROCh’s official speaker) in which he pompously announced that Russia is going to “stop the American project in a way it had stopped Hitler’s”.

Another important feature of Russian Orthodox Extremism is its justification of Soviet communism and its crimes against humanity (and religions, including Orthodoxy) to prove historical continuity of modern Russian imperialism and Soviet communist imperialism. A good example is bishop Augustin (Anisimov) who has recently declared that Communist party was “in a secret way” built on Christian principles.

img 54b740d706501 e1421295889572 Russian Orthodox Extremism

An old anticlerical joke about inviting Orthodox priest to bless intercontinental ballistic missile R-38 “Satan”, which can carry up to 10 750 kiloton nuclear warheads, doesn’t seem funny any more, for it has become a dreadful reality in once atheist country, which used to idolize science ridiculing religion just some 25 years ago.

This fundamentalist system is currently been implemented in political life of Russia and neighboring countries. In practice the export of this blend of fascism and religion to neighboring, “brother”-countries is scary: captured churches and prayer houses in Donbas suffer transformation into Russian military storehouses; protesters – killed and tortured. Russian church speakers provide the war against Ukraine with a sacred character, — it is sanctified by priests, and the militants believe that they fight for “building holy Russia and killing all of its enemies”. They also call their competitors “enemies of faith and enemies of God”, — something very similar to what Muslim jihaddists  and ISIL- like groups do.

Thus, Russian Orthodox extremism as a form of totalitarisation of all spheres of life, becomes a threat both to common sanity and to civil society.

rUSSIAN oRTHODOX EROTICS1 Russian Orthodox Extremism

Russian Orthodox extremism, despite its presumably ascetic monastic roots, doesn’t avoid some terrorist erotics and sexuality

Where is it heading? Religion?

At this point a question like “what does it have to do with Christ, religion, and Christian values?” should arise. To understand this we need to reconsider our understanding of religion: in all sociologic surveys Russians pretend to be one of the most religious nations in the world. Moscow Patriarchy even demands a special attitude in the Orthodox Christian world towards itself because it considers its believers to be “exclusively spiritual”.

In reality fewer than 10 percent of Orthodox respondents say they attend church regularly, and 30 percent of them admit they don’t believe in God! (Paradoxical religious identity “Orthodox atheist” is common in Russia). The great majority of Russian Orthodox believers don’t know the Orthodox Creed. This creates a schizophrenic notion of society diving into religion without religion.

Another sketch to the picture: in recent years Moscow Church has put huge efforts into preaching attempts among bikers, football fanatics, and other ultra right radicals. – To understand the paradox, imagine football hooligans or bikers in any Western European country being Christian fundamentalist and using Catholic symbolics.

Russian Orthodoxy is a unique example for everyone studying history of religion — once powerful denomination with developed theology and mystics degrades into militant ethnic and political ideology. Worse than that — in the explosive youth groups where even aggressive Christianity is not radical enough, Orthodoxy blends with neo-paganism, weirdly combining Orthodox crosses and Nazi swasticas.

img 543248c5f09fc Russian Orthodox Extremism

Summer 2014 somewhere in separatist-controlled regions of Donbas.

Certainly, the state does influence religion (this has been a tradition in Orthodoxy for millennium since the times of Byzantine Empire, which had exported the monastic Eastern Christianity to Kyiv state, from where it later spread to Russia), and in case of Russian government machine it gives religion bureaucratization and de facto loss of its religious functionality. The higher management, even if it does want Orthodoxy to be a religion, has nothing to do but give up and let the state turn it into the Ministry of Truth with voodoo-like tinsel. The modern tradition of Orthodoxy’s use as political and military ideology goes back to Soviet times of Stalin who allowed the Orthodox church to exist and function (under  100% KGB control) in exchange for support in WW2, and to earlier times of tsars and early Russian leaders who saw it as good ideological and brainwashing machine for their population and armies.

A strange thing for the Westerner is that modern Russia’s political machine has also decided to build Russian national identity on Orthodoxy – a “common” Orthodox in Russia can answer all questions in a sociologist review as a low-educated neo-pagan believing in reptiloids and demonoids in America, but still thinking of himself as of a Russian Orthodox – non-tolerant and hating.

Is “Russian World’s” Orthodoxy still a religion?

