Why Are American Conservatives Praising Putin?
reason.com ^ | August 22, 2013 | Cathy YoungPosted on Friday, August 23, 2013 2:44:23 PM by MetaThought
Russian President Vladimir Putin, the career KGB officer who has presided over the rollback of his country’s post-Communist freedoms and revived Cold War-style anti-Americanism, is an unlikely hero for American conservatives.
Yet the Kremlin strongman has lately found some fans on the right who see him as a defender of Christian values — most recently, in the imbroglio over Russia’s new legal ban on gay “propaganda.” It is a sad misjudgment that does a disservice to the causes of conservatism, freedom, and religion alike.Spokesmen for several right-wing groups including the American Family Association have praised the Russian law, which prohibits any pro-gay speech or expression that could be accessible to minors.
Veteran columnist Pat Buchanan has joined the Putin cheerleading squad. And, shockingly, the usually thoughtful author Rod Dreher, who blogs for The American Conservative, has added his own “1.5 Cheers for Putin.”
While condemning anti-gay violence and authoritarianism in Russia, Dreher praises Putin’s willingness to speak up for Christianity and laments that “post-Soviet Russia, for all its grievous flaws, is . . . more conscious of its Christian history and character than the United States.”
This is a truly grievous misunderstanding of the reality of religion and politics in 21st Century Russia. Russia today is outwardly far more religious than most of Western Europe, but it’s a religion of state more than church: Orthodox Christianity has taken Communism’s place as the new official ideology, with church membership an official badge of patriotism and loyalty.
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