Last year Carlo Maria Viganò, above—once the papal ambassador to the US among other countries—claimed that the invasion of Ukraine is a justified attempt by Russian President Putin to reconstruct a “Christian civilisation” in Europe. It's now reported that the war has brought harsh tactics against gay Russians at home.
Last March I penned a piece for the secular platform, OnlySky, in which I revealed that the deranged Viganò, in a lengthy letter running to almost 10,000 words, excoriated countries that were “demonising” Putin and imposing sanctions on Russia.
Putin, he suggested, was justifiably resisting an American and European “deep state” conspiracy to introduce “a world government based on economic interests and progressivism.”
His letter was written in the same week that the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, the walking, talking Christmas tree called Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, above, used a sermon to trot out the oft-repeated nonsense that the West is intent on forcing “gay pride parades” on devoutly religious countries who regard homosexuality as a “sin.”
If humanity accepts that sin is not a violation of God’s law, if humanity accepts that sin is a variation of human behavior, then human civilization will end there.
It’s now reported by The Washington Post that Putin is further doubling down on LGBT+ communities.
Late last year Putin signed legislation making it illegal to promote or “praise” same-sex relationships, to publicly express non-heterosexual orientations, or to suggest they are “normal”—expanding a 2013 law that prohibited spreading “gay propaganda” among minors. That ban now applies to all ages.
The tougher law, wrote Mary Ilyushina and Mary Gelman, is just one way the war in Ukraine has made life worse for LGBT+ Russians. Rights groups and advocates who previously defended sexual and other minorities have been branded as “foreign agents.” Many were driven out of Russia.
Legal experts said the new ban was drafted vaguely to sow confusion and maximize the potential for prosecution and hefty fines against anyone engaging in public discourse that describes LGBT+ people in a positive, or even neutral, way—including in ads, books or online.
According to Human Rights Watch, whose Russian office was shut down in April, the law “perpetuates false and damaging messaging that tries to link LGBTQ people with paedophiles.”
By contrast, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, above, has opened the door to legalising same-sex civil unions after the war highlighted a lack of rights and protections for gay soldiers and their partners.
Last December, NPR interview Oxford University professor Dan Healey about Russia’s new laws that make it illegal to spread LGBT+ “propaganda.” He said:
You can’t see the anti-LGBT campaigning as separate from the war and as separate from this growing authoritarianism in Russian society. And what’s really interesting about the November 9 decree from the president on the protection of traditional values is the way that it takes the initiatives of the Kremlin around traditional values and bundled them together and made them a kind of security concern. So this war is now being fought for traditional values as much as it’s being fought against supposed Nazis who run Ukraine according to the Kremlin narrative.
Asked why he thought certain political movements both in Russia and even in America are increasingly targeting members of communities, Healey replied:
My sense of this is that LGBT communities offer an opportunity to these political groups. They can be raised as a particularly frightening threat to your family in some way that is visceral and that is very emotive, and it motivates a base of support. And particularly where that base of support is close to religious views, there is a lot of crossover there that works for political opportunists who are using official forms of homophobia to define their political stance.
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