Bad news out of Russia for those of us who watch the rise of religion with concern:
Two stunning initiatives from the Russian government over the past few weeks illustrate a disturbing fusion of religion and politics as Vladimir Putin’s regime makes a final effort to consolidate dictatorship.
First, the government announced that it would consult the Russian Orthodox Church before introducing any legislative proposals in parliament, in essence giving the church a veto on legislation and allowing the church to promote an openly religious agenda in parliament.
Then, the regime declared it would begin teaching Orthodox religion in schools, ignoring the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state. Study of other Christian faiths, like Protestantism and Catholicism, has already been ruled out, and it’s clear that the lip-service being paid to Islam is only window dressing.
The move gives Putin and the state a veneer of ideology and morality; and it gives the church power. Atilla, meet your witch doctor.
If I were a Jew, Muslim, non-Orthodox Christian or unbeliever in Russia, I’d be looking for a way out. Things could get ugly — and get so quick.