Gabriela Baczynska and Tom Heneghan’s Reuters article explores the awkward position of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, at once a quiet actor for the Russian state while trying to avoid alienating its parishoners in Ukraine.
When Russia sent its troops to Crimea, one of the justifications it used was an alleged threat to parishes there linked to Kirill’s Moscow Patriarchate. Kirill’s full title is “Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus,” a reference to a medieval state in Kiev to which modern Russia traces its roots.
In Ukraine, Kirill oversees the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. It competes against a smaller church of the Kiev Patriarchate that split from Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Winning applause from those Ukrainians who seek Western integration and scorn Moscow’s efforts to undermine it, the Kiev Patriarchate has strongly backed Ukraine’s national cause in the current conflict. Its head, Patriarch Filaret, blamed Putin squarely for the violence and said he was possessed by Satan.
The conflict in Ukraine has put strains on the ties between the ROC and the state in Russia; and Kirill, wary of alienating worshippers in Ukraine by being too closely associated with the Kremlin, has increasingly hedged his bets.
He was conspicuously absent from a March ceremony where Putin sealed the annexation of Crimea, and he has not taken over two dioceses from the Ukrainian church in the peninsula even though they sit on territory now controlled by Russia.
Late last month, Kirill told a meeting with Orthodox media that it was “fundamentally wrong” to view the ROC as a vehicle of Russian state policy. But to many in Ukraine that sounded unconvincing, and controversy over the ROC’s role in the OSCE monitors’ case adds to that scepticism.
Al Jazeera notes the effects of population aging worldwide, observes the quarantining of four individuals possibly exposed to Ebola, comments on the huge costs associated with reconstruction in eastern Ukraine, and reports on a conference held by the Vatican on the plight of Middle Eastern Christians.
Bloomberg View notes the profound uncertainty over Ebola, suggests Shanghai cannot replace Hong Kong as a financial centre yet, looks at skyrocketing real estate prices at the far upper end of the New York City scene, and suggests that Hong Kong’s revolt will sputter out.
CBC notes that Makayla Sault, a First Nations child who refused treatment for her leukemia, is relapsing, notes that global warming is leading Greenlanders to hunt more orcas, observes that the Islamic State has ended the Arab spring, and wonders what China will do with Hong Kong.
IWPR notes the odd optimism of many eastern Ukrainians, looks at the problems of Syrian Armenian refugee schoolchildren in the Armenian school system, and notes controversy over the creation of a Russian satellite university in Armenia.
National Geographicnotes the new phenomenon of sanctuaries for former pet pigs, and suggests that threats to an Ottoman tomb could bring Turkey into Syria.
Open Democracy notes the plight of Syrian Kurds, suggests that secularism is an alternative to oppressive religious identities, and criticizes European Union migration policy.
Wiredlooks at Europe’s history of trying animals for crimes and examines Andy Warhol’s sketching of Blondie’s Debbie Harry on an Amiga.
Al Jazeera notes the rivalry between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, observes claims of persecution by evangelical Christians of followers of traditional African religions in Brazil, notes that separatism is unpopular in Scotland’s border regions, considers the problems of a beetle theme park in the penumbra of Japan’s Fukushima, looks at a Palestinian-American model, and considers rap music in Iran.
The Atlanticnotes how events have vindicated the American Congress’ Barbara Lee, the only person not to vote in favour of granting unlimited war-making powers to the American presiden after 9/11, looks at the existential problems of Yiddish outside of ultra-Orthodox communities, and examines Stephen King’s thinking on how to teach writing.
Bloomberg notes the water problems of Detroit, looks at proposals to give Scotland home rule and Euroskepticism among the English, considers claims that Scotland might need huge reserves to back up its currency, notes ways sanctions threaten oil deals with Russian companies, examines Poland’s natural gas issues and those of the rest of central and southeastern Europe, notes Ukraine’s exclusion of Russian companies from a 3G cellular auction, notes the reluctance of Scottish banks to support an independent Scotland, and observes how domestic protectionism in Argentina is boosting Uruguay’s beef exports to Europe.
The Bloomberg View argues that it should be possible to cleanly break up even established nation-states, is critical of what Colombia is doing to Venezuelan refugees, argues that the achievements of social insects like acts are irrelevant to more complex beings like us, and suggests Britain has no place to criticize China over Hong Kong.
CBC notes the strength of Inuit oral history following the discovery of one of the Franklin Expedition’s ships, notes that the type of cancer that killed Terry Fox is now highly curable, and notes NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s proposal of a $15 an hour federal minimum wage.
