- The Washington Times - Monday, March 7, 2022

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church said his country’s invasion of Ukraine was a divine mission in opposition to gay rights.

According to a Monday report in the Moscow Times, Patriarch Kirill backed Russia’s “military operation” in Ukraine and called it a conflict over “which side of God humanity will be on.”

He drew attention to Ukraine‘s gay-pride parades and pro-LGBT laws, and called them a “loyalty test” and an example of Ukraine’s attempting to refashion itself in the cultural image of NATO nations.

“Pride parades are designed to demonstrate that sin is one variation of human behavior. That’s why in order to join the club of those countries, you have to have a gay pride parade,” he said in his sermon for Forgiveness Sunday, the last Sunday before the start of Lent in the Orthodox calendar.

“We know that if people or countries reject these demands, they are not part of that world, they become strangers to it,” Kirill said.

But, he noted, Russia and the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, which de facto broke away from Ukraine in 2014 and run by pro-Russia separatists, have “fundamentally rejected” those tests.

“For eight years there have been attempts to destroy what exists in Donbas,” Kirill said. “In Donbas there is a rejection, a fundamental rejection of the so-called values that are offered today by those who claim world power.”

The Russian church leader also resorted to apocalyptic language of civilizational clashes to describe the war, saying it was “far more important than politics.”

“If humanity accepts that sin is not a violation of God’s law, if humanity accepts that sin is a variation of human behavior, then human civilization will end there,” he said.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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