Voices from Russia

Friday, 28 September 2012

Religion and Politics: Why Faith Flourishes This Presidential Election


A poll done by Pew Research Center showed how certain religious groups tend to side with one party over the other. Data like this leads us to suspect that our religious affiliation could determine whom we vote for. Yet, opposing evidence suggests otherwise. The ultimate question is how our faith may just as well influence who wins the American Presidential election this year. In their findings, they compared which religious groups identified with either the Republican or Democratic Party for both 2008 and 2011. The results showed that there was an increase in Mormons leaning toward Republicans, along with Jews and Mainline Protestants.

The ideals that are within any religion are sacred and holy. Still, political commotion could get mixed in with devout congregations, as some talking points are shared between groups. For instance, take gay marriage, which many politicians have a stance on, whether it is acceptable or not, and even abortion. Both of these topics are debated on the campaign trail and within religious groups. Matthew Wilson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University explained to VOR, “Religion is a primary identification. It’s one of the things that we take on from a very early age, and it’s much more all-encompassing than politics is. I mean, religion and our religious commitments shape every aspect of our lives, from our family life, to our life in community, to the values that we bring to our work life, and politics is aspect of that”. Wilson went on to say that he gathers that it’s right to see religion as a more primary attachment, allegiance, and value-set, and politics is kind of a secondary one that might stem from that. Despite religion acting as a stronger base for Americans, in a Gallup survey conducted in 2012, 18 percent of Americans say that they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, that’s nearly one in five.

Debbie Hines trial lawyer, former prosecutor, and legal/political commentator, told VOR, “I don’t accept the premise that religion alone is what affects an overall decision on a vote”. Hines isn’t alone in this opinion. A poll that came out in July of this year stated that 66 percent of Americans believe religion is losing its influence in their life. Some think it’s good that religion isn’t as compelling as it used to be, but only a small proportion accepts this ideology. Hines, who wrote an article on church and politics on the Huffington Post website, said, “The world’s just so much more complicated universally now than what it was earlier, and I think that that ties into religion not having as much as an impact, combined with other factors that have an impact on politics”.

Nobody tells the religion overpowering politics story better than the people themselves. On the Minnesota Public Radio website, they asked their followers if religious beliefs affect the way they vote. Comments on this poll poured in about why they choose the answer they did. Joel said, “The specific religion of a candidate doesn’t impact my voting, but how they engage in their religion does”. Another viewer named Greg posted that religion strongly affects his voting; if he senses that a candidate has strong religious beliefs, he’s inclined not to vote for them. Others contributors said that religion has no power over which politician they select.

As with every social debate over whether or not our faith predicts our future decisions in the voting booth, there always seems to be an exception to this rule. On the Pew Forum, a different report released in September 2012 revealed that the Democratic Party still holds a strong advantage over Republicans with Black Protestants. SMU Professor Wilson clarified, “Race triumphs over religion, race triumphs over economics, African-Americans are overwhelmingly Democratic, have been for 40 years. That holds pretty much, no matter what other allegiances they may hold”. Wilson wrote From Pews to Polling Places, and he’ll be coming out with another book in 2013, on the topic of religion and politics. Even though the percentage is undeniably high amongst this demographic, Hines sees it from a different viewpoint. She said that when it’s all said and done, African-Americans are no different from white Evangelicals, in the sense that they base their voting on their values, on what’s important to them.

Election Day will be here before we know it. Dozens of policies including gay marriage and abortion will cross our minds before we finally pick. A deep influence in that very decision may be the God factor. Nevertheless, definitely, our decision shouldn’t one based solely on religion, but we should ground it in the ideals that are close to our hearts, and which line up with our own moral values.

28 September 2012

Sarah Neary

Voice of Russia World Service



Monday, 5 September 2011

5 September 2011. Terrence Mattingly and Stephen Freeman are Evil Cultists… They Favour the Canonisation of the Paedophile Dmitri Royster!

Many good, salt-of-the-earth po-nashemu folks have been lied to, bilked, taken advantage of, and used for years… someone has to tell the truth… 

A Correspondent


Editor’s Foreword:

Normally, I wouldn’t cut-and-paste anything by this Renovationist fiend… but as there’s bound to be a brouhaha over this disgusting encomium, I want there to be a copy “out there” just in case Mattingly pulls it (not inconceivable). I’m not making any money off of this, it’s for “educational” purposes, and I’m commenting on it, so, it’s covered by “fair use”. In addition, I don’t want to quote snippets out of context; otherwise, squalling konvertsy would accuse me of “cherry-picking”. Therefore, I’ve pasted it in its entirety, in all of its ignorant and stumbling glory. Hold your nose and read it… it’s what the semi-converted konvertsy believe… it’s why they’re NOT Orthodox; it’s why they’re going to leave us in the end…



From Texas Baptist to Orthodox Saint?

