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Sunday, June 22, 2014

On the Politics of Religion: A Ukrainian Priest Calls the E.U. an "Empire of Evil"

In Lviv, Ukraine, Rev. Addriy, a priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church rather than the Ukrainian affiliate of the Russian Orthodox Church, said after a Mass in June 2014 that the European Union is an “empire of evil” defying the Word of God and spreading sins including homosexuality and pedophilia. The priest went on to characterize the Ukrainians who toppled President Viktor Yanukovych as “Godless deviants” and “fools . . . in the pay of hostile foreign powers.”[1] Being in the western part of the state, the eastern-looking priest was not exactly “preaching to the choir”—meaning he must have known that his message would not be well-received by his congregation. This disjunction illustrates a distinctly religious problem that can arise when clerics fly too far afield from the religious domain onto those of politics, economics, or even social problems.