I applaud Russian authorities for convicting the all-female punk band of committing a hate crime against religion. The band willfully, maliciously and blasphemously desecrated a Russian Orthodox Church.

Everyone has a right to freedom of expression. This includes those who were attending the religious service in question. These people's rights were obviously denied and violated by the surprise guerrilla invasion. Many of them — especially the older and religiously devout — may actually have been seriously traumatized for life by the devilish antics of these young, radical feminists.

I believe a two-year jail sentence is rather harsh for such a crime. I would rather have seen the girls forced to faithfully attend Holy Mass each day followed by an hour of Bible school — perhaps for a year. In this way, their punishment could be served out in the form of rehabilitation. If the girls were encouraged to understand religion a little more, they might actually come to appreciate it more fully. Then, their raw and wicked energy could be converted into a more positive and powerful force for good in this world.

Rick Martin

Salt Lake City