If one knows Russian history, then one knows that, excluding portions of the Bolshevik and communist period, for centuries reactionary and dictatorial Russian autocrats have always relied upon the Russian Orthodox Church to wage war against independent thought and opposition to the governing regime. With the fall of communism, Vladimir Putin has revived the unholy alliance between the Russian Orthodox Church and his regime where the Church once again is allied with a regime that is anathema to the Gospel message and the rights of average Russians. One of the tools Putin has employed to strengthen this alliance is legalizing the Russian Orthodox Church's extreme homophobia and scapegoating LGBT Russians. Here in America, Der Trumpenführer is seeking to solidify a similar alliance of reactionary fundamentalist and evangelical Christians easily motivated by hatred of "non-belivers," those of other faiths, and LGBT citizens. to shore up and maintain support for his regime. In the process, we now see similar moves to those made by Putin directed towards LGBT Americans and the question becomes one of how bad will things get. "Friends" who voted for Trump continue to close their eyes and ears to what they have unleashed on their LGBT friends and neighbors. A piece in Queerty looks at the manner in which Russian is now freely exporting anti-LGBT hatred to America and the West (although not noted in the piece, the Russian Orthodox Church also has a long history of supporting Great Russian discrimination against non-whites). Here are excerpts:
We’ve already discussed why Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin is terrible for us. But in light of the expanding firestorm over Russia’s outsized influence in the Trump administration, the question is, just how terrible. As it turns out, it could be worse than we imagined.
Trump’s campaign was bizarrely and distressingly cozy with anti-democratic Russia. The candidate himself openly admired Putin and even egged Russia on its hacking of the Democratic National Committee. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia was trying to put a finger on the scale in the election, an unprecedented intrusion into American democracy.
That much everyone knows. But less known is the extent to which Russia has emerged as a ringleader of the American religious right. In fact, according to one new study, Russia is the leader of the global Christian right. Which in part explains why the Trump administration remains enamored of a nation with a smaller economy than the state of California.
To say that this is a disastrous development is an understatement. Russia’s homophobia runs deep and virulent. Here’s a sampling of the type of harassment and violence that are now commonplace in the country, where three-quarter of its citizens believe homosexuality should not be accepted by society.
· Routinely allows thugs to attack gay activists without fear of prosecution· Arrest gay activists for standing up for their rights· Bans any pro-gay materials as “propaganda”· Forbids same-sex couples from adopting· Blocked the country’s most popular LGBTQ site· Banned transgender people from getting drivers licenses
Much of this has been done in concert with the Russian Orthodox Church, which has emerged as an ally of Putin and which now provides a template for the type of Church-State relationship the religious right would like to see in America.
The American religious right’s admiration for Putin and Russia soared during the Obama administration. Such high-profile figures as Franklin Graham, Bryan Fischer, and Brian Brown have proclaimed Russia to be on the right track when it comes to gay issues. But for a long time, the assumption was that the religious right was simply exporting its particular brand of homophobia to a friendly venue.
As it turns out, according to the report from People for the American Way, we may actually be a net importer of Russia hatred. At the heart of this disturbing trend is Brian Brown. Brown headed the rapidly dying National Organization for Marriage but he has managed to fail upwards as head of the International Organization for the Family, formerly known as the World Congress of Families. In this role, Brown has been hitting the road, landing in Russia just last week to promote closer relations between the U.S. and Putin.
What has changed over the years is that, by increasing repression (and violence), Russia has been able to position itself as the promised land for the homophobic right in the U.S. and claim the moral (if that’s the word) high ground.
Exactly how deep the relationships run is anyone’s guess. Putin has deep pockets and grand ideas, and he’ll be happy to collaborate with anyone who espouses his nationalist viewpoints. But the salient point is that Russia has gone from being the recipient of homophobic outreach to the standard against which the far right judges the U.S. At a minimum, it is setting the tone for our bitterest enemies.
Just one glance at the hell Russia has made for the lives of its LGBTQ citizens is chilling. What’s even more chilling is the growing power of the eager audience that would like to see that hell replicated in the U.S.