According to an investigation by the Center Against Religious Extremism, a group of evangelical leaders in the United States who hold fringe views about overthrowing the federal government have formed an unlikely alliance with the Kremlin — and they have powerful friends in the religious right.

Cutting against growing tensions between the United States and Russia, influential and politically well-connected, Tea Party-aligned American evangelical leaders – including one who has called for a “military takeover” – who hold dominionist or even theocratic political leanings and are tied to former high-level U.S. military and intelligence community members, have over the past decade allied with one of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s closest political allies, Vladimir Yakunin.

[…] Joyner’s call for a “military takeover” and “martial law” did not lead major religious right “family values” (and ostensibly patriotic) organizations such as the Family Research Council (FRC), the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), or the American Family Association (AFA) to ostracize Joyner or distance themselves from his Oak Initiative organization. Rather, these groups signed onto a coalition that opposes Weinstein’s MRFF (Military Religious Freedom Foundation) and whose membership includes the Oak Initiative, whose president Rick Joyner in late 2013 stated, amidst substantial critical media scrutiny, that he “will stand by” his apparent call for a military coup.

As author Bruce Wilson explains, there is much more going on here than harmless religious rhetoric. Militancy and armed insurrection are constant themes, and these people are completely serious about their sedition. Linked to the powerful organizations behind the National Prayer Breakfast and the billionaire-sponsored ‘The Gathering,’ Joyner and his confederates actively work to undermine the legitimacy of the United States government, spreading fringe conspiracy theories as gospel among their millions of believers.

The group of leaders named by Wilson all subscribe to a ‘Fourth-Generation warfare’ theory in which small, determined groups — such as the Bolsheviks, whom they openly admire — degrade the foundations of the state while positioning themselves to take power when things crumble. To that end, Vladimir Yakunin has been increasing his ties to

local and grassroots initiatives challenging federal authority such as the American militia movement and a new national organization of county sheriffs called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, whose members pledge to refuse to enforce laws they consider unconstitutional and whose founder declares, “the CSPOA will be the army to set our nation free”.

Head of CSPOA is Mormon former county sheriff Richard Mack, whose frequent appearances at Tea Party and John Birch Society events have during the presidency of Barack Obama helped fuel the resurgence of the militia movement. In the 1990s Mack was the chief lobbyist for Gun Owners of America – headed by militia movement theorist Larry Pratt. Closely associated with the Christian Reconstructionism movement, Pratt contributed a chapter to the 1990 Christian Reconstructionist anthology Tactics of Christian Resistance (another chapter of the book was contributed by Herbert Schlossberg, a featured speaker in 1997 at the elite multimillionaire and billionaire evangelical right funding confab known as The Gathering.)

As described in an important report from the Boston-based nonprofit Political Research Associates, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association is part of a broader effort associated with the neo-Confederate linked Nullification movement to promote states’ rights and delegitimize the federal government.

None of this is actually surprising. Links between the homophobic American religious right and Russian anti-gay laws are well-known, while Moscow-based attempts to organize an international anti-gay movement with American religious right extremists have received attention for a while. Putin is in fact quite popular with conservatives for the ‘decisiveness’ of his dictatorship, and he blames American agents for the actions of every civil society organization in Russia. It makes perfect sense that he would use his friend as a cutout to form ties with Americans who, with continued electoral gridlock and a little luck, can one day fulfill his dream of shattering the United States to make the world safe for Russian hegemony.

  • muselet

    Thirty years ago, these charming people would have been demanding the arrest for treason of anyone saying anything good about Russia or bad about the US. Now, they’re openly talking about overthrowing the US government and are cozying up to a tiny Russian ex-spook with a Napoleon complex.

    They’d be amusing if they weren’t dangerous.

    –alopecia

    • Buckwheat

      That’s because 30 years ago it was the Soviet Union, still controlled by Zionist oligarchs(Bolsheviks) like Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Putin threw some out and arrested others. The Zionists hate Putin, and apparently have control over the US State Department and probably the intelligence agencies.

      • Your’e spewing paranoid anti-Semitic nonsense. Tighten your tinfoil!

      • muselet

        Wait.

        Are you seriously suggesting that Righties in the United States have themselves a big ol’ crush on Vladimir Putin—or, as I like to call him, Vova, Manly Authoritarian Man Of Action—because he is anti-Zionist? Wouldn’t that mean American Righties are also anti-Zionist?

        I encourage you to test your theory at next year’s CPAC. Just do me one favor: have someone video your encounters. They should be hilarious.

        Oh, and a bit of free advice: wear a cup. You’ll need it.

        Thanks for the laugh.

        –alopecia

        • A cup and a tinfoil hat.

          • muselet

            I’m not sure foil would be enough. Maybe a custom helmet made of a couple of layers of 10-gauge aluminum would work. Or maybe not.

            –alopecia

      • Bitterpeace

        The crazy is strong in this one.

  • Briar

    As a Christian, I find things like this disturbing. The extremists put the rest of us on the chopping block along with their radical ideas. Respectful communication would do us some good.

    • As a non-Christian, I have to say these people are your single biggest obstacle to convincing people like me to join your church.

  • Buckwheat

    The author’s all over evangelical Christians allying with Putin, but not a word about the US State Department caught red handed aiding in the overthrow of Yanukovich in Ukraine and helping to install the Nazi backed Poroschenko.

    • News flash: Russia supports right wing militias in Ukraine, too. In fact, those paramilitary guys in Donetzk are a right wing militia. That’s because the only organized armed groups in Ukraine are all right-wing, which kind of limits any “good” choices a president might make.

  • ORAXX

    Hard core evangelicals may love Jesus, but they love authoritarianism a whole lot more. In Putin, they see someone who does not have to concern himself with the rights of others, and can simply impose his will as he sees feet. Which is exactly what they would love to do to this country.

  • Lazarus

    The amount of ignorance Americans have in regard to Eastern European and Russian history, as well as the history of Christianity from an eastern perspective is really annoying, but I’m not surprised. Look, the USA has been at war for 222 years of the 239 years since 1776. And don’t blame Christianity on this. The founders were masonic, slave master deists, and the most current leader, Obama (champion of the secularists) is involved in more covert war and illegal bombings than ever before. Before Putin, the Soviets were Atheist anti-Church who killed at least 20 million of their own people, often to oppress the old Christian culture. Churches were burned, Priests were publically slain. Now that Russia is no longer in the hands of atheist mass murderers, American secularists are throwing a fit. USA, learn your lesson: Mind your own business!