Although the constitution of Ukraine is supposed to ensure religious freedom, President Volodomyr Zelensky is “closing churches belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” and is “arresting priests and nuns,” reported FNC’s Tucker Carlson.
He added that this is “absolutely shameful” and that Christian leaders in the U.S. apparently are saying nothing about it.
On the March 13 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Carlson said, “So, in order to support Joe Biden’s policy in Ukraine, you have to support what the government of Ukraine is doing with American tax dollars, including cracking down on faithful Christians within the borders of Ukraine.”
“Zelenskyy is now closing churches belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” said Carlson. “He says the country needs spiritual independence…. So why aren’t Christian leaders in the United States saying anything about this and instead endorsing it effectively, as Russell Moore and many others have?” (Moore is the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today and an influential Baptist minister.)
“This seems like a big deal,” he added. “I can’t remember in my lifetime, a European country closing churches and throwing Christians in jail at this scale. Why do no Christian leaders here notice it?”
In response, guest Megan Basham, a Daily Wire reporter and author, said it was very surprising because Zelensky’s government is “ejecting monks from an 11th Century monastery. There are saints buried beneath this church and you don’t see this type of behavior in liberal democracies.”
“There has really been total silence as he has begun doing what can in many ways be called persecution of members of the Ukrainian Orthodox faith,” said Basham. “So why is that silence there?”
She continued, “I would even point to the fact that we’re not even seeing a lot of coverage of it from outlets like Christianity Today, which Russell Moore is the editor-in-chief of, and that’s just a big question that I have. How can you write so many essays about Trump, who hasn’t been in office for three years now, but really say nothing about what is religious persecution?”
In concluding the segment, Carlson said, “Well, it’s absolutely shameful. They are closing churches and arresting priests? And Christian leaders here saying nothing about it? I think that’s — I think it is genuinely shameful and I appreciate your reporting on the subject.”
In December 2022, the Zelensky government announced it was writing a law to ban churches that are “affiliated with Russia,” reported Reuters. Zelensky claimed the goal was to prevent Moscow from trying to “weaken Ukraine from within.”
At the same time, Ukrainian security services started raiding churches belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is under the ecclesial jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Spokesman Metropolitan Kliment said that his church “has always acted within the framework of Ukrainian law,” reported Reuters. “Therefore, the state of Ukraine does not have any legal grounds to put pressure on or repress our believers.”
On March 12, 2023, Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders claimed the Russian Orthodox Church was hurting the country and collaborating with Moscow.
Two days previous, March 10, the Ukrainian government had ordered the Russian Orthodox Church “to leave its base in the 980-year-old Pechersk Lavra monastery complex, prompting Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to ask Pope Francis and other religious leaders to help stop the crackdown.”
“We will continue this movement,” said Zelensky. “We will not allow the terrorist state any opportunity to manipulate the spiritual life of our people, to destroy Ukrainian shrines — our Lavras — or to steal values from them.”
At the 24th Congress of the World Russian People’s Council in October 2022 one of the speakers was Alexander Dugin, a Russian political philosopher and reportedly an unofficial adviser to Putin.
“We are, of course, in a very real war,” said Dugin in reference to Ukraine. “This war is not only a war of armies, of men, it is also a war of the spirit. This is very important.”
“It is a war of Heaven against Hell,” he said. “It is a war of the angelic armies. It is a war of the army of the Archangel Michael against the devil.”
Dugin continued, “[W]e are Holy Russia, as His Holiness the Patriarch says, and we are confronted by forces of absolute global historical evil. Hence, more and more often we are talking about Armageddon, the end times, and the Apocalypse.”
“This is all taking place before our eyes,” he said. “We are taking part in the final (maybe the penultimate — no one knows) and very important battle. Without a spiritual, ideological, intellectual dimension, we cannot win.”
Reporting from MRC.