Is Ukraine Our New Spiritual Crusade?
By Ralph Benko
Pitting the U.S. military against Russian forces could trigger, and enmesh the United States and our European allies in, World War III. President Biden is right not to engage in direct combat with Russia, a nuclear power.
The valorous Ukrainian resistance forces are proving a ferocious match for the demoralized Russian troops. Ukraine, given the tools, can finish the job.
Yet there is more to be done.
Ukraine’s liberty and sovereignty is rightfully an American cause. There is a safer way to take a powerful stand for Ukraine, one alluded to in my previous column.
Let Americans, and people of faith worldwide, serve as Spiritual Justice Warriors. Let’s blunt Putin’s claws by denying him his spurious claim to legitimacy.
Attacking a sovereign’s legitimacy is powerful. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense triggered the American Revolutionary War by attacking the legitimacy of the British monarchy.
Welcome to the war of ideas.
As Jeanne Whalen reports in The Washington Post writing on the divisiveness of the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church’s collusion with Putin:
“’Any war has to have guns and ideas,’ said Cyril Hovorun, professor of ecclesiology, international relations and ecumenism at University College Stockholm. ‘In this war the Kremlin has provided the guns, and I believe the church is providing the ideas.’ In the process, Kirill has caused deep schisms in the global Orthodox Church, with priests in Ukraine, elsewhere in Europe and the United States condemning his support.”
“Any war has to have guns and ideas.”
How would this work? Pew reports that only 7% of the population of the Russian Federation were, at last count, regular churchgoers. However, the number identifying as Russian Orthodox more than doubled from 1991 to 2008 to over 70%, with the number of those reporting no religious affiliation plunged from 61% to 18%.
The Achilles heel in Putin’s popularity, and purchase on power, is a claim to moral legitimacy both false and falsifiable. That claim is ultimately rooted in the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church whose patriarch has crossed over to the Dark Side.
Discredit his claims to legitimacy and Putin’s political house of cards collapses. Tom Paine’s stripping the British monarch of any claim to legitimacy legitimized, and thus brought about, the American Revolution.
It is hard to overestimate Paine’s slender pamphlet’s impact. Per History.com:
“As John Adams wrote to his wife in April 1776: ‘Common Sense, like a ray of revelation, has come in seasonably to clear our doubts, and to fix our choice.’ As Thomas Jefferson biographer Joseph J. Ellis has written, Common Sense ‘swept through the colonies like a firestorm, destroying any final vestige of loyalty to the British crown.’”
Paine’s main critique was not England’s brutal misrule, nor the tyranny of taxation without representation, nor the virtue of independence. Paine indicted the legitimacy of monarchy in all ways, including spiritual:
“Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honours to their deceased kings, and the Christian World hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones.”
Yes, Paine went on to argue for the practicality and the benefits of America becoming its own, self-governing, continental entity. Yes, he argued for the excellent prospects for American victory.
That said, his kill shot was the illegitimacy of monarchy. Let America return to first principles.
The West is in enthusiastic solidarity with Ukraine, providing humanitarian aid and combat materiel. Necessary, but not sufficient.
It is imperative that we fight the fire of Putin’s fraudulent moral pretensions with the fire of spiritual and moral legitimacy, becoming Spiritual Justice Warriors.
Whatever Joe Biden’s several imperfections, we elected a president who attends church regularly. President Biden, thus, has exceptional standing to play Spiritual Justice Warrior against the nihilistic Vladimir Putin’s moral and spiritual swindle.
And liberate Ukraine.
To liberate Ukraine, and save our own souls, let orthodox faith leaders, in America and around the world, lead a spiritual crusade to anathematize a heresy-mongering patriarch and his phony political whelp.
For you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free. The introduction to Tom Paine’s Common Sense concludes its introduction:
“The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind. … The laying a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all mankind, and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the concern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling… .”
Jefferson called it an “Empire of Liberty.”
America became its capital.
Nihilism delenda est.
Glory to Ukraine!
Used by permission. Originally published in Newsmax – Let Spiritual Justice Warriors Lead Crusade to Liberate Ukraine