Wherever bishops travel, churches plan lavish banquets and other solemn tributes to honour their hierarchs. Visitations by Archbishop Dmitri Royster of the Orthodox Church in America were different, since the faithful in the 14-state Diocese of the South knew that one memorable event would take care of itself. All they had to do was take their leader to a children’s Sunday school class and let him answer questions. During a 1999 visit to Knoxville TN, the lanky Texan folded down onto a kid-sized chair and faced a circle of pre-school and elementary children. With his long white hair and flowing white beard, he resembled an icon of St Nicholas… as in St Nicholas, the monk and 4th century bishop of Myra.

As snacks were served, a child asked if Dmitri liked his doughnuts plain or with sprinkles. With a straight face, the scholarly archbishop explained that he had theological reasons… based on centuries of church tradition… for preferring doughnuts with icing and sprinkles. A parent in the back of the room whispered, “Here we go”. Some of the children giggled, amused at the sight of the bemused bishop holding up a colourful pastry as if he was performing a ritual. He said, “In Orthodoxy, there are seasons in which we fast from many of the foods we love. When we fast, we should fast. But when we feast, we should truly feast and be thankful”. Thus, he reasoned, with a smile, that doughnuts with sprinkles and icing were “more Orthodox” than plain doughnuts. Archbishop Dmitri made that Knoxville trip to ordain yet another priest in his diocese, which grew from a dozen parishes to 70 during his three decades. The 87-year-old missionary died last Sunday (28 August) in his simple bungalow… complete with leaky kitchen roof… next to St Seraphim Cathedral, the parish he founded in 1954. Parishioners were worried the upstairs floor might buckle under the weight of those praying around his deathbed.

The future archbishop was raised Southern Baptist in the town of Teague TX, before moving to Dallas. As teens, Royster and his sister became intrigued with the history of the major Christian holidays and began visiting a variety of churches, including an Orthodox parish. The services were completely in Greek, but they joined anyway… decades before evangelical-to-Orthodox conversions became common. During World War II, the young Texan learned Japanese in order to interrogate prisoners of war, while serving on General Douglas MacArthur’s staff. A gifted linguist, he later taught Greek and Spanish classes on the campus of Southern Methodist University. While training to serve in the OCA, which has Russian roots, he learned Old Russian and some modern Russian. Early in his priesthood, the Dallas parish was so small that Dmitri helped his sister operate a restaurant to support the ministry, thus becoming a skilled chef who was famous for his hospitality and love of cooking for his flocks. During his years as a missionary bishop, driving back and forth from Dallas to Miami, monks in New Orleans saved him packages of his favourite chicory coffee and Hispanic parishioners offered bottles of homemade hot sauce, which he stashed in special slots in his Byzantine mitre’s travelling case.

A pivotal moment in his career came just before the creation of the Diocese of the South. In 1970, then Bishop Dmitri was elected… in a landslide… as the OCA metropolitan, to lead the national hierarchy in Syosset NY. However, the ethnic Slavic core in the synod of bishops ignored the clergy vote and appointed one of its own. Decades later, the Orthodox theologian Father Thomas Hopko described the impact of that election this way, “One could have gone to Syosset and become a metropolitan, or go to Dallas and become a saint”.

The priest ordained in Tennessee on that Sunday back in 1999 shared this judgment, when reacting to the death of “Vladika” (in English, “master”) Dmitri. Fr J. Stephen Freeman of Oak Ridge TN noted, “There are a number of saints within Orthodox history who are given the title, ‘Equal to the Apostles’ .I can’t rush beyond the church and declare a saint where the church hasn’t done so, but I can think of no better description of the life and ministry of Vladika Dmitri here in the South than ‘Equal to the Apostles’ “.

5 September 2011

Terrence Mattingly

On Religion



Editor’s Afterword:

Firstly, there’s been a great hue-and-cry about this dodgy article in grounded sources ever since it first surfaced. Obviously, as Mattingly posted it on his site today WITH NO EDITS it’s clear that he and the other konvertsy are obdurate, pig-headed, and adamant in their rebellion against Christ and His Church.

All sources agree… Dmitri Royster was an equivocal figure at best. Why, he even built his cathedral in Dallas in the gay neighbourhood… a fact that was obviously known to him (it tends to lend credence to the reports that he was openly gay during his time at SMU). Furthermore, Mattingly makes many egregious and glaring errors in his reportage of the facts. Let’s take, “While training to serve in the OCA, which has Russian roots, he learned Old Russian and some modern Russian”. Firstly, Royster didn’t go to SVS until 1966-67 (Lyonyo and BT were there at the same time, I believe)… Bogdan Spylka ordained him without any Orthodox seminary formation back in the fifties. What compounds Mattingly’s stubborn and intransigent blindness is that there was NO OCA IN 1966-67… it was still the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Metropolia of North America. Mattingly gets into deeper kimchi (believe it or not), as Spylka was the bishop of the EP Ukrainians, he wasn’t a Metropolia hierarch, and Royster was under his omofor until ’54 or ’58, I’m told (my sources differ on it). That’s not all… the cherry on this foul and noisome little sundae is “he learned Old Russian and some modern Russian”. There’s no such thing as “Old Russian”… there’s “Old Slavonic”, which is often a colloquialism for the more proper “Church Slavonic”. That shows that Mattingly doesn’t give a hoot in hell for the history of the Church and for what it actually stands for.

