Drag queen winner of Eurovision contest condemned by Russian Orthodox Church

Video courtesy of ПЕРЕКРЕСТОК ТВ via YouTube

MOSCOW (RNS) A spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church strongly denounced the Eurovision Song Contest’s selection of a drag queen as its winner, saying it was a sign of the world’s moral decline and part of an effort to “reinforce new cultural norms.”

Conchita Wurst, the stage name of a former band singer from Austria named Tom Neuwirth, won the 59th installment of the competition, held this year in Copenhagen, with a song titled “Rise Like a Phoenix,” which she performed early Sunday (May 11) as a bearded woman in a form-fitting gold dress.

The Eurovision contest draws well over 100 million viewers annually, and the contest has become a point of national pride in Russia, which began competing in the 1990s.

“The process of the legalization of that to which the Bible refers to as nothing less than an abomination is already long not news in the contemporary world,” Vladimir Legoyda, chairman of the church’s information department, told the Interfax news agency. “Unfortunately, the legal and cultural spheres are moving in a parallel direction, to which the results of this competition bear witness.”

Legoyda said the result of the competition was “yet one more step in the rejection of the Christian identity of European culture.”

On Monday (May 12), Vitaly Milonov, a municipal legislator in St. Petersburg known for his anti-gay activism, appealed to Russia’s culture ministry to ban any future performances in Russia by Wurst.

Other Russian commentators pointed out that Russia’s pop-music scene is known for flamboyant performers who bend gender lines.

Both the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate have been positioning Russia as a moral bastion in contrast to Europe and the United States.

The Moscow Patriarchate has condemned the legalization of same-sex marriage in European countries and defended anti-gay legislation in Russia, saying it is meant to protect minors.

Last June, speaking at a monastery atop Mount Athos in Greece, Patriarch Kirill I, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, warned that moral relativity is “that ground on which only the Antichrist can come” and singled out sexual morality as a sign of relativism.

“We see what is happening today,” he said. “Same-sex marriages, euthanasia, abortion — that which was always regarded as evil from the point of view of divine truth is no longer considered evil.”

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Russian church’s Department of External Church Relations, said at a conference in Moscow in December that the West was destroying marriage as “the God-created union of man and woman” and warned that countries that are drawn into Europe’s orbit would be forced to accept alien values, in a clear reference to Ukraine.

In April, a controversial group of Russian Orthodox youth activists raided the screening of a documentary film about LGBT teenagers, who are often driven to suicide by their sense of isolation in Russia.



About the author

Sophia Kishkovsky


Click here to post a comment

  • It is not enough for the religious to be happy in their Christian faith – which is supposed to bring such a ‘personal relationship’ full of peace and love.
    No – it is somehow never enough.

    They have to force everybody else to do it, too.

    The Fascists want everybody to be the same; just like them. Or else!

    Know your enemy. It is religion.

  • Atheist, well you are consistent. And often correct. Fascism was started in Italy by cluster of catholics. The orthodox seem to know how to do it too.

  • Gee, and here I’d had no idea the dealings of a drag-queen from Austria was any business of the Russian Orthodox Church. I must have missed … well, whatever it was that gave them the idea that they were supposed to have any control over Wurst. Oh well, what could this cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen possibly know about such staggeringly important sacred matters?

  • Let’s face it, Max. Photographs don’t lie. It’s possible to go too far, period.

    Kudos to the Russian Orthodox Church for taking a clear stand for both Scripture and Common Sense. Now that’s a real church.

    P.S. I edited out what I really wanted to say about this joker. You and Larry had better congratulate me on my Christian civility, right this minute!

  • Jimmy Webb wrote this for Glenn Campbell way back…oops, wrong Phoenix! I always associate a slow D-minor with the Moody Blues’ “Knights in White Satin”…

    At first I thought he looked like Kenny Loggins or Rocky Horror, but then I realized he looks exactly like Jimmy Carl Black on the cover of Frank Zappa’s “We’re Only In It For the Money,” a famous 1967 LP parody of the Beatles’ “Sargent Pepper.”

    I can recommend a good synoptic history of the church in Russia through beginning of WWII: Miliukov, Paul. Outlines of Russian Culture: I. Religion and the Church. New York: A.S.Barnes & Co, Inc., 1960 (Orig. pub. U. Penn, 1942). The book shows that, even though the Russian church was an ineffectual, royal-centric state religion through the end of the czars, the church resurrected itself like a phoenix (i.e. the leadership stepped up) to resist the extensive atheist/communist institutional repression brought to bear by Lenin & Stalin in the 1920s and 30s. But the traditional rural peasant’s faith changed little, regardless of regime.

