The Redneck Menace Makes a Move



I have moved on to the road. I am mounted on the pale horse. In horse there is a rose. I carry a banner upon which there is a white rose. A white horse. A white rose, the sign of immortality.

My Rougemont ancestors were Knights Templar that owned the Shroud of Turin. The White Horse makes a ring of protection around the White House. The Redneck Tea Party Traitors have provoked a foreign war.

Jon the Nazarite Judge

In an unscheduled appearance at the White House on Friday afternoon, President Obama said the United States is “deeply concerned” by reports of military movements by the Russian federation inside Ukraine, and warned that “there will be costs for any military intervention.” He added: “Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty… would be deeply destabilizing.”

“What is happening can be called an armed invasion and occupation. In violation of all international treaties and norms. This is a direct provocation for armed bloodshed in the territory of a sovereign state,” Avakov said.

Avakov said troops from the Russian navy’s Black Sea Fleet, berthed principally at the Crimean port of Sevastopol, had also secured entrances to the Belbek military airport near the city.

A parade of priests have denounced any who question Putin. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, took to TV to say that “liberalism will lead to legal collapse and then the Apocalypse.” On another occasion, he called Putin’s rule “a miracle.” When convening the heads and senior members of 15 Orthodox Churches for an unprecedented meeting at the Kremlin in the summer of 2013, Putin praised the moral authority of the church. “It is important that relations between the state and the church are developing at a new level,” Putin said in televised remarks, with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill by his side. “We act as genuine partners and colleagues to solve the most pressing domestic and international tasks, to implement joint initiatives for the benefit of our country and people,” he told the clerics.

Alongside Kirill, those present included Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria, Theophilos III of Jerusalem and Ilia II of Georgia. Also present were the heads of the Bulgarian, Serbian, Polish and Cypriot Orthodox Churches. Together they represented more than 227 million faithful. To my knowledge not one American Orthodox bishop protested this meeting. I’m reminded of the silence of most of the German churches during the rise of Hitler.

As a member of the Orthodox Church, in this case the Greek Orthodox Church, I’m ashamed. Where are the voices of Orthodox leadership, not only in Russia but here, denouncing this awful man and the terror he’s unleashing against gay men and women? Putin has presided over show-trial prosecutions of political opponents and reformers. He’s used the full weight of his government against artists who mock religion. He’s encouraged the liquidation of crusading journalists who have been beaten and murdered. Putin and his government may have been directly involved in at least one such killing.
Now with the approval of the Russian bishops Putin is inventing a new invented enemy to distract attention from his fascist take over of Russia: Russia’s LGBT men and women. As Adam Lee, a writer living in New York City points out in an article published by Alternet, Putin’s “parliament” passed increasingly draconian anti-gay laws. Russian activists have even been arrested for just holding up a signs reading “Gay is normal.”

A bill now under consideration would take away children (both adopted and biological) from gay and lesbian parents. With the Russian Church, parliament and Putin saying that LGBT people aren’t fully human, homophobes in Russia are emboldened. The torture and murder of gay people, by gangs of skinheads assaulting gay-rights protestors in public, with the police looking on,is happening. And American evangelical Christians think this is all great. So, apparently judging by their silence, do American Orthodox church leaders.

NOW American evangelical and Roman Catholic right-wing haters are climbing aboard the Russian hate parade .As cited by Adam Lee we find that–
◾On the Christian news site OneNewsNow, is the headline, “Russia sees America’s error, may ban public homosexuality.” It quotes Tim Todd, the head of Revival Fires International Ministries and an “evangelist who works in Russia,” as saying he “believes the move afoot there to ban the public display of homosexuality is because the nation’s leaders–both political and religious–have seen the damage American culture has suffered from the homosexual movement.”
◾Linda Harvey, founder of the anti-gay hate group Mission America, said on her radio program that Christians should pray for the Russian laws to continue, saying that by forbidding gay pride parades and adoption by gay couples, “they are protecting kids… What responsible adult would have a problem with keeping kids on a path of high moral standards?”
◾Peter LaBarbera, an anti-gay evangelical and head of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, said, “Russians do not want to follow America’s reckless and decadent promotion of gender confusion, sexual perversion, and anti-biblical ideologies to youth” (source) and sneered at the idea of offering asylum to Russian LGBT people.
◾Bill Owens, the religious liaison of the National Organization for Marriage, sent out an e-mail saying he was “intrigued” by the Russian law and saw it as a sign of Russia’s leaders “attempting to stem the tide of moral decline.” He also said, “I applaud the Russians for taking a stand for children!”
◾Bryan Fischer, spokesman for the American Family Association, said he wholeheartedly supports the Russian law and has said that, if anything, it doesn’t go far enough: “Heterosexuality is God’s design. Policies that encourage young people to think this are good ideas.”
◾Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, wrote in an editorial for the Daily Caller that “there is no human right to teach school children about sexual practices, neither is there a human right to parade your sexual preferences and practices down public streets.” He also said he “admire[s] some of the things they’re doing in Russia” and that he plans to travel there to meet with government officials to offer his support.
◾Another CFHRI official, Stefano Gemmarini, praised Russia for barring gay pride parades and seemingly implied that some of the fines laid out in the bill aren’t severe enough, saying “$155 is hardly unmanageable for homosexuals who want to kiss in public.”
◾The World Congress of Families, a Christian-right group based in Illinois, plans to hold its 2014 annual conference at the Kremlin in a show of support for the Russian laws. The WCF website says that Russia, “with its historic commitment to deep spirituality and morality, can be a hope for the natural family supporters from all over the world.” A WCF spokesman, Larry Jacobs, added that “Russia could be a great ally for conservatives” and cheered its anti-gay laws as a “great idea” (source).
◾Another American anti-gay group, MassResistance, has praised the Russian laws and said that a mob of thugs who assaulted gay-rights protestors were “provoked” by the protesters kissing in public. This is the same group that’s praised a draconian anti-gay Nigerian law.
◾Scott Lively, an American evangelical who helped draft the proposed Ugandan “Kill the Gays” bill (and who’s being sued in Massachusetts for crimes against humanity because of it), conducted a speaking tour in Russia in 2007 and has praised the anti-LGBT laws for reflecting ideas he advocated at the time. He’s said that “Russia could become a model pro-family society” and went so far as to say that Russia “is becoming a beacon of freedom to those who love God’s design for the family” (source).

The religious right is working to export American-style culture war hate. The far right in America is publicly approving the Russian murder/torture/expelling and harassment of gay men and women. Where are the Orthodox bishops speaking out and denouncing the Russian church for colluding with this regime? Where are the evangelical leaders in the big Christian colleges, the publications, like Christianity Today, and World magazine calling out the evangelicals working to make Putin’s terror acceptable to Americans?

In Kiev, Ukraine’s new interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said the armed men were Russian troops.

The Ukrainian parliament demanded Friday that Russia halt what lawmakers described as violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The legislature called for a U.N. Security Countil meeting on the crisis.

“What is happening can be called an armed invasion and occupation. In violation of all international treaties and norms. This is a direct provocation for armed bloodshed in the territory of a sovereign state,” Avakov said.

Avakov said troops from the Russian navy’s Black Sea Fleet, berthed principally at the Crimean port of Sevastopol, had also secured entrances to the Belbek military airport near the city.

“There is still no direct armed conflict. Diplomats should speak,” Avakov said.

[READ: To understand Crimea, look back at its complicated history]

A spokesman for the Black Sea Fleet denied the reports that its troops are involved in blocking the Belbek airfield, according to the Interfax news agency.

“No subdivision of the Black Sea Fleet has been advanced into the Belbek area, let alone involved in blocking it,” the spokesman said. “Given the unstable situation around the Black Sea Fleet bases in the Crimea, and the places where our service members live with their families, security has been stepped by the Black Sea Fleet’s anti-terror units.”

