The Course of Reason

Music Monday: Pussy Riot - “Punk Prayer”

August 13, 2012

I’ll admit that my passion for free expression is derived from my admiration for artists that are willing to say, sing, and write unpopular things. As I have mentioned before, I found/find solace in listening to artists express doubts about religion and god. Similarly, I have also come to appreciate the willingness of artists to say politically unpopular things, as well, because it is imperative to a just, fair, and open society. Importantly, it should be emphasized that freedom of expression doesn’t stop at the instance expression; freedom must prevail after expression. This isn’t the case for Pussy Riot, the punk rock/activist collective from Russia, who are currently being held as political prisoners according to Amnesty International. Today’s Music Monday is a nod to them and their song “Punk Prayer.”

For those of you who want to learn more about the controversy surrounding Pussy Riot, I will direct you to an awesome post Debbie Goddard wrote for Skepchick.

So what did Pussy Riot do that has landed three of their members in custody? They protested in the Christ Savior Cathedral in the most punk rock display I have ever seen! The result—other than being arrested—is today’s Music Monday song.  

To preemptively address any objections such as, “Well, they were disrupting a religious ceremony or otherwise preventing people from practicing their personal religion. They should be reprimanded for that.” My answer is simply, “Sure.” I would agree to an extent. However, there are two things that I think should be brought to light. First, I am not sure that three years in prison—the punishment could have been seven years—is a just punishment for their protest or remotely proportional to their crime. Second, it was a political protest, not only against Putin, but also against the political meddling of the Russian Orthodox Church. This is civil disobedience and punk rock at its best. Again, see Debbie’s post for a more in depth review of the situation.  

As always, if you get a chance, send your suggestions for future Music Mondays to me at, leave a comment below, or @tweet us at @CFIOnCampus. Your suggestions, along with future and past songs, may end up in the official Course of Reason Music Monday Grooveshark playlist or Spofity playlist that anyone can listen to.    



About the Author: Cody Hashman

Cody Hashman's photo
Cody Hashman is a Campus and Community Organizer at the Center for Inquiry. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, with a degree in Psychology, where he was the co-founder and president of the UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers.




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