    I’m curious to hear some of the other aspirants…do they all sing in English?
    This dreamboat could probably do a great rendering of “Macarthur Park”–OMG!

  • As for me, “Judge not”
    works much better as an Atheist motto.

    This singer’s music and outfit does not appeal to me – but I do not judge him. I base my acceptance of him on the Golden Rule – behaving toward him as I would have them do to me or my family. As long as he hurts nobody, my acceptance of him is purely in my own self-interest.

    However, As a Christian you have no choice but to judge harshly:
    “if you deem the house unworthy, remove your blessings of Peace.” – Jesus (Matthew 10:13)

    So even though I agree with you that you are being diplomatic – which I will congratulate you for, I am aware that your religion requires a harsher response from you than my non-belief requires from me.

  • That is a very moral position to take. I’m impressed.
    But I’m not sure how you manage to be moral if also atheistic.
    Without God morality is not possible. You must not actually be atheist.

  • I really don’t think that Jesus intended to found a faith of uptight and highly hypocritical jerks. I’m sorry that so many of my fellow Christians are so unbelievably un-Christlike.

  • Re: “But I’m not sure how you manage to be moral if also atheistic.
    Without God morality is not possible.”

    Oh, is that why the proportion of atheists in American prisons is much lower than the proportion of the total population who are atheists? Just wondering.

  • You’re right that he would condemn these guys, because he clearly and explicitly ordered his followers never to be hypocritical … ever, not for any reason and not at any time.

    Still, one wonders why, historically, Christians have made careers out of being hypocrites? Is it because they’ve read Jesus’ words and just don’t think they need to follow them? Or is it because they know what their Jesus told them, they’ve just decided that, because they’re doing “his work,” they’re entitled to cross that boundary whenever they wish?

    At any rate, one wonders when all the more reasonable Christians out there, who know this behavior to be un-Christ-like, will finally … after many centuries of doing absolutely nothing about it … going to get up and start forcing their co-religionists to stop disobeying Jesus’ clear instructions?

  • @Sam,

    It is amazing how many moral decisions can stem from simply following the Golden Rule: “Do unto others what you would like done unto you” or some variation of that.

    PsiCop is right – Atheists are rarely in prison.
    Many atheists just do what comes naturally (The Golden Rule) and it has no hypocrisies or cruelties. Atheists are usually awesome people.

  • @PsiCop,

    The trouble with the “Christ” is that he was wildly contradictory..or if you’d rather, hypocritical. To ‘follow Christ’ is to engage in a life of hypocrisy on a mind-blowing scale:


    “Pray in public”
    “Pray only in private”

    “You must Honor your parents”
    “You must Hate your parents”

    “He who witnesses to himself cannot be true”
    “I witness to myself”

    “Love your enemies”
    “Kill my enemies”

    “Judge not that you be not judged”
    “judge them unworthy, remove your blessings of peace”

    “I am NOT the Lord”
    “I am the Lord”

    “I do NOT come to bring peace but division”
    “My Peace I leave you”

    This is maddening nonsense.

  • The Russian Orthodox Church made religious based mob violence into a fine art form for about 2 centuries in Russia. The originators of the “pogrom”. A good portion of my family came to America fleeing Russia because of those guys.

    The pogroms were one of many reasons why the October Revolution of 1917 had so much hatred for the Orthodox Church. Another was its tacit support of the monarchy at the expense of the people. The Communist crackdown on the churches in Russia had less to do with an atheist ideology and more to do with settling scores with a vilified institution.

  • Doc is saying kudos to the Orthodox Church for finding a new way to catch up on all the pogroms that they missed since 1917.

  • You’re right about Jesus being contradictory, but at the risk of being pedantic, I’d like to check one of your observations:

    “‘Pray in public’ / ‘Pray only in private'”

    I’m not sure there’s any place in the gospels where Jesus explicitly told his followers to pray in public. At least, if there is, I can’t recall it.

  • @PsiCop

    Thanks for the question.
    If you agree that prayer and worship are interchangeable:

    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. (Matthew 6:5-15)

    “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

    “But when thou doest alms…That thine alms be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:3)

    When I was a Christian all of these positions seemed valid – but as an Atheist they stand out as ridiculously contradictory.
    As Jesus would not want you to preen your faith publicly on the one hand, but on the other sets up a scenario for public show of faith which would promote exactly that kind of prideful nonsense.

  • @PsiCop,

    “let your light shine before others…” (Matthew 5:16)

    This would be the operative phrase
    which says (to me), “Don’t hide your worship of God – let others see it openly.”

    This does not look like a discouragement of public prayer, but an endorsement for it.