That’s not the only screamer. Do note, “In 1970, then Bishop Dmitri was elected… in a landslide… as the OCA metropolitan, to lead the national hierarchy in Syosset NY. However, the ethnic Slavic core in the synod of bishops ignored the clergy vote and appointed one of its own”. There’s been a great outcry against Mattingly’s stupidity in the above quote, yet he posted it today with no corrections. That shows that Mattingly (and all the other konvertsy) have nothing but disregard for the actual record found in Church History, and they’re going to make up their own version… just like a bunch of wild n’ woolly cultists. Firstly, the Sobor in Montréal occurred in 1977… NOT 1970. Everyone knows this. Hell, even oca.org has it posted on their site… that proves that Mattingly did no checking of facts before posting this repellent little piece of hagiography. Royster didn’t get “elected… in a landslide”… and in any case, the decision is in the hands of the Holy Synod (their cravenness is the reason that we’re stuck with Fathausen), not the delegates. Again, Mattingly shows his utter lack of knowledge concerning the Church and its history.

Lastly, there’s “Archbishop Dmitri made that Knoxville trip to ordain yet another priest in his diocese, which grew from a dozen parishes to 70 during his three decades”. I checked the parish listings in oca.org… there are 76 establishments in the OCA Diocese of the South… 3 “monasteries” (all of which are more properly tiny “sketes”), 36 parishes, and 37 missions. The average mission has less than fifty attendees, and the most of the parishes aren’t much larger. Even if we were to allot 150 people per parish and 100 people per mission (an over-estimate, according to my information), one comes up with 9,100 people… and the actual total is probably a third less, lending credence to the reports that the OCA DOS only has about 6,000 parishioners all told. It’s top-heavy with clergy, its swimming in “deacons”, “subdeacons”, and “readers”, most of whom have had no Orthodox seminary formation whatsoever (that’s also true of some of the priests, especially the Anglican retreads).

This isn’t minor… a man with an Anglican formation is NOT going to have an Orthodox weltanschauung… I don’t care how often they quote the Fathers or the canons. Their main ontological premises aren’t the Church’s, and there’s no two ways about that. Their intellectual world is that of the heterodox West… their spirit is that of Augustine (who wasn’t a bad guy… just not as important as the Westerns conceive), Innocent III (whose Fourth Lateran Council was the definitive break between the Church and the RCs), Luther (Reformation), Bellermine (Counter-Reformation), and John XXIII Roncalli (Vatican II). They don’t understand the ethos and mental universe of St Photios (and WHY he stood against papal pretensions), Patriarch Nikon Minin (who St John Maksimovich praised highly), St Ivan Sergeyev (St John of Kronshtadt… with his courageous stand against the Black Hundreds, the Tea Party of his day), Patriarch Sergei Stragorodsky (Archbishop Vitaly Maksimenko of Jordanville lauded him for his podvig), St Serafim Vyritsky (who prayed daily for Soviet victory in the VOV), or Metropolitan Nikodim Rotov (who did whatever he could to preserve the Church… including questionable ecumania (for which we must forgive him)). Most of all, these untrained “Orthodox” clergy are apologists for Uniatism, and they have indifferentist attitudes towards it… the witness of St Maksim Sandovich, St Aleksei Kabalyuk, Blessed Gavriil Kostelnik, and the Modern Confessor Fr Mikhail Shuvar convicts this attitude as godless, disrespectful, and unchurchly (нецерковность: nyetserkovnost, “having a mindset diametrically opposed to that of the Church”).

In short, Mattingly’s article is mad rubbish… do note that it’s been four days since the funeral with NO reportage on it from oca.org. That’s a clear sign that there’s one hell of a fight over Royster’s legacy going on at present. I’ll make no secret of my stand… I believe that he was an equivocal figure at best, and that the sooner that we put the OCA DOS back on a proper footing, the better. I’m not holding my breath, though… Mattingly, Freeman, Dreher, and the Coneheads have set their face against Christ’s Church. We’ll have to fight to regain it…


Editor’s Update:

I received this from a correpsondent:

Mattingly belongs to Freddie M-G’s parish in Maryland… makes sense, doesn’t it? He’s such a jackass!

Birds of a feather flock together…



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