Whodathunk that in 2013, there would be a role reversal between the historically religious United States and the once militantly secular Russia, the former head state of the communist Soviet Union? Russian President Vladimir Putin is a believer in Jesus Christ and practicing Russian Orthodox Christian who underwent a born again experience in the 1990s following life-threatening events he and his wife experienced and survived.
The Western World, including the United States, is mired in political correctness and is eager to push Christianity out of the public square and into a closet in the interest of “democratic ideals” (read: secular) right at the time militant Islam continues to be a worldwide threat. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin is now the leading world figure to take action to end anti-Christian persecution and reverse decades of secularism in Russia that has led to unhappy lives and breakdowns of traditional institutions that maintained peace and the survival of the nation.
The evangelical Christian community that still identifies Russia with communism, Cold War tensions and the brutality of Stalinism is in for a shock if Putin follows through on his comments. They underscore that the world has changed. In the wake of the “war on terror,” the U.S. is no longer seen as a guardian of justice and liberty. Now one of her traditional enemies is poised to defend ideals that America no longer cherishes.
In Iran, Christian pastors like Saeed Abedini and Youcef Nadarkhani have been beaten and tortured over the past two years, and have been threatened with execution. In a recent interview with CBN, Eritrean torture survivor “Philip” shared graphic stories of his own experience in torture camps in the Sinai desert. “In some cases, we were tortured simply because we were Christians,” he said. “I was hanged up from the ceiling for three days, the blood was cut off from my hands and the flesh started to literally drip from my hands.”
These stories are nothing new. Horrific persecution of Christians has been widespread since new converts were fed to the lions in the Roman Empire. What is surprising is that these are the kinds of stories that were coming out of Russia not long ago, when atheism was the official doctrine of the Soviet Union and twenty-year-old Ivan Moiseyev was beaten to death in the Red Army.
What’s changed since then? Putin hinted at it when he said the church in Russia had been a “moral compass” to many who were looking for help, hinting at the recent century of misery and struggle that the Russian people have endured. He also acknowledged the role that the church has played in “culture and education,” adding, “The adoption of Christianity became a turning point in the fate of our fatherland.”
Why is the Russian leadership suddenly recognizing the priceless value to their nation of the Christian virtues they condemned for so many years? It’s simple. The Russian people have learned the hard way about the cultural devastation and decline that results from the rejection of the happy principles that have bolstered the western world for so many centuries.
Vladimir Putin is the only leader in the world right now with a spine. I guess George W. Bush was right when he said this about Putin.
“I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul. He’s a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that’s the beginning of a very constructive relationship,” – President George W. Bush, 2001 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1392791.stm