A 7 year old boy in Russia was taunted and beaten by classmates because he refused to participate in an Orthodox service that is part of opening the school year. Prosecutors have determined the elementary school violated the rights of David Perov. The boy’s father is pastor of the local Community of Christ Church. Although Russia’s Constitution envisions separation of church and state, the Orthodox Church has made serious inroads into imposing its presence in schools. David’s troubles began when a local Orthodox priest arrived to conduct services. He was not familiar with the religious activities and said, “I did not want to kiss the cross” which led several boys to hit him. “The teacher saw that they were beating me but said nothing.” When his mother came to pick him up he was hiding in the bathroom and she asked the teacher what had happened and was told nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. Later, a similar response was obtained from the priest. A spokesperson for the Orthodox Church said they had checked with the school and teacher and found no evidence any violence had been inflicted on David. It’s only the boy’s father who says his son was beaten.” The Russian parliament is discussing ways to cease Orthodox services in schools
Many religious leaders in Russia are still reacting to the anti-religious teachings in Soviet Communist schools. Those days are over and there is no longer any need to be defensive. Most Russians are members of the Orthodox Church and have opportunities in their daily lives to pray. Pray outside of schools.