RussiaNovember 8 2022, 14:01 pm

Christian Nationalists Rising in the Republican Party; Many Support Putin and Want to End Support for Ukraine

On the day before US mid-term elec­tions, US media is report­ing on the Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and its role in sup­port­ing Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin while oppos­ing mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine. Accord­ing to a report in The Intercept:

Novem­ber 7, 2022 The Cen­tral Ques­tion loom­ing over the 2022 midterm elec­tions is whether the Repub­li­can Par­ty is mor­ph­ing into a fascis­tic orga­ni­za­tion that wants to end the messy busi­ness of elec­tions, vot­ing, and democ­ra­cy and cre­ate a right-wing autoc­ra­cy instead. Ever since Don­ald Trump’s efforts to over­turn the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, cul­mi­nat­ing in the Jan­u­ary 6 insur­rec­tion and fol­lowed by Repub­li­can efforts to down­play the coup attempt, it has become increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult to tell the dif­fer­ence between the Repub­li­can main­stream and the party’s extrem­ist fringe.If the Repub­li­cans pre­vail and gain con­trol of Con­gress, one of the first tests of their true inten­tions will come when they must decide whether to sup­port con­tin­ued U.S. mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine in its defense against this year’s bru­tal Russ­ian inva­sion. In a Repub­li­can-con­trolled Con­gress, votes on aid to Ukraine are like­ly to reveal a sharp divide between tra­di­tion­al, hawk­ish Repub­li­cans who oppose the Russ­ian inva­sion and have sup­port­ed the Biden administration’s mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine, and the new and grow­ing fac­tion of the Chris­t­ian evan­gel­i­cal move­ment known as Chris­t­ian nation­al­ists, many of whom admire Russ­ian dic­ta­tor Vladimir Putin and want to cut off Amer­i­can sup­port for Ukraine. Votes on Ukraine will serve as a barom­e­ter of whether tra­di­tion­al Repub­li­cans still have any influ­ence, and whether they have the will to stand up to the rise of extrem­ism with­in their ranks.

The report goes on to char­ac­ter­ize Chris­t­ian Nation­al­ists and their admi­ra­tion for Putin:

Chris­t­ian nation­al­ists rep­re­sent a fright­en­ing dynam­ic with­in the Repub­li­can Par­ty. They are theocrats who don’t believe in the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state and who argue that the Unit­ed States was found­ed as a “Chris­t­ian” nation and needs to return to those ori­gins. They despise West­ern sec­u­lar­ist cul­ture; fear white demo­graph­ic decline; and deeply resent fem­i­nism, homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, abor­tion rights, and even indi­vid­u­al­ism, which they see as a mod­ern con­cept at odds with a more tra­di­tion­al, hier­ar­chal soci­ety. Chris­t­ian nation­al­ists now dom­i­nate the extreme right of the Repub­li­can Par­ty, and they have come to believe that Putin is a war­rior for Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ism and that his inva­sion of Ukraine is one step in his cam­paign to crush the glob­al woke left. The intra-par­ty fight over aid to Ukraine could be the first bat­tle in a long war for con­trol over the Repub­li­can Party’s for­eign pol­i­cy. Chris­t­ian nation­al­ists see Putin as the leader in a pow­er­ful right-wing coun­ter­at­tack against lib­er­al sec­u­lar­ism and as a pro­tec­tor of their Chris­t­ian faith. Putin has encour­aged this sup­port from Chris­t­ian nation­al­ists in the Unit­ed States and oth­er West­ern nations by co-opt­ing the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church and wag­ing a cul­ture war inside Rus­sia, notably with anti-gay and oth­er sup­pos­ed­ly “pro-fam­i­ly” mea­sures. Now, many in the Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty open­ly want Putin to crush Ukraine’s pro-West­ern gov­ern­ment and win the war. They will­ing­ly accept Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion and often par­rot Moscow’s lies about Ukraine.

Final­ly, the report iden­ti­fies some of the promi­nent Repub­li­can Chris­t­ian Nationalists:

  • Rep. Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene is one of the loud­est voic­es of Chris­t­ian nation­al­ism in Con­gress, and one of the few who doesn’t shy away from the term in pub­lic. Ear­li­er this year, she spoke at an event held by a white nation­al­ist group where many in the crowd chant­ed, “Putin! Putin!” Last week, Greene told a ral­ly in Iowa that Con­gress would cut off fund­ing for Ukraine if Repub­li­cans gain con­trol. “Under Repub­li­cans, not anoth­er pen­ny will go to Ukraine.”
  • Mean­while, Wendy Rogers, an Ari­zona state sen­a­tor, tweet­ed in Feb­ru­ary that Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­skyy was a “glob­al­ist pup­pet for Soros and the Clintons.”
  • “I got­ta be hon­est with you, I don’t real­ly care what hap­pens to Ukraine one way or the oth­er,” J.D. Vance, a Repub­li­can can­di­date for Sen­ate in Ohio, said ear­li­er this year. (He lat­er dialed that back, say­ing, “Vladimir Putin is the bad guy in this sit­u­a­tion,” while claim­ing that “we can­not fund a long-term mil­i­tary con­flict that I think ulti­mate­ly has dimin­ish­ing returns for our own country.”)
  • For­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump now rec­og­nizes the grow­ing pow­er of the Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and has been using pro-Putin, anti-Ukraine rhetoric at his ral­lies and else­where. He’s claimed that Putin has been “smart” in his inva­sion of Ukraine.
    “So Putin is now say­ing it’s inde­pen­dent, a large sec­tion of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peace­keep­er. That’s the strongest peace force,” Trump said.
  • Along with Trump, Fox News pun­dit Tuck­er Carl­son has also been using pro-Putin, anti-Ukraine talk­ing points, pro­vid­ing a plat­form for Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion dur­ing the U.S. elec­tion cam­paign. A feed­back loop has devel­oped between Carl­son and Putin: Carl­son will par­rot Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da on Fox News, and then gov­ern­ment-con­trolled Russ­ian tele­vi­sion will show that Carl­son has repeat­ed those lies.

