Today, Russia is the beloved of the religious right because it has embraced the right’s homophobia and its spokespeople with open arms. Virtually the entire who’s who of who’s nuts has been shouting from the rooftops how much they love the repressive, totalitarian regime of President Vladimir Putin because he hates gays as much as the American right does. Here is a rundown of some of the most egregious examples:
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association appeared on Voice of Russia, the state-sponsored radio network, as an expert in all things gay. “Russia is not being homophobic, it’s homorealistic ,” Fischer declared. “The Russian government is trying to take the issue into consideration and establish public policy to contribute to public health, as this lifestyle is not to be promoted, endorsed or granted special legal protection.”
Bill Owens, religious liaison for the National Organization for Marriage, emailed the Coalition of African-American Pastors to “applaud Russia for taking a stand for children” and for “attempting to stem the tide of moral decay in ‘their’ country.”
In a column, Pat Buchanan praised Putin’s crackdown on the LGBT community as proof that the country was returning to its religious roots. “Putin is trying to re-establish the Orthodox Church as the moral compass of the nation it had been for 1,000 years before Russia fell captive to the atheistic and pagan ideology of Marxism.” Buchanan added, “Anyone ever heard anything like that from the Post, the Times or Barack Hussein Obama?”
Writing on the Daily Caller website, Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, goes out of his way to insist the Russians are just trying to protect children and that really, everything else is just hunky dory. “Right now you can Google “Gay Moscow” and see a few dozen bars and restaurants and dance clubs that cater openly to a gay clientele,” Ruse proclaims. “Putin is not shutting them down and when Harvey Fierstein visits for the Olympics, he can visit them all without fear.”
And let’s not forget (try as we might) Scott Lively, the Johnny Appleseed of homophobia. Years before he helped foment anti-gay fever in Uganda, Lively conducted a 50-city tour of Russia to warn of the perils of the lavender menace. In an open letter to the Russian people released when he completed the tour, in 2007, Lively predicted that Russia could become a model of “pro-family values.”
“If this were to occur, I believe people from the West would begin to emigrate to Russia in the same way that Russians used to emigrate to the United States and Europe,” Lively said.
As much as we would love Scott et al to become Muscovites, we don’t want to contribute any more pain to our LGBT family in Putinland. All we can do is apologize for the U.S. making homophobia its main export to Russia.