Sunday, October 25, 2015

Is Vladimir Putin’s Conservatism False?


Is Vladimir Putin’s Conservatism False?

By Julio Severo
Russian conservatism, under the influence of the Orthodox Church, has distinguished itself by strong Christian stances against the gay agenda and abortion, especially in the United Nations. This conservative prescription turned out fine for the conservative Protestant president Ronald Reagan and for the Vatican. Could it turn out fine for Russians?
If you think that the conservatism advocated by President Vladimir Putin in Russia is true, a Brazilian apologist wants help you change your mind.
In his recent article “O falso conservadorismo de Vladimir Putin” (Vladimir Putin’s False Conservatism), published in the Brazilian Protestant website GospelMais, the Brazilian apologist says:
“Born in the city of St. Petersburg, Putin has been developing a strategy of action different from the time when he worked as a lieutenant-colonel of KGB (an old spy agency), which is to resort to the Russian Orthodox Church’s conservatism as a contraposition to the U.S. liberalism. In other words: Putin has embraced conservatism in order to create a new image for Mother Russia, the image of a nation that honors the Christian family’s fundamental principles — which is clearly praise-worthy, notwithstanding that the ulterior intent is another… The way the former KGB agent has been behaving in the backstage of national and international politics suggests that his conservatism is only a temporary tool of Russian publicity.”
As an evidence that Putin is not conservative, the Brazilian apologist says: “How can Vladimir Putin’s conservatism be reconciled to his policy of exterminating the Syrian opposition? Putin is not conservative.”
How can the view of this Brazilian apologist be reconciled to the reality? Who is this opposition?
In his article “Russia Declares ‘Holy War’ on Islamic State,” Raymond Ibrahim, an American Christian leader descendant of Middle East Christians, explains about such opposition:
“Even the Rev. Franklin Graham’s response to Russia’s military intervention in Syria seems uncharacteristically positive, coming as it is from the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which for decades spoke against the godless Soviets:  ‘What Russia is doing may save the lives of Christians in the Middle East… You understand that the Syrian government … have protected Christians, they have protected minorities from the Islamists.’ Should U.S supported jihadis (‘rebels’) succeed in toppling the government of Syria, Graham correctly predicts that there will be ‘a bloodbath of Christians’: ‘There would be tens of thousands of Christians murdered and slaughtered and on top of that, you would have hundreds of thousands of more refugees pouring into Europe. So Russia right now, I see their presence as helping to save the lives of Christians.’ Incidentally, it’s an established fact that the ‘good rebels’—or ‘moderates’—are persecuting Christians no less than the Islamic State.”
Ibrahim is the author of the best-selling book “Crucified Again,” which talks about how Christians in the Middle East are being slaughtered by Muslims.
So the important question is: Why did the Brazilian apologist choose to side with the Islamic rebels or opposition who murder Christians? The answer is that he, whose name is Johnny Torralbo Bernardo, follows the socialist ideology. Johnny Bernardo, who is a columnist in the progressive Protestant website GospelMais, has a history of official affiliation with the Communist Party of Brazil.
Sadly, many Brazilian apologists, who should defend the Gospel, defend socialism and hate conservative Christian influences in the politics.
As a GospelMais columnist, Johnny has already made some statements consistent with the communist ideology. In his article “Júlio Severo e temas relacionados” (Julio Severo and related subjects), where he attacks me, he says:
“The Cuban Revolution was necessary because Cubans were economically and physically exploited by U.S. citizens.”
In this same article, he complains that I expose socialist Protestants and I support neo-Pentecostals, who are the most anti-socialist Christians in Brazil.
There has to be something much strange when a communist who praises the bloody Cuban revolution and attacks Julio Severo is considered, by a Protestant website, a good source of reference for evangelicals to dismiss the “false conservatism” of the Russian president.
In other GospelMais article, titled “O Brasil e o Estado Laico; uma entrevista” (Brazil and the Secular State; an Interview), Johnny explains that a union between State and Christian religion is a danger. As an example of this danger, he uses Saudi Arabia, which is an Islamic dictatorship. In this respect, he says of his concerns: “Brazil and the U.S. are still ruled by religion, by the influence of religious leaders.”
So Johnny’s case with Putin is that the Russian president, by granting more political opportunities to the Orthodox Church in Russia, is going against the secular State, unrelentingly advocated by communists around the world.
As every communist, Johnny believes in the separation of Church and State. But there is an exception: anticapitalist and environmentalist Christians should have room in the government and its policies. In his article “Pastores devem tomar o Papa Francisco como um modelo de liderança” (Protestant ministers should welcome Pope Francis as a leadership model), Johnny says:
“First Latin-American pope, Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) has so far shown signs that he will be also the most important Catholic leader in history. Above all, Pope Francis has resumed the social speech of the Catholic Church, coming near to the poor and the oppressed by the capitalist system.”
So in Johnny’s communist view, Pope Francis is an excellent example of Christian engagement in politics. Johnny is forthright: Francis is an example that every evangelical minister should follow. In contrast, Putin is the bad example.
He agrees with Francis, but he disagrees with Putin.
