A young man in Russia was arrested after posting a video on YouTube of himself playing PokémonGO in a church and faces up to five years in jail.
In the offending video (warning: bad language), 21-year-old Ruslan Sokolovsky first explains that a person can be fined or go to jail for playing PokémonGO in a church. According to the video’s English subtitles (he speaks in Russian), he says “for me, this is total b***sh**, because who can ever be offended by you walking around a church with your smartphone? Why the f*** would they lock you up for that?” So he decides to test the law out by playing PokémonGO in the Church of All Saints in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
The video then shows him playing the game in various places in the church, saying that Orthodox music is boring and that there’s a Pokémon gym (something game-related) in the church.
In what is probably the most offensive part of the video, Sokolovsky first shows himself playing the game with Orthodox chant being sung in the background, then adds in his own music mocking the chant that says “My f***ing god, this is f***ing beautiful.”
Sokolovsky then left the church apparently without anyone interacting with him about the fact he was playing the game. It was only after he posted the video to his nearly 300,000 YouTube subscribers on August 11th that Russian police arrested him.
Last Saturday, the police released a statement saying that Sokolovsky had been charged with “inciting hatred and offending religious sensibilities,” would be detained at least two months, and could be jailed for up to five years.
Christians around the world have had different responses to the popular smartphone game. Cologne Cathedral in Germany hired lawyers to force the game creators to remove game items from church property. Other Catholics have seen the game as an opportunity for evangelization.
Here’s the YouTube video that got Sokolovsky in trouble (warning: bad language):
What do you think of the situation? Let us know in the comments!
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