As Russia strives to regain its Christian heritage, the western Left strives to ditch it
It’s sad but hardly surprising that what is arguably the world’s most significant cultural development in the opening years of the third Christian millennium has largely escaped the attention of the world’s news media. I refer to the notable revival of Christianity in eastern Europe, especially in Russia, and the notable rejection of Christianity in much of the formerly Christian West.
The journalists don’t cover this strange turnabout because they don’t think it matters, “God is dead and religion soon will be,” a fellow reporter assured me, back in the late 1950s, “By the end of this century, most people will never so much as think of religion.” He was newly graduated from university with a degree in modern philosophy.
Well, the end of the century came and went, and in one year, nine months and 11 days into the new century, some three thousand people perished when four airliners were destroyed in the perceived service of Allah. Since then, by one diligently accurate account, 20,698 people have been killed and 52,032 have been injured, all in that same religious cause.
Ah yes, we are recurrently being assured, but terrorism is not the “true” Islam; it’s just a small group of deluded heretics. Unfortunately, by almost any objective reading of Islamic history, it is the “true” Islam. In any event, religion is a lot more alive than it was back in the 1950s. My friend was simply dead wrong. Wrong, that is, about eastern Europe, central Africa and parts of Asia, where Christianity, often in spite of hideous persecution, is on the ascendant. He was much closer to right in foreseeing the discard of Christianity in the West, where the education revolution has gravely weakened it.*
However, the experience in Russia is most instructive, and it became glaringly evident when the Putin government flatly refused to allow a gay parade at the 2014 Olympics. The customary tirade of scorn from the gay lobby and its captive media descended upon the Russian government, which was expected to follow the western example and instantly yield. It didn’t. “We will destroy your Olympics,” thundered the gays. They didn’t.
But one member of the Putin government gave an interview to an American reporter. I should have kept he account of it, and didn’t, but I well remember the points she made. I believe she was minister of culture. Her discourse ran something like this:
“At the outset, let me make one point clear. I have gay people on my staff. They are good workers, loyal and dependable, and I would not hesitate to recommend them for employment. But what we’re talking about here is a way of life, a life style, a mode of living, which is seeking to gain wide public acceptance, and the proposed parade is part of that quest. In that case, I must make three serious points against it:
“First, it is unbiblical. The practice is condemned in both the Old and the New Testaments. This matters to us. We are trying to learn again to follow the Bible in such things. Second. it is unnatural. The ultimate purpose of sex is children. True, there are other attractions and pleasures involved. But they are there to encourage the real purpose, which is to produce more people — more Russians in our case, more Americans in yours. But these unions can’t do that.” Finally, the practice is decidedly unhealthy. AIDS is merely one of the dangers. Homosexuals are subject to numerous other disgusting and perilous diseases, which your media in my opinion downplay. If so, they are doing us no favour. Now, given all this, tell me something. What are we being asked to celebrate?”
I have never heard anybody answer her challenge. You have to wonder: Where are the academic apologists of the gay movement? Where, for instance, is the inexhaustible Dr. Kris Wells of the University of Alberta’s Weird Sex Institute, chief spokesman for what are now known as the gender minorities and used to be known as the sexually depraved. One suspects they are not responding because they can’t. And even if they tried, their response would be one long tirade against Putin — his move to regain Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine, his alleged use of political assassinations, his personal marital problems. The logicians call this argumentum ad hominem — arguing against the man when you can’t answer his case. Reason, however, does not appear to be one of Dr. Wells’s strengths.
Putin himself defended his stand on his ban on the Olympics gay parade. The West, he said, is in the process of secularizing its governments. Russia has already gone down that road, and knows where it leads. “We don’t want to go down it again.”
Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century. a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has recently authored two little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters and The Revolution Nobody Covered. You can order both copies here.