  • No, nobody says I have to stand in judgment on this joker. Is he going to Heaven? Is he going to Hell? Not my job to pronounce final judgment on him.

    Goodness, I don’t even have to “remove my blessings of peace”, as you say. I can keep on praying for God’s blessings for that guy, since that’s what I would want him to do for me. (You can go ahead and quote the Golden Rule now, Max).

    But “as a Christian” (as you put it), is it appropriate for me to openly agree with the Bible about God’s design, intentions, and boundaries regarding male and female sex/gender as specifically stated in Scripture?

    And if God’s will for humanity and sex/gender, is being openly mocked and spat upon by some joker in a dress and a beard, is it appropriate for me (“as a Christian”) to at least agree with Jesus Christ and “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24)? You tell me.

    And it is okay for me to at least agree with the Russian Orthodox Church’s choice to do exactly that Scripture in this situation? Hmm?

    Anyway, like I said Max, photographs don’t lie. If you’re going to sell homosexuality and gay marriage to the masses, THAT’S THE WRONG SALESMAN BABY!!

    Yup. Absolutely.

  • Just to be thorough:

    “I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (1 Timothy 2:8 KJV)

    Public prayer is directly encouraged by Paul.
    If the entirety of the Bible is the WORD of God, it is a Word of chaos and confusion.

  • @Doc,

    I don’t think it is wrong for you to follow your religion as long as you are grappling with it and honestly questioning its contradictions when you spot them.

    All the world is a stage and girls with beards is just another act. Harmless. Some people have a stiff scotch to get high, others prefer music, others the theatre. This ‘joker’ as you say, is a benign explorer and it is surreal.
    Not my cup of tea, but it is terrible that a giant and powerful institution like the Russian Orthodox Church is going to single him out. He’s just a kid and such vilification could get him killed over nothing. He has harmed nobody.

  • The Golden Rule
    predates Jesus by thousands of years.
    Jesus only plagiarized it from previous versions.
    The version Jesus recommended is not as good as the others.

    560 BCE, From the Udanavarga 5:18 –
    “Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.”

    3200 BCE, From the Hitopadesa
    “One should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated.”

    600 BCE, From the Shast-na-shayast 13:29
    “Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others.”

    557 BC, From the Analects of Confucius (15:23)
    “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”

    1300 BC, from the Old Testament, Leviticus 19:18
    “Thou shalt Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
    (Which is worse than the Confucian version because it is only as good as how one loves oneself)

    30 AD, From the King James Version , 7:12
    “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.”
    (Which is worse than the Judaic version)

  • It is important to understand that no gods or supernatural beliefs
    are required to follow the Golden Rule.

    Most Atheists follow it as it is a naturally evident morality,
    socially required for the majority to live happily together.

  • Dear Max, Thanks for bringing up these verses! Here is how they make sense!

    Mt 6:6 is out of context. This is the context: ‘When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Amen, I tell you: they have [already] received their reward! But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. Then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.’ ‘Do not be like the hypocrites’ (meaning ‘the Pharisees’) is instruction to avoid a situation as a whole: LOVING to pray there but not in secret, praying to show off, in order to be seen, i.e. if that is the REASON you pray there, BEING SEEN is your reward. But if we had to give up praying non-hypocritically in public because the hypocrites happened to also be doing their praying in public, why shouldn’t we believe we have to give up standing in the street at all as well? Here are some examples of other things Pharisees did which are probably more easily understood to be things Christians are supposed to still do: study the Scriptures, fast (Mt 9:14,15), & tithe (Mt 23:23). The Pharisees did not have any problem with doing wrong acts: their whole lives were about avoiding wrong acts! Their problem was hard-heartedness & resulting neglect of greater acts. So, if you pray in private, you get rewarded by God because you are humble & not a show-off. But praying in public, as long as one’s intentions are good, is still holy.

    ‘Honor your father and mother’ is there so there will not be chaos, rebellion everywhere. There are lots of other verses about submitting to authority, but God, being the ultimate authority, must not be disobeyed. So if to obey a lesser authority would be to disobey the ultimate authority, one must disobey the lesser authority, ONLY in that point, & continue to submit in every other regard. Civil parallel: If obeying the sheriff in a certain point is disobeying the federal law, obviously you are not to obey the sheriff in that one point, so you risk going to county jail but not federal prison, but you are not to rise up & begin a rebellion either, because of course you will probably be killed. Therefore, there is the verse you refer to next, Lk 14:26, which has a bad translation. (Please don’t blame the Orthodox Christians for it: we didn’t translate that version!) One of our translations is a little better: ‘Anyone who comes to me and does not disregard his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, cannot be my disciple.’ (Lk 14:26) But to find out the meaning most clearly, look at the Greek word: not ‘hate’, but ‘misei’, which has this meaning in this context: ‘to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another’ (HELPS Word-studies). So the total meaning is really: honor your father & mother, honor God even higher, & if you are ever forced to choose, continue to honor God.

