by Max Brantley
I'm late to this party, but nonethless:
The U.S. should boycott the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Russia’s minister of sports, Vitaly L. Mutko, said on Thursday that foreign athletes traveling to Russia for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi would be expected to obey a new Russian law banning “homosexual propaganda” or face criminal prosecution.
The Eschatonblog wrote about this in sharp fashion:
According to ABC in Russiait is now illegal to even speak about homosexuality around minors, much less openly display gay pride. Technically the ban is against "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" around minors, but the implication for openly gay individuals is clear. Public displays of affection by gays, including holding hands or displaying symbols like a rainbow flag, are now banned. Violators face steep fines and jail time; foreigners face similar penalties plus deportation.
The International Olympic Committee cannot guarantee the safety from state persecution of any athletes or spectators — gay, or even just perceived as gay.
Would there be any question whatsoever of the United States of America participating in an Olympic Games hosted by a country that refused to guarantee the safety of Christian athletes or spectators, or that had passed laws against Christians similar to those Russia has imposed against homosexuals?
Then there's the matter of asylum granted Edward Snowden.
I was in Sochi last summer. Lovely scenery. We weren't allowed to get out of sight of our accredited Russian minder, however. A highlight of the trip was a visit Stalin's summer dacha outside the city. Oppressive times haven't changed much, though, as far as we know, mass annihilation isn't yet the norm.