(Photo: ACLU of Florida)
The Ten Commandments Party, a political party comprised of Christians, Muslims and Jews, held its inaugural congress on Sunday in Moscow, where they called for a restoration of moral values in Russia.
As many as 134 delegates from 45 Russian subjects were present at the congress, which is the decision making body of the party. The organization says that the Ten Commandments are shared by different religions, and the moral guidelines behind them are applicable to nonbelievers as well.
"We need a real moral revolution, or counterrevolution. The moral values should return to political, economic life, to interpersonal relations," said Sergey Mezentsev, Ph.D, the party leader.
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, chairman of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, said at the congress, according to Interfax, "I hope that your activity will help to restore moral values, God's Ten Commandments in the everyday political life, in the life of our society. I hope that you will stay faithful to these God's Commandments, that you'll be able to unite a considerable number of people,"
Ahmad Makarov, head of the Russian Muslim Department for Working with Public Organizations, insisted that Russia is facing a number of modern challenges to its moral system, including the rise of secularism, which this new party will tackle directly.
"Unfortunately, a lot of our citizens consider civil state to be a display of militant secularism, which is unavoidably related to the destruction of the traditional cultures of our country's people. No religion will be able to respond adequately to all these challenges on its own," Makarov noted.
Rabbi Zinovy Kogan, head of the Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Communities in Russia, added that the Ten Commandments Party "should become a platform for religious dialogue so that civil and god-fearing citizens felt confident."
The commandments will serve as the basis for all of the party's activities, and it will be active in putting social and humanistic ideals into practice. They say that their aims are to appoint honest people to government, to develop the institutes of civil society, defend national interests and fight against corruption, among others.
RT noted that the political party is not yet registered, meaning that it is not yet eligible to run in elections. A likely obstacle that they will need to find a way around is Russian law that forbids the creation of political parties based on religious beliefs.
The dominant religion in Russia is the Eastern Orthodox Church, which is a close supporter of President Vladimir Putin, but people of many different faiths and ethnic groups live within the country's borders.