The Inter Press Service notes Uzbekistan’s fear of Russia motivating a look for eastern allies and suggests that an anti-discrimination law can worsen the plight of sexual minorities in Georgia.
MacLean’snotes that Mexican economic development is good for Canada, looks at Catalonian secessionism, and suggests that a new EI tax credit won’t help Canadian business boost employment.
Open Democracy looked at the likely outcome of Crimean elections under Russian rule.
The Toronto Starrevisited the unsettled state of affairs in the Central African Republic.
I linked to Ben Piven’s Al Jazeera America article about the issues of American evangelical Christianity in last night’s roundup, but it’s sufficiently interesting to me that I wanted to give this article a particular link. Whereto American evangelical Christianity in a changing America?
“I have been given the task of sharing the gospel,” said Brandon McCauley, an 18-year-old who just finished his senior year at Lebanon High School in Ohio, where he ran a lunchtime Bible study program. “I am offering you the opportunity to experience Jesus Christ,” McCauley exhorted fellow students, as he debated whether to pursue the ministry instead of higher education.
“I like being different,” said McCauley, explaining his motivation to tell classmates that they will end up in hell if they aren’t saved. “If you sin, you deserve death,” McCauley yelled, before getting choked up and concluding, “I’m the reason that He had to die … I am accepting that You died on the cross for me.”
American adults under 30 increasingly identify with no religion whatsoever, but some teenagers on the edge of this demographic are enthusiastically embracing faith. As the fraction of unaffiliated, agnostic, and atheist surpasses one-third of young people, proselytizing denominations are trying to win over the so-called “nones.”
[. . .]
If economic development leads to secularization, then stagnant growth and chronic unemployment in certain parts of the country would seem to drive religious resurgence. But at the same time, the ranks of the unaffiliated have grown even among the non-college-educated. This suggests the trend is not just spurred on by the skeptical collegiate atmosphere. Many Americans born after 1980 appear not to be seeking new answers, leading to decreased or flatlining interest in evangelical branches such as the Southern Baptist Convention.
“With respect to evangelical Protestants in particular, their share of the population is holding steady,” said Greg Smith, associate director of research at the Pew Forum for Religion and Public Life. He said the conservative group’s numbers are “pretty stable … 28 percent of adults describe themselves as ‘evangelical’.”
Smith attributed the declining white evangelical Protestant share of the U.S. population to a larger racial and ethnic shift. While just one-fifth of millennial adults identify as evangelical, the Hispanic population is increasingly moving from Catholicism towards evangelical churches.
Al Jazeera notes controversy over a proposed women-only beach in Turkey, suggests that Iraqi Sunnis are ready to fight against the Islamic State while observing Germany’s arming of the Kurds, notes the decision of France to halt its delivery of warships to Russia, warns of general concern in the Netherlands about Islamic State activism, notes the existential issues of a relatively declining American evangelical Christianity, and notes African immigration to Brazil.
Bloomberg suggests Russia wants to prevent Ukraine from integrating with the West, notes the strengthening of European Union sanctions against Russia, observes that Berlin has outstripped Rome as a tourist destination, examines Filipino insecurity vis-a-vis China, and looks at the booming Tokyo property market.
Bloomberg View, meanwhile argues that there is a job shortage not a “stagnation vacation” in developed countries, warns that right now closer links with NATO would harm Ukraine, and favours the strengthening of the European Union’s eastern perimeter.
MacLean’snotes NATO’s reorientation away from Afghanistan towards containing Russia.
Crooked Timber’s Daniel Davies writes about the end of his career as a financial analyst.
The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper discussing the brown dwarfs of 25 Orionis.
The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that Uranus’ moon system is still evolving, with the moon Cupid being doomed in a relatively short timescale. It also wonders if North Korea is exporting rare earths through China.
Far Outliers notes the Ainu legacy in placenames in Japanese-settled Hokkaido.
Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig examines the complexities surrounding language and dialect and nationality in the Serbo-Croatian speech community in the former Yugoslavia.
Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the terribly high death rate among Europeans in colonial Indonesia, and how drink was used to put things off.
The Russian Demographics Blog examines the prevalence of sex-selective abortion in Armenia.
Torontoist notes Rob Ford’s many lies and/or incomprehensions about Toronto’s fiscal realities.
Towleroad suggests that one way to regularize HIV testing would be to integrate it with dentistry appointments.
Window on Eurasia notes a water dispute on the Russian-Azerbaijan border and argues that the election of a pro-Russian cleric to the head of the Ukrainian section of the Russian Orthodox Church is dooming that church to decline.