MOSCOW, June 11 (Itar-Tass) - The law on the protection of religious feelings passed by the State Duma envisages heavier responsibility for insulting religious feelings and considers the rights of people with various convictions and views. It will be conducive to civil peace and will help prevent inter-religious conflicts, archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for Relations of the Church and Society of the Russian Orthodox Church, told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
“The law is the outcome of prolonged debates in which I and other representatives of the Church participated at every stage from the very start. The opinion of people with various religious creeds and of unbelievers was taken into consideration,” he said.
The clergyman expressed the hope that the law will help avoid situations when worldview symbols, religious and secular, are debased.
“Insults to religious feelings and debasement of significant worldview symbols were punished by law earlier, but the punishment was no more than token. Now the law envisages heavier punishment and one would like to hope that no such actions will take place in our country any more,” Father Vsevolod said.
The law the State Duma passed on Tuesday in the third, final reading envisages criminal responsibility for insulting religious feelings with punishment by up to three years of the deprivation of freedom.
The federal law goes into operation as of July 1, 2013.