There's a strange blindness in conservative Christian circles when it comes to Russian strongman and former KGB Colonel, Vladimir Putin. For example, I was talking with a political philosopher who I'd heard had given an excellent talk on exercising political power while remaining a Christian. No easy feat. "Who did you use as examples?" I asked, "The Emperor Constantine and Putin?" Shocked silence. "No, I didn't use either of them as examples. Is Putin a Christian?!?"
|Well That's Not Christian|
If being baptized, attending the Eucharist, asking for the intercession of the Saints, professing the Creeds and promoting the Church makes you a Christian, well, count Putin in. Seriously, the Church in Russia is active, strong and a part of society in a way not seen since before the Bolshevik revolution.
|How Very Unchristian|
Something like 1000 churches have been built in Russia every year for the last decade and Orthodoxy is established across the spectrum of the state - in schools, the military, law enforcement and government itself. All this under the political aegis of Vladimir Putin. If he's not a Christian he certainly does a good job of hiding it. In America, by contrast, Christianity is banned from public schools and increasingly pushed out of the public square. Bake that cake, God Freaks, or we'll sue you and your business into the ground, with the not so tacit approval of the Supreme Court.
|Look! Three Atheists!|
But what about politics? Perhaps Putin's exercise of temporal power negates his apparent Orthodoxy? Like the way he's a nationalist who puts his country first, or legislates in favor of Christian values, like, how weird, heterosexual marriage. And, when a crew of Lena Dunham fans blaspheme in a Cathedral they get locked up. How very unchristian, except that it's not.
|Oh no. A Secular Humanist.|
Then again, maybe positioning yourself as an autocrat, like a King or a Tsar, is unchristian, which would put the Russian leader at something of a disadvantage when it comes to Christian governance. Right, classical liberal 18th century parliamentary democracy is mandated by Sacred Scripture and Apostolic tradition, said the Christian Monarchs of the Christian centuries never.
|Well That's Not Christian|
So why the animosity and shock when it comes to Putin? Because he's not a Westphalian product of the Enlightment so much as the son of Holy Mother Russia? Because he actually legislates in favor of the Church as though it was an objective good, as opposed to a subjective affair of the mind? Or maybe because he's Russian, and therefore an enemy communist threat, albeit subconciously, in the American conservative psyche.
|A Typical Scene of Putin Being Unchristian, at the Holy Sepulchre|
But look, the Red menace is over. In fact, America's far more red than Russia at the present moment. So get over it, conservatives, unless in reality you've gone socsymp and see conservative, populist, Christian nationalism as a threat. In which case stop pretending to be something you're not.
I'd argue that Christian conservatives share more than a few basic values with Putin and should ally themselves with him and Russia against the common enemy. That would be Islam and its curious friend, aggressive, millionaire socialist, NWO globalism.
Mind how you go,