православіє ілі смєгть Russian Orthodox Extremism

“Orthodoxy or Death” – this is how many Russians see their spirituality

The implementations of “Russian World” transforms Russian Orthodoxy into something new – it doesn’t look Christian anymore, but rather becomes a national religion of Russians (with strong elements traditionally described as “pagan” and, considering early Christianity history, theoretically hostile to Church) declaring every Russian a Russian Orthodox Christian and every “true” Orthodox Christian necessary a Russian. Introduction of neo-pagan and fascist elements into Russian World and its de-facto acceptance by the Church – despite “theologic differences” should become a warning call for all Christians – there’s something awfully wrong here – for both religions understand each other perfectly – they want Russian world to spread to foreign territories and to bring Russians victory in every possible way – economic, diplomatic, military. A symbol and hero of this weird (remember, Christianity rose from the conflict with pagans, and spent many centuries fighting them) symbiosis is a former Orthodox priest, famous Russian actor I.Okhlobystin who had announced that he wanted to join “People’s army of Donbass”.

Another view has been expressed  by Russian researcher  Oxana Kuropatkina, who in mid-2014 has viewed the “Orthodox” worldview as “unorganised religion”: separatist militants don’t need official support of the Church, they just need to here once that are the “warriors of Christ” and whatever they do remains justified by Higher Authority.

If I was an Orthodox theologian of XIXth century, I’d call it “demonization of  Russian Orthodox Church”.

A more radical answer to this question has been given by Russian political writer Alfred Koch: “Modern Orthodoxy in Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy version, preserving some external forms and rituals of Christianity has evolved into nationalist cult of Russian State, with sin redemption via love for it… In this cult God is the State… Russian Orthodoxy isn’t Christianity any more”.

Thus, Russian Orthodox Extremism is a new phenomenon with old roots. Although it speaks about religion it has very little to do with the latter, being an attempt to build imperialistic identity on ethnic superiority concept with remnants of “spiritual culture” and hatred. This blend is explosive threat for all the Eastern Europe.

Russian World becomes a geopolitical worldview, an ideology that justifies pretensions of Russia for any territories with some Russian-speaking population, or having something to do with Russia’s history, and brings throngs of fundamentalist fanatics to fight for this delirium.

Ukrainian Donbas as a training ground for “Orthodox Al-Queda” experiment

img 54b236ef37143 Russian Orthodox Extremism

You know you shouldn’t trust the guy by just looking into fanatic crook’s eyes. This is Anton Rayevskyi (Антон Раевский) from St.-Petersburg, now a murderer fighting at Donbas.  His body speaks even clearer language: notice the imperial eagle, the Nazi swastica, the Hitler on the shoulder, and the 8-point Orthodox cross on his right arm

The fanatics and their ideology in its most schizoid and radical form (“destroy all heretics”) are kept under control and even outlawed even in Russia, but the Russia-occupied regions of Ukraine, according to Ukrainian researcher M.Vasin, have been chosen as an experimentation ground for practical implementation, testing, and development of this construct.

How far the experiment might go giving favorable conditions? A good answer was provided by a Donbas separatist commander with a skull and cross-bones battalion insignia mr.Natyushin in the interview to BBC reporter: “We must restore the historic injustice which befell the Russian people in the 20th Century. We need to take land which is ours by right and bring it back into the fold of Holy Russia… We had the idea of a Christian Orthodox revolution … our ambition was to create an Orthodox al-Qaeda.”

It looks like the Russian Orthodox Church, already merged to high extent with state’s bureaucratic apparatus still has not satisfied its hunger for pleasures of being imperial officers like in the old Russian Empire of Romanovs. That’s why it seems to be excited receiving “upgraded features” like of inquisition or secret police, as if its leaders (all, or almost all of them being KGB agents during Soviet regime) dreamt of their organization becoming “a part of state’s repressive machine” as Russian political analytic Stanislav Belkovskiy warned years ago.

Today the process has gone even further: a part of Russia’s powerful wing of fundamentalists want to see their empire (and the provinces it is to conquer and re-conquer) becoming a kind of “Orthodox caliphate” with a God-appointed tsar giving them mandate for KGB-style forced evangelization and destruction of heretics.

If not stopped in Ukraine, Russian Orthodox extremism and terrorism will rise and spread, and thirsty for blood it will for sure look for new victims.

img 54b7483a0aba0 Russian Orthodox Extremism

The deep thirst for Orthodox Tsar thrives not only in Russia: An airport in Serbia awaits Putin in 2014 with posters “Tsar the Orthodox”.

PAYPAL :- we value your ongoing support and generous donations that assist the production of this site.

