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God, Guns, and White Supremacy: More Valuable Commentary About U.S. White Evangelicals' Infatuation with Strongman Putin and What's Driving It

Posted on the 20 July 2018 by William Lindsey @wdlindsy
I keep trying to think of a historical explanation for the nonchalance of GOP leaders and voters about treason at the highest levels of government now, after the Southern strategy gave the GOP a solid base of white evangelical voters from the Old Confederac—
Oh, wait.— 𝚆𝚒𝚕𝚕𝚒𝚊𝚖 𝙳. 𝙻𝚒𝚗𝚍𝚜𝚎𝚢 (@wdlindsy) July 17, 2018

Here's some more commentary for you that I've read today, which shows the clear connections between the white supremacist nationalism that binds together white evangelicals in the U.S. and Russia, as white American evangelicals look to Putin's authoritarian assault on democracy as a model for an American society in which a religious minority will be, they hope, permitted to impose their moral and religious ideas on the majority by force:
Peter Montgomery, "League Of The South Reaches Out To 'Russian Friends'":
Amid the controversy over President Trump's recent summit with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, the neo-Confederate League of the South announced this week that it will soon be introducing a Russian language section to its website. "To our Russian friends," a missive on the League's website, is signed by Michael Hill, the group's president. An excerpt: 
"We understand that the Russian people and Southerners are natural allies in blood, culture, and religion. As fellow Whites of northern European extraction, we come from the same general gene pool. As inheritors of the European cultural tradition, we share similar values, customs, and ways of life. And as Christians, we worship the same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and our common faith binds us as brothers and sisters. 
We Southerners believe in societies based on real, organic factors such as shared blood, culture, and religion, and all that stems naturally from these salient factors in the human experience. As fellow White Christians who are grounded in the sublime traditions of our common European cultural heritage, we believe that the Russian people and the Southern people are natural allies against the destructive and impersonal impulses of globalism." 
Hill, who teaches that the defeat of Nazi Germany was "an unmitigated disaster for Western Christian civilization," warned in this week's post that there are "forces that would like to pit us against one another." He signs off with, "May the God of our Fathers bless our efforts to preserve our peoples and their shared faith and culture."

Allegra Kirkland, "INFOGRAPHIC: Alleged Russian Agent Mariia Butina’s Influence Operation":
As the Washington Post and others have documented, Russia used religion and guns to make inroads with the American conservative community. According to court documents, Butina also used sexual favors as a lure, allegedly offering sex for a position at a special interest organization. 

The Washington Post article linked by Kirkland is Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger's 2016 essay "Guns and religion: How American conservatives grew closer to Putin’s Russia." Here are some excerpts from that excellent examination of what's driving U.S. white evangelicals' infatuation with Strongman Putin:
On issues including gun rights, terrorism and same-sex marriage, many leading advocates on the right who grew frustrated with their country's leftward tilt under President Barack Obama have forged ties with well-connected Russians and come to see that country’s authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, as a potential ally. 
The attitude adjustment among many conservative activists helps explain one of the most curious aspects of the 2016 presidential race: a softening among many conservatives of their historically hard-line views of Russia. To the alarm of some in the GOP’s national security establishment, support in the party base for then-candidate Donald Trump did not wane even after he rejected the tough tone of 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, who called Russia America’s No. 1 foe, and repeatedly praised Putin.

And:
At least one connection came about thanks to a conservative Nashville lawyer named G. Kline Preston IV, who had done business in Russia for years. 
Preston said that in 2011 he introduced David Keene, then the NRA’s president, to a Russian senator, Alexander Torshin, a member of Putin’s party who later became a top official at the Russian central bank. Keene had been a stalwart on the right, a past chairman of the American Conservative Union who was the NRA’s president from 2011 to 2013. 
Neither Keene nor Torshin responded to requests for comment. An NRA spokesman also did not respond to questions. 
Torshin seemed a natural ally to American conservatives. 
A friend of Mikhail Kalashnikov, revered in Russia for inventing the AK-47 assault rifle, Torshin in 2010 had penned a glossy gun rights pamphlet, illustrated by cartoon figures wielding guns to fend off masked robbers. The booklet cited U.S. statistics to argue for gun ownership, at one point echoing in Russian an old NRA slogan: "Guns don't shoot — people shoot." 
Torshin was also a leader in a Russian movement to align government more closely with the Orthodox church. 
"The value system of Southern Christians and the value system of Russians are very much in line," Preston said. "The so-called conflict between our two nations is a tragedy because we're very similar people, in a lot of our values, our interests and that sort of thing.'
Preston, an expert on Russian law whose office features a white porcelain bust of Putin, said he had told Tennessee friends for years not to believe television reports about the Russian leader having journalists or dissidents killed. 
Preston was an international observer of the 2011 legislative elections in Russia, which sparked mass street protests in Moscow charging electoral irregularities. But Preston said he concluded that the elections were free and fair. 
By contrast, Preston said he and Torshin saw violations of U.S. law — pro-Obama signs posted too close to a polling place — when Torshin traveled to Nashville to observe voting in the 2012 presidential election. 
In Russia, Torshin and an aide, a photogenic activist originally from Siberia named Maria Butina, began building a gun rights movement. 
Butina founded a group called the Right to Bear Arms, and in 2013 she and Torshin invited Keene and other U.S. gun advocates to its annual meeting in Moscow.

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