|Matthew 28:19-20, The Great Commission|
We have known for some time now that the fingerprints of the American religious right are all over the increasing hostility, the outright violence, toward gay citizens of various African nations. When the astroturfed demonstrations against marriage equality in France got underway, and when they also elicited outright violence against gay folks in France, I noted that the fingerprints of the American anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) were all over those astroturfed demonstrations, and I predicted more of same, more exporting of American-style faith-based homophobia to more parts of the world, as marriage equality is enacted in more and more states in the U.S.
The goal of those exporting anti-gay ideology to other parts of the world is to be able to turn around and use that anti-gay ideology as a cudgel against anyone supporting gay rights in the U.S., as they argue that Europe and North America are departing from the sentiment of the global community in supporting gay (and women's) rights. Europe and North America have taken leave of their senses, the argument goes, and are now fighting against nature itself (whose claims the rest of the world still sensibly acknowledges) in granting equality and rights to women and to gays.
And now Russia: at Right Wing Watch right now, Miranda Blue is publishing a valuable four-part exposé of the role currently being played in the development of overt hostility--with open violence--to gay rights and gay people in Russia. As Blue notes in her first installment in this series, it's not in the least accidental that the loudest cheerleaders for Russia's anti-gay laws have been members of the American religious right like Pat Buchanan, Bob Vander Plaats, Bryan Fischer, Peter LaBarbera, Scott Lively et al. It's no accident that these folks are leading the cheers for Russia's anti-gay laws because,
Working through several channels, American anti-gay activists quietly provided intellectual backing and international support that directly and indirectly fueled the resurgent anti-gay movement in Russia and in other former Soviet states like Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine.
Case in point: Brian Brown of the largely Catholic anti-gay U.S. group NOM. As Blue reports, within days after the Russian Duma passed laws targeting the gay community of Russia, Brown traveled to Russia with a delegation of French Catholic anti-gay activists with whom he'd been collaborating to fan the flames of hostility to gay citizens of France. Their goal: to get Russia to enact laws prohibiting adoption by same-sex couples--a goal in which they succeeded.
Their ultimate goal: to nurture in the Russian political and cultural context a theocratic model of government that might then, they hope, be exported back to Western Europe and North America. As Blue notes, accompanying Brown to Russia was another American, Jack Hanick, a founding employee of FOX news, who stated the following in an interview with the Russian journal Proslavie while he was in Russia:
In the U.S., serious problems, including the decline of morals and the general, brought the separation of church and state. According to the Constitution of 1787, the government had no right to do one of the official religions - so understood separation of church and state. But 200 years later, it has acquired a different meaning: everything about the faith, was expelled from everyday life, it was given a special place and time - a few hours a week, within the church. This is a horrific result because it shows that we have gone from that promise with which our laws were written 200 years ago, have distorted it.
In Russia the issue of separation of church and state, obviously, is much less of an issue, and I see this a positive thing. If in the U.S. religion removed from public debate, in Russia - thanks to the Church and state - these topics are submitted to the agenda.
Next in Blue's series: our old friend Mark Regnerus, whose discredited bought-and-paid-for sociological study of "gay" parenting, which was cited by the U.S. Catholic bishops in their amicus brief to the Supreme Court asking to keep the prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage in place, is now being circulated in--you guessed it--Russia as a political tool against gay folks. Regnerus has expressed concern that his study is being cited by anti-gay politicians in Russia--and yet, what a bizarre concern, when they're citing his work to do precisely what it was designed to do: spread malicious pseudo-scientific information about gay folks to elicit hostility to that targeted segment of the Russian population.
I recommend Miranda Blue's series to Bilgrimage readers. And wouldn't you dearly love to know who in North America and Europe is paying for this exporting of homophobic hostility to one country after another around the world? I surely would. When will NOM comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court of Maine this past summer to disclose its major donors in its ugly campaign against gay marriage in that state in 2009?
Inquiring minds would like to know.