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Pussy Riot nominated for Martin Luther Prize

The German town of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses, nominated Pussy Riot for their 'Fearless Word' prize.

Pussy riot 10 01 2012Enlarge
Members of the all-girl punk protest band 'Pussy Riot' (L-R) Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, sit in a glass-walled cage in Moscow, on Oct. 1, 2012. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)

On Oct. 31, 1517, the eve of All Saint's Day, the German monk Martin Luther posted on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg his now famous Ninety-Five Theses.

That day instigated the Protestant Reformation, a rebellion against the ecclesiastical order of the Catholic Church. Now Wittenberg is once again the site of controversy.

"Politicians in Lutherstadt Wittenberg have recommended Pussy Riot for the national 'Fearless Word' prize in honor of Luther" worth 10,000 euros, according to Reuters. But It's a nomination some don't condone.

"It would be a disastrous signal if our town's nomination of Pussy Riot were to win the Luther Prize," local Protestant theologian and civil rights activist Friedrich Schorlemmer told the Leipziger Volkszeitung daily.

"A Luther town should not honor blasphemy," he said, referring to the band's name and lyrics.

Inside Moscow's Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Pussy Riot protested via a punk-prayer entitled, "Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!"

They sang: "Mother of God, Virgin Mary, drive Putin away," "Holy shit, shit, Lord's shit," and "The patriarch believes in Putin / Bastard, better believe in God."

The three girls, Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Tolokonnikova, were then arrsted, charged and convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hate and sentenced to 2 years in prison.

Der Speigel spoke with Volkmar Joestel, a Luther historian, who said "the band had protested against a fusion of religion, church and state power that ran counter to the principles of the Enlightenment."

"That alone deserves all honors," he said.

Pussy Riot is also a finalist for the Sakharov EU human rights prize. Other finalists, the Washington Post reports, include "imprisoned Belarusian human rights defender, Ales Belyatsky, and a pair of Iranians, lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and movie director Jafar Panahi."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/121009/pussy-riot-nominated-martin-luther-prize