A Crimea news Web site, Argumenty Nedeli Krym, reported that the armed men carried assault rifles. “As journalists attempted to approach them, one of the servicemen warned that they would shoot to kill,” the Web site said.

At the Belbek airport, armed men and a military transport truck blocked the entrance. Whoever the men were, they did not appear to be civilian militiamen, but trained soldiers.

When a man who appeared to be a Russian officer with two bodyguards approached them, they spread out in defensive positions, squatted and waited for orders.

Dozens of troop transport trucks were scattered along the highway between Sevastopol and Simferopol.

Seven Russian armored personnel carriers were spotted on the roadside outside Sevastopol showing Russian colors. One of the gunners said they were Russian Federation forces from a base in Russia’s Krasnodar region about 180 miles from Sochi.

The mysterious troops at the main airport in Simferopol slowly circulated at the arrival and departure concourses as international flights from Moscow and Istanbul continued as scheduled.

The soldiers refused to answer questions from reporters about who they are and what their mission is.

A dozen pro-Russian civilian self defense militiamen stood by, but not with, the soldiers.

In the Balaklava district near Sevastopol, at least 20 men wearing the uniform of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and carrying automatic rifles surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post Friday, initiating a tense standoff with Ukrainian border police inside, Reuters news agency reported.

A man who identified himself as an officer of the Black Sea Fleet told the agency: “We are here . . . so as not to have a repeat of the Maidan.” He referred to the popular uprising at Kiev’s Independence Square that led to the ouster of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych last weekend.

In the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovych said he would not ask Moscow to intervene militarily in Ukraine, but he stressed that Russia “cannot stand aside” and “cannot be indifferent to the destiny” of his country. He said he “intends to keep fighting for Ukraine’s future” and denounced the new authorities in Kiev as “pro-fascist thugs.”

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin broke his week-long silence on Ukraine with a mixed message. He ordered Russian officials to consult with other nations as well as the International Monetary Fund on means of financial assistance for Ukraine. He also said that efforts to maintain and promote trade between Russia and Ukraine should continue.

At the same time, Putin said Moscow would consider the possibility of sending humanitarian supplies to Crimea.

A Ukrainian legislator from Yanukovych’s political party said Friday that the region, officially called the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, is not trying to secede from Ukraine.

Nestor Shufrych of the Party of Regions said the speaker of the Crimean regional parliament, Volodymyr Konstantynov, had told him by telephone that Crimea was interested only in broadening the terms of its current autonomous status.

“They are not asking for anything more,” Shufrych said. “The autonomous republic’s possible secession from our country is completely out of the question.”

The Ukrainian defense minister, Adm. Ihor Tenyukh, said he planned to go to Crimea later on Friday. The country’s foreign minister has requested talks with his Russian counterpart concerning Crimea.

“We have not received a reply from the Russian side so far,” said the acting foreign minister, Andriy Deshchytsa. “We are open to negotiations and wish an exclusively peaceful resolution of this problem.”

The revolutionary upheaval in Ukraine’s faraway capital has awakened the separatist dreams of ethnic Russians living on the Crimean Peninsula, where on Thursday pro-Russia gunmen who occupied the regional parliament building were met with an outpouring of support.

A group of men dressed in camouflage and armed with rocket-­propelled grenades entered the building early Thursday in the capital of Ukraine’s Crimea region, according to local reporters, then barricaded themselves inside and raised the Russian flag on the roof — a succinct answer to warnings from the United States and Europe that Ukraine must remain united and Russia must stand back.

In the freezing weather outside the parliament, separatist fever was running hot, as newly formed self-defense militias paraded under Russian military colors. They shouted thanks to their Soviet grandfathers who had fought against the Germans in World War II in the siege of nearby Sevastopol, a brutal 250-day campaign that left tens of thousands dead and the city in rubble.

“We want Crimea to return to Russia, pure and simple,” said Igor, a leader of a militia group composed of men who had fought in Afghanistan for the Soviet Union. Like other citizen militiamen, he declined to give his last name.

