By Victor Davidoff
In a courtroom in Stavropol, Viktor Krasnov, a physician’s assistant, is accused of the same crime as Giordano Bruno, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Salman Rushdie — atheism. Krasnov probably isn’t thrilled to be in such illustrious company, just as no one else is thrilled by this felony case. Hopping into a time machine is a great fantasy, but not when it takes you to the dungeons of the Inquisition.
Krasnov is facing one year in prison under Article 148 of the Criminal Code — for “public actions that express clear lack of respect for society and are carried out with the aim of insulting the religious feelings of believers.” His “actions” consisted of a verbal quarrel on the Stravropol page of the social network VKontakte in the fall of 2014.
It all began, as so much begins, with a conversation about women — specifically with a quote from the Apostle Paul: “Christ is the head of every man, and a husband the head of his wife, and God the head of Christ.”
“Where’s that crap from, the Domostroi?” Krasnov wrote, referring to a medieval Russian book of rules for family life, which recommend, in part, that a husband periodically beat his wife.
Not just one but two people on the forum explained to Krasnov that this was from the Bible. Krasnov got annoyed and called the Bible “a collection of Jewish fairy tales” — although to be fair, he did add, “for me, anyway.” Then one of his opponents threatened to knock some sense into him, to which Krasnov replied, “There is no God!
Apparently deciding to not bother with theological proof of God’s existence, Krasnov’s opponents turned to the help of the police, prosecutor’s office and court instead. They denounced him.