Preview Image

Join us on Facebook in discussion:- Facebook's Profile Photo

Woman kills her children so they’ll “be safe in heaven”
“My kids are in a better place. They don’t have no worries no more.”
“they can go to heaven with God and be better off.”

Indiana Mom Says She Decided to Kill Kids After Amber Alert

She says — in her words — “My kids are in a better place  … They don’t have no worries no more”

Amber Pasztor

An Indiana woman accused of smothering her two children after abducting them says she decided to kill them after hearing that authorities had issued an Amber Alert.

Amber Pasztor told a local TV station in a jail interview Monday that she killed the children so they’d be safe in heaven.


Pasztor says 7-year-old Liliana Hernandez and 6-year-old Rene Pasztor were in good hands in her father’s custody, but she didn’t think they were safe. She says — in her words — “My kids are in a better place. . They don’t have no worries no more.”

The 29-year-old Fort Wayne woman is charged with two counts of murder in the Sept. 26 deaths.

Pasztor also told WANE-TV she shot her neighbor and took his car. She hasn’t been charged with Frank Macomber’s death.


PAYPAL :- we value your ongoing support and generous donations that assist the production of this site.

Preview Image

Join us on Facebook in discussion:- Facebook's Profile Photo

ISLAM: the Christian Heresy


Depiction of Muhammad in hell for the sin of heresy.

“It was the great Catholic world on the frontiers of which he lived, whose influence was all around him and whose territories he had known by travel which inspired his [Mohammed’s] convictions.”

Today the West often views Islam as a civilisation very different from and indeed innately hostile to Christianity. Only when you travel in Christianity’s Eastern homelands do you realise how closely the two are really connected, the former growing directly out of the latter and still, to this day, embodying many aspects and practices of the early Christian world now lost in Christianity’s modern Western-based incarnation. When the early Byzantines were first confronted by the Prophet’s armies, they assumed that Islam was merely an heretical form of Christianity, and in many ways they were not so far wrong: Islam accepts much of the Old and New Testaments and venerates both Jesus and the ancient Jewish prophets.

Significantly, the greatest and most subtle theologian of the early church, St. John Damascene, was convinced that Islam was at root not a separate religion, but instead a form of Christianity. St. John had grown up in the Ummayad Arab court of Damascus, where his father was chancellor, and he was an intimate boyhood friend of the future Caliph al-Yazid; the two boys’ drinking bouts in the streets of Damascus were the subject of much horrified gossip in the streets of the new Islamic capital. Later, in his old age, John took the habit at the desert monastery of Mar Saba where he began work on his great masterpiece, a refutation of heresies entitled the Fount of Knowledge. The book contains an extremely precise and detailed critique of Islam, the first ever written by a Christian, which, intriguingly, John regarded as a form of Christian heresy related to Arianism: after all Arianism, like Islam, denied the divinity of Christ. Although he lived at the very hub of the early Islamic world, it never seems to have occurred to him that Islam might be a separate religion. If a theologian of the stature of John Damascene was able to regard Islam as a new- if heretical- form of Christianity, it helps to explain how Islam was able to convert so much of the Middle Eastern population in so short a time, even though Christianity remained the majority religion until the time of the Crusades.



The longer you spend in the Christian communities of the Middle East, the more you become aware of the extent to which Eastern Christian practice formed the template for what were to become the basic conventions of Islam. The Muslim form of prayer with its bowings and prostrations appears to derive from the older Syrian Orthodox tradition that is still practised in pewless churches across the Levant. The architecture of the earliest minarets, which are square rather than round, unmistakably derive from the church towers of Byzantine Syria. The Sufi Muslim tradition carried on directly from the point that the Christian Desert Fathers left off while Ramadan, at first sight one of the most foreign and alienating of Islamic practices, is in fact nothing more than an Islamicisation of Lent, which in the Eastern Christian churches still involves a gruelling all-day fast.

— Taken from The Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East, by William Dalrymple


As shown by the artwork above, the Middle Ages also viewed Islam has a heresy. In Dante’s Inferno, Canto XXVIII, Muhammad is depicted as “twixt the legs, Dangling his entrails hung, the midriff lay Open to view…” Muhammad suffers the punishment of the schismatics: having his body rent from chin to anus for how he rent the Body of Christ.


PAYPAL :- we value your ongoing support and generous donations that assist the production of this site.

Preview Image

Join us on Facebook in discussion:- Facebook's Profile Photo





%d bloggers like this: