|Image from Wikimedia Commons|
Mauro argues that Putin’s Christianity derives from a KGB perversion of theology. One reference he cites is a 2010 post at the American Enterprise Institute which discusses an article written by “a retired operations officer in the Clandestine Services Division of the Central Intelligence Agency.” He extracts a portion of that post which explains how the KGB infiltrated Christianity and introduced liberation theology. But he leaves out another important part of that post:
Chapman also details the growth of liberation theology in Latin America—and the Vatican’s struggles with it—and the growth of black liberation theology in the United States. Prominent proponents of the latter include James Cone and . . . Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Wright, of course, is the anti-white black supremacist who pastored Chicago Trinity United Church of Christ where Obama attended for years prior to becoming president.
Mauro’s analysis has flaws (no, Russian law prohibiting the targeting of minors with deviant propaganda is not “fundamentally anti-democratic”) but it’s worth reading. However, the charge that Putin’s Christianity is Marxist and therefore must be rejected should force people to ask why Obama’s Christianity shouldn’t also be rejected since it too is Marxist. Yet I don’t believe anyone has asked that question. And that’s not surprising since criticizing Obama’s Christianity might not be welcome in the public square.
People have vigorously defended Obama’s Christianity since he became a national figure. A group called the Matthew 25 Network promoted Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a, “devoted family man and a new kind of politician, who is able to energize the faith community around not just the sin issues, but compassion issues.” And Jim Wallis, a national religious leader, denounced James Dobson, another national religious leader, for criticizing Obama. Wallis claimed that Dobson’s criticisms of Obama, “not only damage your credibility, they slander Barack Obama who, you should remember, is a brother in Christ. . . .” Years later John Fea, who “. . . chairs the History Department at Messiah College in Grantham, PA,” called Obama a “devout Christian” and said that:
Obama may be the most explicitly Christian president in American history. If we analyze his language in the same way that historians examine the religious language of the Founding Fathers or even George W. Bush, we will find that Obama’s piety, use of the Bible, and references to Christian faith and theology put most other American presidents to shame on this front. I think there may be good reasons why some people will not vote for Obama in November, but his commitment to Christianity is not one of them.
Fea later doubled down on his claim of Obama being one of the most Christian presidents ever as he complained about being the victim of incivility and vitriol from people who criticized his assessment.
But regardless of how the public might receive criticism of Obama’s Christianity, it’s clearly now logical to question it. After all, if both Putin and Obama subscribe to liberation theology, and Christians “must” reject Putin’s Christianity, then shouldn’t Christians be required to reject Obama’s Christianity as well?
Analyzing Putin and identifying where he’s wrong and looking for how he might be subverting Christianity for his own purposes is a good thing. If people think his Christianity is false and that Christians should reject it that’s also a legitimate argument to make. But at the same time they should remember that Obama’s Christianity is the same as Putin’s. And if people are going to insist that Christians reject Putin’s Christianity then they should also insist that Christians need to reject Obama’s as well.