The Inter­cept report char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Repub­li­can Chris­t­ian Nation­al­ists match­es what the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has been call­ing the Glob­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Alliance (GNCA), described in a GIOR report as follows:

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent PUTIN has expressed an inter­est in Rus­sia becom­ing the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of a new glob­al con­ser­v­a­tive alliance, and Euro­pean far-right lead­ers have tak­en pro-Russ­ian posi­tions based on a sim­i­lar ide­ol­o­gy. Hun­gary is at the cen­ter of a devel­op­ing alliance between Euro­pean far-right nation­al­ists and Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives that Rus­sia could poten­tial­ly exploit for use in infor­ma­tion war­fare. This alliance oper­ates under the rubric of “Nation­al Con­ser­vatism,” cen­tered on nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and oppo­si­tion to glob­al insti­tu­tions and rep­re­sent­ing a poten­tial­ly rad­i­cal change for the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment away from long-held Rea­gan-era philosophies.

Read the full report here.

The GIOR report iden­ti­fies a series of inter­na­tion­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive con­fer­ences spon­sored by the Edmund Burke Foun­da­tion, bring­ing togeth­er lead­ing Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive fig­ures from around the world. A US media report describes the Chris­t­ian Nation­al­ist themes that dom­i­nat­ed the most recent of these con­fer­ences, held in Mia­mi, Flori­da, from Sep­tem­ber 11 — Sep­tem­ber 13:

Repeat­ed­ly, speak­ers here framed the ongo­ing fight against the Amer­i­can left in bib­li­cal terms — a “reli­gious bat­tle” in which Repub­li­cans must be unafraid to use state pow­er to thwart pro­gres­sive goals not just in gov­ern­ment, but the pri­vate sphere, too. Those at the gath­er­ing often argued both the cul­ture wars and a chang­ing econ­o­my are a bat­tle of Chris­t­ian ideals vs. a new age sec­u­lar­ism. Again and again through­out the three-day Nation­al Con­ser­vatism Con­fer­ence, or Nat­Con, these right-wing thinkers argued for putting an end to the era of small-gov­ern­ment con­ser­vatism while pro­mot­ing reli­gion at the cen­ter of pub­lic life. Clos­ing the con­fer­ence, Albert Mohler, pres­i­dent of the South­ern Bap­tist The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, argued the divide in the coun­try was one between Chris­t­ian the­ol­o­gy and a “woke reli­gion that is rais­ing itself up as the offi­cial state ide­ol­o­gy,” adding that “inso­far as con­ser­vatism as a move­ment has a future, it is a future that is going to be increas­ing­ly tied to explic­it the­o­log­i­cal claims.

Read the rest here.

In his recent speech mark­ing the annex­a­tion of occu­pied Ukrain­ian provinces, Putin invoked extrem­ist Chris­t­ian themes to sup­port the Russ­ian occu­pa­tion. Accord­ing to EU media:

Sep­tem­ber 30, 2022 Using star­tling rhetoric, Putin por­trayed the annex­a­tion as a holy war against the West, which is help­ing Ukraine to defend itself. “They [the West] are mov­ing toward open satanism,” he said in a speech broad­cast to mil­lions online. West­ern elites were teach­ing “sex­u­al devi­a­tion” to chil­dren who changed their gen­der, he said. “We’re fight­ing for his­tor­i­cal Rus­sia, to pro­tect our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren from this exper­i­ment to change their souls,” he added. Putin invoked Jesus by name to bear wit­ness to his “truth” and por­trayed him­self in mes­sian­ic terms.“I believe in the spir­i­tu­al pow­er of the Russ­ian peo­ple and my spir­it is its spir­it, the suf­fer­ing of the peo­ple is my suf­fer­ing,” he said.

Read the rest here.

This week, in a mes­sage mark­ing Rus­si­a’s Day of Nation­al Uni­ty, for­mer Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Dmit­ry Medvedev said the task of the father­land was to “stop the supreme ruler of Hell, what­ev­er name he uses — Satan, Lucifer, or Iblis.”

Read the full The Inter­cept report here.

[NOTE: GIOR rec­og­nizes that The Inter­cept has had its share of con­tro­ver­sy but is cur­rent­ly classed as high­ly fac­tu­al by an inde­pen­dent media rat­ing group. We find the arti­cle cit­ed in this post to be of high quality.]



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