(Salon) -- Russia has re-elected its self-styled leader and saviour, whatever his weaknesses — even his sins. The revelation that the Russian government may have ordered a former spy’s poisoning should provoke international outrage from Vladimir Putin’s fellow Christians, particularly as the holiest Christian festival of Easter approaches.
But then, Putin seems to have his own ideas about acceptable Christian behaviour. Like most people, I watched his recent speech showing Russia’s bigger, badder nuclear arsenal with mixed feelings of surprise and horror. Scary, no matter what the political leanings of a leader. Terrifying, when in the hands of a leader who believes he is, in a deeply religious sense, the saviour of a beleaguered nation now being resurrected.
Spin your globe around and there’s a leader in the White House making similar moves to bolster his nuclear power: the previously apparently non-religious (in an American context, unelectable) Donald Trump. Playing to a base that equates Christianity not with humble morality but with power and cultural purity, Trump performed Mephistophelean manoeuvres to harden opposition to abortion and gun control. In doing so, he won the vote of a conservative Christian right, and provoked criticisms of hypocrisy. How could a a philandering “pussy”-groper win religious votes?
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