Pussy_Riot_Gt 

by Gwynn Guilford

Today a Russian court found three members of Pussy Riot – Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 – guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred." The three women were given two-year jail sentences backdated to their March 15 arrest. Theologian William D. Lindsey reflects on Pussy Riot's confrontation of Russia's religious and political elites:

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova' defense of the theatrical prayer to the Virgin Mary that Pussy Riot offered in February very specifically calls out the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church, who are, she maintains, collaborating with the Russian state to wipe out civil liberties and to establish authoritarian control of the Russian people by a church-state alliance.  The nation's top religious leaders are benefiting lavishly from the deals they have cut with the state, she argues.

He points to the ironic trampling on religious freedom:

And so [Tolokonnikova] frames their protest in the Moscow cathedral in February as a protest against a collapse of church and state in which notions of Christian truth and Christian propriety are dictated from the top echelons of the church and enforced–ruthlessly, if need be–by the state when ordinary believers like the three members of Pussy Riot dare to offer prayers in language or gestures that offend the sensibilities of those at the top. 

Dashiell Bennett rounds up the latest in the show global support. Earlier coverage here and here.

(Photo: Supporters of all-girl punk band 'Pussy Riot' protest in Brussels on August 17, 2012. A Moscow court on Friday found guilty three young members of a feminist punk band who captured global attention by defying the Russian authorities and ridiculing President Vladimir Putin in a church. Pro-Pussy Riot release rallies have stretched from Sydney to New York as a growing list of celebrities joined ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and pop icon Madonna in a campaign directed against Putin's crackdown on most dissent.  By Nicolas Maeterlinck/AFP/Getty Images)