Monday, 10 October 2016

Putin's Puritan Piety: The Ideological War against the West

Here is how this article from the Gatestone Institute is introduced:
  • Russia is one of the few countries in the Western world in which religion is becoming increasingly important and not less.
  • To establish his authority on the Russian society, President Vladimir Putin has shaped a doctrine mobilizing the entire Russian society against a perceived Western "decadence". He has declared that Russian traditional family values are a bulwark against the West's "so-called tolerance -- genderless and infertile."
  • The first Cold War was a clash between Western democracy and the Soviet dictatorship of the proletariat. The new Cold War is a one between Western liberalism and Russian conservatism.
 What do you think? The full article is at

In considering this issue, I would remind one of the position of Rav Moshe Feinstein in response to the question of how to respond to the political question of whether to support the Pro Life position or the Pro Choice one. Rav Moshe contended that, since the Pro Life position could include viewpoints that would bar abortion when halachically mandated, we should support the view that a woman should be able to make her own decision in concert with her religious guide -- essentially a Pro Choice stand. Albeit that this does truly reflect the Torah viewpoint on abortion (a law that, through the Noachide Code, also applies to non-Jews), this position will ensure that a Jewess in such a position will be able to fully practice her religion. This is the overriding value of the concept of Freedom of Religion.

What this development in Russia would seem to raise is the issue of whether any movement towards stricter moral standards, motivated by specific religious aspirations, raises a question for Jews, even as these standards may be more in line with Torah teachings. Of concern is the possibility of the development of further religious impositions that may actually limit our practice of Torah.

We look forward to your comments.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

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