Regarding your editorial “Of Putin and Punks” (Aug. 20): You are right that the two-year sentence for the Russian punk band that blasted Russian President Vladimir Putin is beyond excessive. But did you watch the video the band produced or the raw footage of their stunt (both are on YouTube)? The band commandeered a sacred space without permission and performed blasphemies before the altar, while nuns, worshipers and others looked on in shock. Surely the law should not condone this kind of thing.
Imagine a similar performance by, say, pro-abortion activists before the altar at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, or by pro-Palestinian protesters in a Hasidic synagogue in Borough Park, Brooklyn, or by skinheads at the Islamic Cultural Center on Manhattan’s Third Avenue. The first amendment allows for time, place and manner restrictions precisely to preserve the rights of speech, religion and assembly of others. That Russian Orthodox worshippers desire the same protections in their cathedral and under their laws should not shock anyone.