    The meaning of what I think is the next set of verses you mean, ‘If I bear witness about myself, my testimony is not valid,’ (Jn 5:31) & ‘Jesus answered them, “Even if I bear witness to myself, my testimony is true, because I know where I came from and where I am going. But you do not know where I came from or where I am going.’ (Jn 8:14) is explained here: . Basically, it is that He was speaking to the Pharisees & proving them to be hypocrites, because even according to their rules against bearing witness about oneself He was right & they were wrong. He was speaking AS IF what they believed were true, humoring them & still proving them wrong.

    The next set of verses is (of course) Mt 5:44, ‘But I tell you: love your enemies…’ & (I think) Lk 19:27, ‘As for those enemies of mine who did not want me to reign over them here, bring them here and kill them before me.’ The first because even despicable people love their friends but Jesus loved those who condemned Him to death (e.g. He directed the Apostles to preach forgiveness to the Jews before preaching to anyone else), & so Christians are called to have the same sort of love. The second is a bit difficult, but first of all, it is a parable, so Jesus is telling a story & speaking as a character. However the character is a symbol of Him. Then, are His enemies necessarily ours? Are they human? Are they even conscious entities? There are at least 2 ways to understand it: 1. what it means to those Jews & other people who actively oppose Jesus. 2. what it means to Christians. 1. John Calvin says, ‘he appears to glance principally at the Jews, but includes all who in the absence of their master, determine to revolt. Now Christ’s intention was, not only to terrify such persons by threatening an awful punishment, but also to keep his own people in faithful subjection; for it was no small temptation to see the kingdom of God scattered by the treachery and rebellion of many. In order then that we may preserve our composure in the midst of troubles, Christ informs us that he will return, and that at his coming he will punish wicked rebellion.’ So it can be understood to be something to shock & terrify those who oppose Jesus, but that doesn’t mean anyone in particular will do the killing.’ Even accidental killing is sinful & defiling, so it definitely will not be the Christians doing it. 2. Since the real enemies of the Christians are demons & passions, Christians are to fight spiritual enemies & crush all passionate feelings within. Certainly it could be demons who are to be killed.

    The verse about unworthiness, Mt 10:13, doesn’t command judgement, it says in Greek ‘ean men e’, ‘if indeed be’, meaning if it surely is in actuality. Anyway, a look at the dictionary shows there is more than one meaning of ‘judge’. You can obviously judge for yourself whether someTHING is right or wrong, good or bad, but Christians are to ‘judge not’ whether someONE will go to heaven or hell, because that’s Jesus’ job & it would be supremely presumptuous for us Christians to even try. Here is an amazing example: . (N.B. A battalion of angels collecting someone’s soul means the person is certainly going to heaven, probably with great honor, too. Prostrations are acts of bowing down pretty much the same way the Muslims do. The Panagia, All-Holy, is the Virgin Mary.)

  • Christians will be the least of your problems in 30 years from now. Europes liberal societies will be radically transformed by the rapid growth of its Muslim migrants with their multiple wives and children. Every fourth person in the world today is Muslim. 1989 and 1998, Europe’s Muslim population grew by more than 100 percent. It is reported that there are some 56.9 million Muslims living in Europe today, with 7 million in France, and the rest dispersed over Europe as a whole, especially in the Balkans. This figure represents more than 2% of the total population of Europe. Today we see Sharia patrols in London streets, whole city blocks in Paris blocked off for outdoor Muslim prayers (same in London), gays being beaten up in the streets of Amsterdam, once Europes most liberal city, and the murder of a Dutch MP and a Dutch film maker by Islamist fanatics. Belgium now has elected Muslim officials that want to impose Sharia law in the whole country, and 40% of all elementary school children in the country are Muslim. Marseille in France is now the most dangerous city in Europe – with a Muslim population of 40%, followed by Brussels with a Muslim population of 25.5%. In 30 years from now there will be very little in the way of gay pride parades, or ridiculous caricatures like “Conchita Wurst”, strutting around in his ridiculous get up.

    Read; “When Europe Slept,” by gay author Bruce Bawer.

  • Old Testament law was given to the Hebrews only, and was nailed to the Cross with Christ. “Christianity” did not at any time follow dietary, judicial, or clothing requirements of the Mosaic laws.

  • Yep, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Chairman Mao and other “great” communist and atheist leaders brought, peace, harmony, and brotherly love to the world didn’t they?