August 27, 2013, 1:25 pm
Why a Conservative Christian Took a Shine to Vladimir Putin
By ANDREW ROSENTHAL
It used to be that the American right was staunchly opposed to Russian Big Brother oppression. It is an article of faith among Republicans that Ronald Reagan’s implacable hostility to the Kremlin brought down the Berlin Wall in particular and Soviet Communism in general. Nor are Republicans particularly keen on President Vladimir Putin, the spiritual heir of 70 years of Soviet communism.
But recently we’ve been treated to Bryan Fischer, a director at the American Family Association, gushing on his blog and on his radio program about how wonderful it is that Mr. Putin has taken steps toward outlawing not just homosexuality, but the act of merely talking about homosexuality.
Pretty much everyone in the democratic world denounced those laws, which ban the adoption of Russian-born children to gay couples or anyone living in a country where marriage equality exists; allow the police to detain for 14 days foreigners suspected of being gay or even pro-gay; and classify homosexual “propaganda” as pornography. The last bit’s so broadly written that it could apply to anyone preaching tolerance.
But Mr. Fischer was thrilled. “They understand that homosexual behavior is a moral evil among teenagers,” he fulminated on his radio program. He went on to say that the Russians ought to “recognize that it is a moral evil among anybody.” But he said, “at least they are ahead of us.”
Mr. Fischer said, bizarrely, that he thought the Russians were motivated in part “by their Christian heritage,” which has not been a real factor in Russia since, oh, 1917. The Soviets tolerated a Russian Orthodox Church, as long as it toed the Kremlin line, but they persecuted pretty much every other religion, including evangelical Christianity. The Kremlin allows religious observance, but regulates it, and Christianity is simply irrelevant to Kremlin policy.
The Kremlin’s anti-gay laws have sparked so much worldwide condemnation (some people are even arguing that the United States and other countries should boycott the Olympics in Sochi in 2014) that American anti-gay organizations have generally avoided the subject.
Naturally, that was one of the things that most outraged Mr. Fischer. Complaining that we “have hardly heard anyone” on the “pro-family” front talking about this, Mr. Fischer declared: “This is public policy that we’ve been advocating and here is a nation in the world that is actually putting it into practice.”
Actually, while conservative groups and religious organizations oppose marriage-equality and preach against homosexuality, it’s been decades since any of them were nutty enough to actually advocate laws against even talking about homosexuality.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]