The demonstrations in Simferopol unnerved the newly appointed government more than 400 miles away in the capital, Kiev.

“Measures have been taken to counter extremist actions and not allow the situation to escalate into an armed confrontation” in the center of Simferopol, said Avakov, the interim interior minister.

By early morning, police had surrounded the Crimean parliament, but they did nothing to oust the men who had stormed inside. The occupation began to seem like a bit of a show; it was possible the gunmen had already departed. Police officers out front showed no fear of anyone inside and, instead, turned their backs to the building, taking frequent breaks to smoke cigarettes and drink tea.

Meanwhile, thousands of ethnic Russians — who make up about half of Crimea’s population — arrived to demonstrate. They issued a warning to recalcitrant lawmakers here to give in to the crowd’s No. 1 demand: a referendum on, at minimum, whether to allow the Crimean Peninsula — an autonomous state — to become an even more independent region, with its own leadership, which many demonstrators hoped would enshrine Russian language and culture.

Others who came to the parliament clearly wanted much more, calling for Crimea to return to the arms of the Russian motherland. “The criminals had their revolution in Kiev, and now we are having ours in Crimea,” said Alexandr, a member of another self-defense brigade. “We’re Russian, and we belong to Russia.”

For all their fervor, the crowds have not been huge, and it is hard to judge how much support the cause of separatism or a more independent region might have across Crimea. The government that was approved in Kiev on Thursday is stepping gingerly to avoid arousing passions. Pravy Sektor, the right-wing nationalist group, has said it will not send its members to the peninsula, to avoid confrontations.

Moscow has expressed displeasure with the upheavals in Ukraine, questioned the legitimacy of the new government and stressed that the West should keep out of the country’s internal affairs. But although Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on Wednesday ordered a large-scale military exercise in regions bordering other parts of Ukraine, triggering concern about a possible intervention, Russia has not signaled any desire to bring Crimea back into its fold.

Even so, members of separatist militias in Crimea, organized under a political party called the Russian Bloc, have begun to flex their muscles. They threw up checkpoints Thursday along the main highway between Sevastopol and Simferopol, operated by men in mismatched camouflage who stood before a hand-painted sign warning: “Those who approach with a sword will die by the sword.”

Until now, it could be illegal, and sometimes dangerous, to advocate separatism in Ukraine. Now it is all the rage, with groups here demanding that Russia reclaim territory that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev gifted to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954. The Russian Black Sea naval fleet is berthed primarily in Sevastopol and supports 15,000 sailors and support staff.

Outside the parliament, voices in the crowd shouted, “Take us back!” as demonstrators unfurled a large Russian flag, sang patriotic Russian songs and denounced as “hooligans” the forces behind Yanukovych’s ouster.

Yanukovych, on the run for several days, appeared Thursday in Moscow, where he was apparently granted Russia’s protection.

Asked what he thought would happen next, a Russian Bloc politician from Sevastopol, Gennadiy Basov, said, “I have no idea.”

Basov said the pro-Russia militias in the Crimea “are prepared to defend our homes and families” from any forces sent by the central government in Kiev.

“Everything coming out of Kiev is illegal,” Basov said.

He and others outside the parliament, stoked on inflammatory Russian TV news shows that repeatedly broadcast images of protesters in Kiev hurling gasoline bombs and advancing with clubs, warned that if they let their guard down, hordes of “fascists” would descend on Crimea.

“They would come to steal, rape and kill,” one man said.

A woman who declined to give her name but described herself as “a Russian housewife from ­Simferopol” boasted that the demonstrators here were peaceful and unafraid to show their faces — ignoring for a moment that the protesters had gathered to support unknown gunmen inside the parliament.

In Kiev, Oleksandr Turchynov, Ukraine’s interim president, warned Moscow that any movement of military personnel off Russia’s naval base in Sevastopol “will be viewed as military aggression.”

Speaking in the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev on Thursday, Turchynov said, “Ukrainian enemies should not try to destabilize the situation, should not encroach on our independence, sovereignty and territory.”

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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