Jesus promised his followers, back when he was alive, that they would take over the world when God’s new Kingdom arrived: ‘Blessed are the meek,’ he’s reported as saying in Matthew 5.5, ‘for they shall inherit the earth.’ He failed to tell them that this inheriting wouldn’t be any time soon, even though he himself thought it would be (Mark 13.26-30). Even so, Christians today fully expect JC to return any day now to vindicate them and turn the world over to them. Then, the meek – assuming that Jesus meant ‘Christians’ when (and if) he used the term – will inherit the Earth, whatever that actually means.
Back in the early 1980’s, when I was a Christian myself, I campaigned, in a very small way, for persecuted believers in the pre-Gorbachev Soviet Union. Together with others in my church, I spoke out against the clampdown of Christian worship, restrictions on the availability of the Bible and the harsh punishments meted out for exercising faith. Certainly believers in Russia were meek and humble then, because they had no other choice.
How things have changed in the intervening thirty years. Now in Russia, under Putin, faith is supported and encouraged and formerly persecuted Christians have the upper hand. They have the ear of the Kremlin and are influential in deciding policy especially in so far as it relates to ‘morals’.
And do those Christians, having known the scourge of persecution, say, ‘we cannot support the persecution of others; we disliked it when it was done to us and, in the words of our saviour, we recognise we should treat others as we ourselves would wish to be treated’ (Luke 6.31)?
What do you think? You think the meek, having found acceptance themselves and inherited positions of respectability and influence, use their new prominence to defend other minorities who are now being persecuted?
Of course not. The church in Russia endorses, supports and influences the policies of state that have lead to the persecution of people who have ‘non-traditional’ relationships; LGBT people and those who support them. Watch the Channel 4 Dispatches programme ‘Hunted’ (on 4 On Demand, with clips on YouTube) to see how gay people in Russia are hunted, tortured and humiliated. Witness a so-called Christian proudly relate how he shot a young gay man in the face with a ‘non-lethal weapon’ because he was carrying a rainbow flag. See Father Sergei Rybko from the Russian Orthodox Church demonstrate true Christian love when he says:
Even cattle don’t engage in this (homosexuality). I just consider them spiritually and morally ill. Something is not right here (in their heads)… they’ve started to plant the idea in young people’s minds that this is normal, that they are just a bit different… Well excuse me, paedophiles and sex offenders are just different too. Murderers and thieves are just different – so we should also give them freedom to do what they want? Where gays are allowed, paedophilia will soon flourish. Permitted evil gives rise to more evil. Paedophiles, gays and people like this are basically serving the Devil.
Church condoned persecution of homosexuals is what we can expect when God’s Gentle People inherit the Earth. We know this because it’s happened before, many times in history. When Christians get the upper hand, others suffer, whether they’re Jews, women, children accused of witchcraft or LGBT people.
Mercifully, Jesus was wrong, as he was about so much, when he promised the meek would inherit the Earth: they will never hold sway over the entire globe and for that, we should all be eternally grateful.