Vladimir Putin, returned last year for a third term as president of Russia, was emerging this month as an unabashed defender of the Christian faith, and the only leader of a major nation prepared to unreservedly champion Christianity as the “moral compass” which should guide the content of the law.
What first drew the West’s attention was Putin’s signing into law a bill prohibiting any public demonstration that advances homosexuality, particularly in the eyes of children. This was vigorously castigated by Western gay rights groups. But it was even more shocking to conservative Christians who suddenly discovered a much distrusted foreign politician restoring Christian values while their own politicians were diligently undermining them.
While the U.S. stifles Christianity, Russia strongly backs it
But Putin’s anti-gay law, and another that prohibited the adoption of Russian children by gay foster parents in the West, came as no surprise to Russians. They knew, for instance, that Putin’s government was spending $100 million restoring churches destroyed by the Soviets, as well as ancient monasteries and sites of pilgrimage, and establishing an ever closer contact with the Russian Orthodox Church. And while America's military command was devising ways to stifle Christian evangelism in the armed forces, the Russian command was opening garrison churches in military bases and establishing Sunday schools for the children of military personnel.
Then too Putin’s assertion of the pivotal role of Christianity in Russian history had been widely publicized. It was difficult to imagine any western national leader, since the Christian Democrat governments that laid the foundations of the European Union, speaking such words as these:
“The adoption of Christianity became the turning point of our fatherland, making it an inseparable part of the Christian civilization, and helped it turn into one of the great world powers. It is Orthodoxy that gave Russia a powerful impetus for the development and rise of culture and education.”
Putin answers critics of Russia’s anti-gay laws
Pressed to defend his rejection of the homosexual movement, he had a prompt answer. After 70 years of secularist rule, he said, “many people are looking for help. Today, millions of our compatriots see it in religion. They trust the wise pastoral word of the Russian Orthodox Church.” Orthodoxy, like Catholicism and evangelical Protestantism, rejects homosexual practice as immoral, as a perversion of the natural order, and as actively dangerous to health. Unlike the others, however, Orthodoxy rejects the open advocacy of it. So too, do the Russian people, as one can gather from the parliamentary vote on the anti-demonstration law: 436-0.
A major religious change is under way. For years, the pundits of religion have prophesied a Christian resurgence. Few if any foresaw it beginning in what was once Soviet Russia.
- “Is the Russian leadership more Christian than the American?” Mysticpost.com