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How Baptists became Sectarians and Members of the Opposition

12.07.2011, 18:55

Last Friday the whole country saw how MP Inna Bogslovska, known for her mental issues and open hatred towards the opposition coalition in the Ukrainian parliament, called new enemies, connected with the opposition, some sort of “religious” group.  Included in this category are Baptists, among whom is former Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchinov.

There are hundreds of thousands of Baptists in Ukraine, and now each of them must feel like a member of a “sect,” because in our country it’s not important whom you consider yourself, but whom you are considered by those in power and the courts. It will be interesting to see if President Yanukovich, who calls all religions “equal” and is a member of Bogslovska’s political party, will apologize on her behalf.

Here is the relevant excerpt from their exchange (First National Channel, July 8, 2011):

Inna Bogoslovska: Mr. Turchinov can only say what he says because he has been the right hand man of [former prime minister] Tymoshenko his whole life...  And everything going on right now with Tymoshenko, the criminal investigations, are thereby also connected to Mr. Turchinov... Mr. Turchinov certainly knows how to talk, because he is part of a sect, lectures in that sect every week, and he knows how to raise his eyes to heaven and lie, he has done so many times…

Oleksandr Turchinov: … I would also like to thank Mr. Shuster, who under the circumstances couldn’t invite Tymoshenko, but still let us speak.  Things have come to the point where we organized a peaceful protest in front of the Pechersky courthouse.  And I will give you an answer, I don’t know what sect you’re a part of, but I preach in a Baptist church.

Inna Bogoslovska: What is that?

Oleksandr Turchinov: It’s a Protestant Christian group, and they make up a majority of the population in most civilized countries worldwide, in the United States of America, in Switzerland.

Inna Bogoslovska: Is it a canonical church?

Oleksandr Turchinov: I don’t know what you mean by canonical, but I want to say again that in Protestants countries there is order, because they, at the very least, don’t take bribes.

 * * *

Our MPs are not only wise, but they also know all the flaws of Western democracy, and do everything possible to keep our country from becoming democratic.  Our MPs are not only effective, because they know everything about economics, but on the backdrop of a serious crisis throughout the country they are adding billions to their fortunes. Moreover, our MPs are the most enlightened and the most tolerant, because they know about the “real church” and her enemies—sects. It turns out that the real experts on sects are those in power, not religious scholars.  When those in power “take care” of everything, they become a threat.

When German pastor Martin Niemöller joined the opposition to Hitler’s regime, he was defending the right of the Church to serve God alone, not the government.  For Bogoslovska, as for Hitler, all pastors are sect-leaders.  For her everyone outside of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church are sectarians. Niemöller uttered these words, which have become textbook, though not for our post-Soviet people:First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Today they came for the opposition, and no one is speaking out.  Tomorrow they will come for the Baptists, the “sectarians,” and society will remain silent.  But who will then protect the ordinary man, when he becomes the object of oppression, and when it is so easy to be classified as a sectarian, oppositionist, or terrorist? You say you’re not a member of a sect? Don’t be so confident, Bogoslovska knows the truth about you.  And don’t think about defending yourself—Kireyev [the judge presiding over Tymoshenko’s trial] will easily prove your guilt.