U.S. Christian Leaders Support Persecution of Russian Christians
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U.S. Christian Leaders Support Persecution of Russian Christians

Putin's anti-Christian policies don't disturb American evangelical supporters.

U.S. Christian Leaders Support Persecution of Russian Christians
Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photos by Spencer Platt/Getty Images News, Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images.

After a chat with the Russian president who has criminalized Christian evangelism, evangelical leader Franklin Graham praised Putin for his heroic “stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda” and "protecting traditional Christianity."

However, Graham condemns President Obama for leading America down the wrong road, even while American Christians worship freely and our Russian friends face persecution.

This may seem strange, but it's not usual.

A leader in the right-wing advocacy group American Family Association (AFA), Bryan Fischer, called Putin a “lion of Christianity”, only complaining that Putin's laws aren't stricter. Similarly, Matt Barber celebrated how Putin managed to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation”.

Sam Rohrer of the American Pastors Network called Putin “the moral leader of the world”. Activist Scott Lively encourages Putin's supposed championing of Christian values.

Brian Brown, who heads both the National Organization for Marriage and the World Congress of Families, travelled to Russia in 2013 to promote anti-gay legislation. This "traditional," "values-based" legislation labelled gay people as pedophiles, thus justifying fines, jail time, or other punishment.

This criminal status empowered vigilante groups like Occupy Pedophilia to hunt gay Russians. In 2013, the organization began luring in minors through social media to publicly humiliate them by forcing them to drink urine or beating them with sex toys.

In the 2014 documentary Hunted, a survivor describes his attack, which blinded him in one eye:

"First they shut us up with their laws so we cannot say anything in our defense, and then they say we are similar to murderers and perverts. If it's constantly drilled into people that we are murderers, scum and perverts, I understand why these guys shot at me. If you repeat something all the time, sooner or later...they will pick up a gun and go and shoot."

The leader of Occupy Pedophilia was never punished for this. He was eventually tried for posting racist videos to a Russian social media website, but a Moscow City Court recently reduced his sentence from five years to less than three.

Graham and his friends seem unconcerned that not only does Putin's censorship result in the torture of teenagers, but that these laws don't just apply to people the American right-wing dislikes.

Putin's crackdown on Protestant Christians includes fining, shutting down, jailing, and kicking them out of the country.

Protestants can only share their faith in state-approved churches, which resulted in a large fine and a cease-and-desist order on a group of Baptists meeting in their home. Christianity Today reports that the seven main Protestant denominations in Russia have fasted, prayed, and sent letters to Putin begging him to soften these measures. According to the same article, Russian police are bragging that they have the power to attack Christians, similar to the power granted to hurt LGBT individuals.

Yet Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, said it is “inarguable” that Putin is a stronger leader than President Obama. Trump himself has repeatedly praised Putin's authoritarianism, promising to support Russia's government and policies. So a Trump presidency would allow Putin to expand his power unchecked without even a word of disapproval.

(Note that Clinton vocally opposes Putin's "regime that has aggressive tendencies toward our interests, our values, our friends and allies.")

Somehow, Putin's anti-Christian policies don't seem to disturb the many evangelicals who endorse and vote for Trump while praying for world missions. Their leaders in the evangelical world only compliment Putin for the crackdown on LGBT people that has led to terrifying oppression, just as it has for Christians.

This suggests a scary conclusion: America's Christian Right values the criminalization of gays over the freedom to spread the Gospel.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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