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God and Gov: LGBT Christians and Church-State Relations in Russia
May 19, 2016
We travel to Russia to meet LGBT Christians and dive into the historical relationship between the Orthodox Church and the Kremlin. Then, London has a new mayor, Sadiq Khan. We take a walk back in time to explore Islam in Europe, stopping by a few grand cities with other Muslim leaders.

Being Queer and Christian in Russia May 19, 2016
Two experts outline the history of Russian religion-state relations, from the tsars to the Soviet Union to the present day. Plus, reporter Lauren Ober takes us to a small, underground church in St. Petersburg where LGBT Christians worship, amid anti-gay rhetoric from religious and political leaders. Ober explains why many of Russia's LGBT Christians find it difficult to be out about their sexuality, and their faith.

God and Government: Russia

Photos by Lauren Ober

Geraldine Fagan, journalist and author of Believing in Russia: Religious Policy after Communism
Irina Papkova, research fellow at Georgetown University and author of The Orthodox Church in Russian Politics

Listen to more of our God and Government series.

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Spirituality and Russian Folk Music: In Studio with Balalaika Master Andrei Saveliev May 19, 2016
Andrei Saveliev was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, during the Soviet era, but moved to the United States about 20 years ago. During Soviet rule, religion was considered antithetical to communism. But faith didn't exactly disappear; Saveliev found spirituality in Russian folk music. 

Take a listen to the songs Saveliev performed for us in the studio.

Andrei Saveliev, Balalaika master and member of The Washington Balalaika Society

Labour Party - Wikipedia
First Muslim Mayor in Europe? Not So Fast! May 19, 2016
London has a new mayor who happens to be Muslim. His name is Sadiq Khan and he's the son of a Pakistani bus driver and a member of the Labour Party. As soon as he was elected, the media blasted out headlines announcing Khan as the first Muslim mayor of a major European city. History disagrees. We take a walk back in time to explore Islam in Europe, stopping by a few grand cities with Muslim leaders.

Read Juan Cole's article "London's Muslim Mayor is Nothing New: 1300 Years of Muslims Who Ran Major European Cities."

Juan Cole, professor at the University of Michigan and expert on Islam and the Middle East