Does God belong in the consitution?
In Russia, proposals for constitutional amendments initiated by Putin are currently under discussion. Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has requested that a reference to God be included in the preamble, even saying he is praying for this. The Kremlin has referred the matter to the working group charged with drafting the constitutional reform. The media's response to this proposal is rather negative.
Don't sow discord
The constitution is the wrong place for religion, argues Yuri Kanner, President of the Jewish Congress in Russia:
“The concept of God is, in my opinion, too abstract to be used in a legal document, especially one as universal as a constitution. A constitution should contain only terms that are understood in the same way by the majority of the population. That doesn't work with God. For the patriarch, the term God means one thing, for the mufti another, for the rabbi it's something else and for the Buddhists, atheists and agnostics it has a fourth, fifth and sixth meaning. Yet they are all Russian citizens. And the constitution is for them all. ... In such an important and deeply secular document one should avoid giving cause for differences of opinion, especially on ideological issues - rather than looking for them.”
Divine distraction from key questions
The debate comes at a very opportune time for the Kremlin, Radio Kommersant FM believes:
“This action diverts attention from the central issue of the current president's power and political future. Against the background of such vast discussions about eternal matters, people lose sight of the real, decisive changes, which are then slipped past them quietly and without a fuss. ... Whether [Putin] heads the State Council or the Security Council is ultimately a technical question as far as the common good is concerned. As far as creation and the divine are concerned, these questions can be discussed for a long time to come. Eternity is in no hurry.”