Russian Orthodox Church wants a ban on sex shops


Eastern Europe


Metropolitan Hilarion. Photo AFP, Vasily Maximov

Sex shops are ”legalized debauchery” and should be banned altogether. Russian Metropolitan Hilarion said so on Russian TV in response to a question from a viewer.

“I would think that such stores should be banned altogether,” the Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) said on the air of the Church and the World program on the Rossiya-24 TV channel. The Synodal Department for External Church Relations head answered a viewer concerned that these shops attract children.

“The position of the Church on all these issues is very clear and very unambiguous. We oppose sexual promiscuity, we oppose debauchery in all its forms, and such so-called ‘adult shops’ are nothing more than legalized debauchery,” the church leader said.

The bishop noted that the Church cannot dictate to the authorities what to allow and what to prohibit; it cannot demand the closure of such establishments or at least regulate the signs on them.

Nevertheless, according to its representative, the Church can address its parishioners directly and tell them what is permissible and what is not. “We can tell our children that visiting such stores is unacceptable, but unfortunately, we cannot force the state authorities to close such stores or regulate the signs that are on them or the advertising that is on them,” Hilarion said.

Sexual consent

In the same TV programme, Hilarion said that the ROC called for the establishment of the so-called age of sexual consent in Russia while recalling that the Church does not bless sex before marriage. “It would be useful to legally define the age of consent – at least to be able to separate those cases of sexual contact that are voluntary on both sides and those in which violence was used. The fact is that the line between such cases is very often quite subtle, and lawyers and not always the court are not always able to understand this fully,” the Metropolitan said.

He added that it is not by chance that the Church considers sexual contact permissible only within the framework of the marriage union because those sexual contacts that occur outside these limits or before marriage are fraught with many dangers. “Including the fact that a much older person will molest a much younger person. All options are possible here: a teacher with a student, a coach with a young athlete, and so on. And to prevent cases of violence, such a legislative norm would be quite useful,” the metropolitan explained.

The age of consent for sexual activity in Europe ranges from 14 to 18 years.



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