When this idea is put forth, my reaction is to say, “Pull the other one, it’s got church bells on.” Alas, these days I’m finding myself in the minority.
Western intellectuals are losing their minds so rapidly that a cynic is tempted to think they didn’t have much to lose in the first place.
Even conservative Christians, generally the brightest group, are showing signs of mental instability. In a way that’s understandable: they’ve been dealt enough head blows to suffer some mild brain damage.
One significant symptom is the growing if grudging admiration for Putin’s Russia, and Col. Putin in particular. Many British Christians, for example, have expressed admiration for Russia’s law banning homosexual propaganda among children.
Suddenly Col. Putin is being chalked up as one of the PLUs (People Like Us), if not without some reservations. At least, when this taxonomic perversion is committed by a British pundit, some sense of balance is occasionally preserved. When the accolade is tinged with the Gallic temperament, balance goes right out of the window.
Witness the article Tsar Poutine in the Figaro. The author, Eric Zemmour, thinks the West, specifically les anglo-saxonnes, has been beastly to Putin. Now whenever a continental uses the word Anglo-Saxon to lump all Anglophone nations together, he doesn’t mean it as a compliment.
In this instance, Zemmour “recognises the Anglo-Saxon techniques of demonisation. Remember, for example, comparisons of Saddam Hussein to Hitler.”
Unlike “Yeltsyn who sold his country out to trans-Atlantic groups”, Putin “has restored the state. And Russian patriotism. By authoritarian methods. In the tradition of the tsars.”
“Little by little, he has become the leader of world opposition to the new ideological order dominated by the West [and characterised by] antiracism, globalism, homophilia, feminism, Islamophilia and Christianophobia.”
In other words, “While France has renounced her former mission, Putin has become the last defender of Eastern Christianity. …He defends national sovereignty, family and the Orthodox religion.”
A reality check, Monsieur Zemmour, s’il vous plaît. You know, reality? That elusive substance formed by facts, rather than ideological bias?
Col. Putin is a proud alumnus of the most diabolical organisation in the history of mankind. (“There’s no such thing as ex-KGB,” he once said. “This is for life.”) In the first 50 years of its existence it murdered 60 million people, including 40,000 priests just in Lenin’s lifetime (d. 1924).
In those turbulent days, Cheka (precursor of KGB/FSB) flying squads would machinegun whole parishes and rob the churches of their valuables. Worse still, Col. Putin’s sponsoring organisation turned the church hierarchy into its extension.
Specifically, priests were obligated on pain of death to divulge any juicy information vouchsafed to them in confession – and acceded, something that in the West would result in summary unfrocking.
This Faustian arrangement has led to an institutional paradox: the KGB in effect appointed and ran the prelates of the Russian church. Some of them, such as the first post-war patriarch Alexis and the Soviet representative at the World Council of Churches Metropolitan Nicodemus, were career KGB officers.
In the fine tradition of his lifelong employer, Col. Putin has kept this arrangement intact. All three candidates for the patriarchate in the 2009 election, including the eventual winner Patriarch Kiril, are professional KGB operatives.
Recently opened KGB files include countless reports on the activities of ‘Agent Mikhailov’ (Kiril’s KGB codename). Every report concludes that “Agent Mikhailov has fulfilled his assignment.”
Now imagine it’s 1967, 22 years after the defeat of Nazi Germany – the same time that has elapsed since the so-called collapse of communism in Russia in 1991. The West German government is led by an SS Obersturmbannführer (the equivalent of Putin’s rank) and is made up almost exclusively of officers in the SS, SD and Gestapo. Moreover, every notable clergyman is known to have collaborated with those organisations.
Do you think the Zemmours of this world would have been as ecstatic about the resurgence of Lutheranism in Germany?
Let’s extend the parallel – it extends so naturally, the temptation is irresistible. What if the same SS government had fused with organised crime to create the widest money-laundering network in history? Routinely murdered its opponents both at home and abroad? Suppressed free press? Maintained one of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals? Consistently supported and armed the West’s enemies? Cynically used Christianity to advance its cause?
These are all accomplishments of which Col. Putin can proudly boast. Is Mr Zemmour aware of them?
Hitler ended unemployment and revitalised the economy. Stalin industrialised Russia. Putin has banned some of the things there we’d like to ban here. Is Mr Zemmour familiar with the downside in all three instances?
The downside makes none of the gentlemen a present-day answer to Charles Martel. In search of those able to defend Christianity, we should look inwards, not to Putin’s fascist state.
Zemmour’s revolutionary ancestors used to say “Pas d’ennemis a gauche” (no enemies on the Left). Like them, we desperately need allies. Unlike them, we have to apply moral criteria to choosing our allies, for otherwise we’d be just like them.
As to Christianity, God has saved it from countless enemies. Let’s pray He will save it from ‘friends’ like Col. Putin of the KGB.