Many political leaders have used churches for political purposes and have failed to comply with the second commandment to not use God’s name in vain.
In Latin America, there are plenty of examples of coup d’etats that anchored their actions in an allegorical narrative of religion and family. At the same time, they used the most inhumane, and consequently anti-Christian, tactics including death squads, degrading treatment, and kidnapping to impose this nightmare on their opponents.
In the 17 years of Augusto Pinochet’s regime in Chile, over 40 thousand people suffered crimes against humanity, including torture, executions, and disappearances. General Pinochet once said: “everything I do I dedicate to God.”
Today, Brazil rests in the hands of President Jair Bolsonaro, a self-declared admirer of Pinochet and his methods. “Brazil before everything, and God above all” was the slogan of his campaign. He also won with substantial support from neoPentecostal churches and televangelists.
In contrast, the nondenominational movement all over the world has made significant advances in promoting a culture of peace and in fostering cooperation and solidarity towards different peoples.
Beyond our own continent, we can also recognize the use of the church for anti-Christian ends with the break of the historical tie of over 330 years between the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the Orthodox Church of Russia.
Obviously, this separation emerged in the context of a political, economic, and military realignment between Ukraine and the United States after the coup d’etat of 2014. Because of this, it is not surprising that the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, known for his islamophobic statements and his defense of torture, has expressed support for this split.
And in Ukraine under Petró Poroshenko’s administration, various neo-Nazi groups were operating, including Azov Battalion, and were incorporated into the National Guard and were involved in the kidnapping of Brazilian Rafael Lusvarghi, along with Svoboda Party and S14 paramilitary extremists.
The formula of “Divide and Conquer” is renewed once again, now under the specter of religious geopolitics. Herein lies the question: for whom do the bells toll in the newly created Orthodox church in Ukraine?
*This is an excerpt of a full article in: www.alainet.org