Images are beginning to come out of Russia that are breaking my heart as the Russian Orthodox population, suppressed and oppressed for decades under communist rule, seems to be turning into the oppressor against their LGBT brothers and sisters. If the rhetoric from the Putin government sounds terrifyingly like extreme right wing religious propaganda from here in the states that's because it IS extreme right wing religious propaganda imported from the states.
The 2014 Olympics are scheduled to be held in Sochi. I think that the IOC needs to bring its considerable influence to bear on this matter and I think that all sane nations need to boycott these games should the Russians continue in their brutality. Especially since these laws do not only apply to Russian citizens. If you are an LGBT person vacationing in Russia right now would be a spectacularly bad idea. Do we really believe LGBT foreign athletes will be safe from persecution, prosecution and detention?
What makes me ashamed, rather than JUST angry is that we, American Christendom, have exported this HATE to our brothers and sisters in Russia. Our graceless, hate filled, anti-GLBT rhetoric is no longer just killing our OWN children in droves but it's now killing people we've never met half a world away. I am concerned that this monster we have created may actually now be too big for us to stop. In Russia, just like in Uganda, the seeds were sown by a hate-mongering "pastor" named Scott Lively. I refuse to link to him but here is the LINK to what the Southern Poverty and Law has to say about him and the damage his "work" has wrought worldwide. He is currently facing a lawsuit because of his "work" in Uganda. Does the "Kill the Gays Bill" ring any bells? That little gem is the direct result of Scott Lively and those like him.
It is VERY easy in a country with constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of religion and speech counterbalanced by the principle of the separation of the church from the state to dismiss and overlook the potential for damage these wolves in sheeps clothing are capable of doing but as we are seeing world wide the time for ignoring these fools and hoping they'll go away is long since over. The voice of a handful of extremist evangelicals like Scott Lively set this mess in motion, the collective voices of the sane majority is the best chance we have of stopping this beast before it becomes history repeating itself in a modern replay of the atrocities committed by Hitler against LGBT persons during the holocaust.
It is time for progressive Christians to stand up and be heard. We are a rapidly growing segment of the Church and we have held our tongues and silenced our prophetic voices long enough. Some of us have been able to see for years where the "hate the sin, love the sinner" rhetoric was going to lead. I have never been more saddened to be right. People. Real people. People created in the image of God and beloved by him JUST AS THEY ARE are once again being persecuted and DYING because of our complacency. It is time to say ENOUGH!
Get involved with Amnesty. Get involved with The Trevor Project. Petition the IOC and the White House about our continued plan to host/participate in the 2014 Olympic games in Russia. Whatever way you can make your voice be heard, do it! Our LGBT brothers and sisters around the corner and around the world deserve no less.