Going further in his article “Vladimir Putin’s False Conservatism,” Johnny says:
“All is only a strategy measuredly developed to oppose the U.S. liberal policies. With the homosexual civil union recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court, the legalization of recreational use of pot in states like Colorado and Washington, Putin’s conservative agenda draws more and more adherents in the Western world. Olavo de Carvalho was assertive when he published, in September 2013, a small comment about the Russian president. ‘It seems that Vladimir Putin discovered the formula of success: the international Left applauds him because he is anti-American, the Right because it sees in him the hope for a spiritual rebirth of the world. In my view he is more intelligent than his master Dugin…’ Carvalho closes with a doubt: ‘No one knows where this will end.’ For the first time I have to agree with him.”
Besides supporting the Syrian opposition (which are radical Islamists who slaughter Christians) and supporting the pope in his anticapitalist and environmentalist stances, now Johnny also supports Olavo de Carvalho.
Just to dispel Johnny’s excessive communist faith in Carvalho, it is necessary to clarify that Carvalho’s understanding is wrong. Completely different of what Carvalho said, while Orthodox Christians in Russia held an international pro-life and pro-family meeting in Moscow, including in the Kremlin, the international Left did not applaud Putin. Leftist and homosexual groups successfully pressed the U.S. government to hinder U.S. Christian and conservative groups from attending. The Left did not applaud. The Left attacked.
Those same leftist and homosexual groups asked the U.S. State Department to investigate Americans who attended the pro-life meeting in Moscow.
Not only the international Left was discontent with this meeting, but U.S. neocons — who are erroneously labeled conservatives — also attacked the event.
As communist Johnny himself demonstrates, the international Left has been discontent with Putin. This leftist discontentment has been increasing since Putin passed a law banning homosexual propaganda for children in 2013. Since that time, the international leftist media began to treat the Russian ban as a genocide against homosexuals. 
Yet, evangelical leaders, who see beyond ideology, are not discontent with Putin. Franklin Graham, son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, applauded and praised not only Putin’s attitude of protecting Russian children against homosexual propaganda, but also of supporting the Syrian president who has protected Christians. Graham wrote a cover story in the Decision magazine titled “Putin’s Olympic Controversy.”
If Graham is leftist, so Carvalho and Johnny have a legitimate reason to charge: the Left has applauded Putin. But the fact is another: the true international Left has not applauded Putin.
When homosexualist activists notice that an international leader has a leftist or homosexualist leaning, they encourage him. So it is no surprise that The Advocate, the oldest homosexual magazine in the U.S., named its 2013 “Person of the Year” Pope Francis, portraying him as a very good example.
But when there is not such leftist or homosexualist leaning, they attack. So it is no wonder that Vladimir Putin was named “Person of the Year” in 2014 by the same homosexual magazine, which portrayed the Russian president as a very bad example.
Whoever this magazine portrays as good is applauded by the international Left.
Whoever this magazine portrays as bad is rejected by the international Left.
According to Carvalho’s exaggerations, Alexander Dugin is the greatest conservative or leader in Russia. Yet, Dugin was not present in the greatest international pro-life and pro-family meeting in Moscow last year. I was in this meeting and I did not see any speaker or participant named Dugin.
I was in the most important conservative meeting in Russia, with many international Catholic, Protestant and Jewish conservatives, and there was no Dugin there, who is an admirer of René Guénon, a French Catholic who converted to esoteric Islam. Another admirer is Carvalho himself, who translated into Portuguese one of Guénon’s books. Carvalho also founded in Brazil the first tariqa, an esoteric Islamic center. Even though Carvalho seems disavow today such dark experiences, many of his current writings praise and recommend Guénon.
In my Christian view, to praise and recommend the sorcerer Guénon is dangerous. Conservative writer Nancy Pearcey labels Guénon a New Age advocate.
Even so, in the Brazilian internet, Carvalho has been simultaneously the greatest propagandist of Dugin and Guénon.
Carvalho seems to be confused with his issues about Dugin and Guénon. And Johnny, as a communist Protestant minister, seems to be even more confused when he attacks Putin and praises Pope Francis, the Cuban revolution and Carvalho.
Notwithstanding these confusions, Johnny and other Brazilian socialist Protestants are interviewed by the U.S. evangelical media, which seem to avoid conservative evangelicals in Brazil. Even the ChristianPost has already interviewed Johnny as if this Brazilian communist were a reference better than conservative evangelicals in Brazil.
In Johnny’s view, evangelical ministers can follow Pope Francis, Cuba and even Carvalho. But what they cannot do is to give attention to Putin.
It is a so confusing mixture that you could think that Johnny has been using pot. If he uses, I do not know. But as every Western socialist, Johnny has already expressed his view about the subject. In the same GospelMais article in which he attacks me, he declared categorically: “I support pot legalization.”
In my view, what Franklin Graham says is more important than what Johnny, Pope Francis, the Cuban Revolution and Carvalho say.
What will result if you follow only the models approved by Johnny and not Putin’s “false conservatism”?
Portuguese version of this article: O conservadorismo de Vladimir Putin é falso?
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