Russia – in the form of the Soviet Union – used to be America’s greatest enemy. Ronald Reagan called it the “Evil Empire.” “One nation under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 in response to “godless Communism.” The United States was different, Americans were told. We believed in God. The Russians were officially atheistic.
How times have changed. The following is from “Who’s Godless Now? Russia Says It’s U.S.”
“At the height of the Cold War, it was common for American conservatives to label the officially atheist Soviet Union a ‘godless nation.’
“More than two decades on, history has come full circle, as the Kremlin and its allies in the Russian Orthodox Church hurl the same allegation at the West.
“‘Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values,’ Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a recent keynote speech. ‘Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.’
“In his state of the nation address in mid-December, Mr. Putin also portrayed Russia as a staunch defender of ‘traditional values’ against what he depicted as the morally bankrupt West. Social and religious conservatism, the former KGB officer insisted, is the only way to prevent the world from slipping into ‘chaotic darkness.’”
“As part of this defense of ‘Christian values,’ Russia has adopted a law banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ and another that makes it a criminal offense to ‘insult’ the religious sensibilities of believers.”
Russia still has its problems, but after 70 years of Communist rule, the execution of “some 200,000 clergy and believers from 1917 to 1937,” the destruction of thousands of churches, “and the churches that survived the purge had been “turned into warehouses, garages or museums of atheism,” the nation had a lot to fix.
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