Historian Bethany Moreton explains the links between American conservatives (and conservative evangelicals) and Russia. Here is a taste of her piece at The Washington Post:
From 1992 to 1997, a consortium of major U.S. evangelical organizations raised $60 million to bring former Soviets to Jesus through Bible studies, Christian video courses, biblical marriage conferences and public school curriculums.
As in the 1920s, the connection between Christian sexual morality and private property relations was self-evident: The Christian College Coalition joined Russian counterparts to create a Christian business degree. And they did this with the approval of the Russian Ministry of Education, which invited the American evangelical ministry Campus Crusade for Christ to teach “Christian Ethics and Morality” to tens of thousands of Russian educators. American Christians, it seemed, could help the former atheist libertines find their way to market values and family values, for the two were mutually dependent.
What these missionaries could not have foreseen, however, was that the conversions would run both ways: Eastern Orthodox Christianity would attract Americans searching for a robustly conservative faith. In 1987, pastors from within the heart of U.S. evangelicalism officially incorporated 2,000 American evangelicals into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The mass conversion stemmed from White Protestant disillusionment with the freestyle worship, therapeutic ethos and perceived feminine emotionalism of their old church homes — what one influential critic labeled “The Church Impotent.” “Evangelical churches call men to be passive and nice (think ‘Mr. Rogers’),” explained a convert. “Orthodox Churches call men to be courageous and act (think ‘Braveheart’).” Such celebration of masculinity is one reason Orthodoxy is majority male, unlike any other American Christian denomination.
Read the entire piece here.
Of course all or most of the reasons Moreton mentions here (missionary work, Christian education, conversions to Orthodoxy) could also explain why most evangelicals, including members of the Christian Right, oppose Putin’s invasion and support Ukraine. There have also been longstanding connections between American evangelicals and Ukraine. An article about these connections would be more representative of the American evangelicals response to the Russian invasion.
Moreton mentions an organization called “The Christian College Coalition.” I am not familiar with this organization. Perhaps Moreton means the Council for Christian College & Universities or the Christian College Consortium.
CORRECTION (March 7 at 10:28pm EST): “The Christian College Coalition” changed its name to the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities in 1995. Moreton’s terminology is correct. I apologize for any confusion this has caused.
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