Frank Schaeffer is the son of a well known and respected Protestant theologian, pastor and writer, Francis August Schaeffer. Frank carried on his father’s work toward a non-modernistic interpretation of Christianity by converting to Orthodoxy in 1990. He has published twenty books, most of them after his conversion. He is also a producer of documentary and low-budget Hollywood films. His more well-known books written after becoming Orthodox are: Portofino (a novel), Dancing Alone, and Crazy for God.
According to his profile in Wikipedia, until 2000, Schaeffer was a staunch Republican, and worked for Senator John McCain in the primaries. He has since changed his political views, to become a staunch and public supporter of President Obama.
Before we go on, let it be known that this website neither endorses nor wars against politicians, something that apparently cannot be said about Frank Schaeffer. It is Orthodox practice to pray in church for the leaders of our countries, and let God sort out the evil from the good. But when we see our leaders taking initiatives to protect us and our children from what we Orthodox Christians understand to be evil processes, we naturally rejoice; likewise, we naturally grieve when leaders do not protect us from evil processes, or even cause them. And, we look at the facts. For example, the Russian law in question states:
Article 6.21 Propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships spread among minors.
1. Propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships spread among minors, expressed in the dissemination of information directed towards the formation in minors of non-traditional sexual attitudes, making non-traditional sexual relationships attractive, giving a distorted idea of an equal social value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships, arousing interest in such relationships, and, if these activities do not contain criminally punishable works—
will be subject to administrative fines: by citizens, of 4,000 to 5,000 rubles ($125-$155); by official persons, 40,000 to 50,000 rubles ($1,239 to $1,549); and by legal entities, 80,000 to 1,000,000 rubles ($2,478 to $30,979) or administrative cessation of activities for a period of up to 90 days.
Section 2 goes on to state that activities foreseen in the foregoing section 6.21.1 disseminated through mass media and/or information-telecommunications networks (including the internet), (if they are not punishable by the criminal codes) are also subject to administrative fines against: citizens—50,000 to 100,000 rubles ($1549 to $3097); official persons—100,000 to 200,000 rubles ($3097 to $6,195; legal entities—either one million rubles or cessation of activities for up to 90 days.
Section 3 declares that foreign citizens or persons with no citizenship who break this law will pay 4,000 to 5,000 rubles, and be deported from the Russian Federation, or they will be subject to administrative arrest for fifteen days and deported from the Russian Federation.
Section 4 states that foreign citizens or persons without citizenship who spread homosexual propaganda through the mass media or information-telecommunications networks will be fined 50,000 to 100,000 rubles and deported, or placed under arrest for fifteen days and deported.
Russian Federation codes outlawing homosexuality were repealed in 1993, and this new law applies only to propaganda to minors. An explanatory note to the Draft Federal Law “On Amendments to the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offences” also states that, “a bill suggesting amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences was prepared to introduce administrative responsibility for propaganda of homosexuality among minors. In this case, administrative responsibility is established not for the sheer fact of the person’s homosexuality, but only for propaganda of homosexuality among minors."
This law is, clear and simple, intended to protect underage children from exposure to aggressive influence from existing homosexuals to embrace the homosexual way of life. It is not a vehicle for the criminal prosecution of those who prefer non-traditional relationships, nor is it a benediction upon hate crimes. The only reason why the anti-propaganda law might really bother homosexuals is that it potentially dries up the future pool of homosexual partners. One legitimate reason why parents support it is that it helps remove one source of mental and emotional defilement from their children’s horizon; for any talk or demonstration of homosexuality must necessarily foist into view sexual acts, including unnatural acts.
In his recent blog post, Mr. Schaeffer makes such extravagant statements as, “A parade of priests have denounced any who question Putin”; and “Where are the voices of Orthodox leadership, not only in Russia but here, denouncing this awful man and the terror he’s unleashing against gay men and women?” He calls Putin’s rule a “fascist takeover of Russia,” and his law protecting children no more than a cover-up calculated at distracting attention from that take-over.
I don’t know if Mr. Schaeffer has ever been to Russia, but he is clearly missing a very important point that directly affects this lobby he so passionately defends. The last two mayors of Moscow have effectively banned gay parades each year; this has been ongoing since before Putin’s Presidency. Their decision, as does Putin’s, reflects the wishes of Russian citizens, not all of whom are Orthodox Christians. The majority of purely secular citizens are against gay propaganda. And there is no need to even ask the substantial Moslem population what they think of gay parades.
The LGBT lobby in America and elsewhere know perfectly well that in order to turn popular opinion in your favor you have to work hard at it, and you have work on the children. When will people understand that parents would also like to pass their own values on to their own children, and have an inherent right to do so?
There were many comments under Frank Schaeffer’s tirade against Putin, against Orthodox Patriarchs, hierarchs, and clergy everywhere, and against Russians in general for not “rising up” against this “injustice”. One in particular pointed out the purely rhetorical failings of the article:
Will you also talk about Obama's role in funding the terrorists that are massacring Christians?
Here are a few things that I think are problematic about your article:
1. You claim that Putin “made it okay to persecute gay people in Russia.” Banning public displays of homosexuality and homosexual propaganda is not the same as making it okay to “persecute” homosexuals. We have laws against a lot of things in the U.S. Having such laws does not make it okay to commit violence against those who break them.
2. You claim that “a parade of priests have denounced any who question Putin” without making any reference to what parade you are talking about; no links, no explanation, nothing.
3. You find fault with Orthodox bishops partnering with heads of State on areas of common concern such as the spiritual and moral well-being of the nation.
4. You find fault with Orthodox bishops in America for not speaking out against Orthodox bishops abroad for joining forces with a head of State to address matters relating to the spiritual and moral well-being of the nation.
5. You compare Putin to Hitler.
6. You compare Orthodox bishops’ support of Putin to those who were silent over the alleged mass extermination of Jews and homosexuals in concentration camps.
7. You compare outlawing homosexual propaganda to alleged mass extermination of Jews and homosexuals under Hitler.
8. You equate American Evangelical support for Putin's ban against homosexual propaganda to their support of violence against homosexuals in Russia.
9. You imply that laws against homosexual propaganda in Russia have incited violence against homosexuals without providing more than a few photos and a couple of stories. No data has been provided showing that such violence occurs at a higher rate per capita in Russia than in America or any other country, or that such violence has occurred increasingly in Russia after this law compared to before.
10. Without any evidence of increased violence against homosexuals in Russia, you express outrage that Orthodox bishops are not speaking out against something that they may know nothing about.
11. You claim to be a member of the Orthodox Church, yet you do not seem to understand why the Orthodox Church has not accepted homosexual relationships for the past 2,000 years.
12. You claim to be a member of the Orthodox Church, yet you do not seem to accept the common interpretation of the Scriptures by the Orthodox Church since apostolic times concerning the subject of homosexual relations.
13. You say that you are part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese but do not seem to be aware that your own bishops and Patriarch are against homosexual relations.
These are just a few problems I had with your writing. I would hope that you would use your writings skills to edify people and lead them to salvation, rather than to introduce scandal and further alienate yourself from the Orthodox Church, the Ark of Salvation.
Fr. John Whiteford, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, also posted the following rebuttal entitled, "Being Frank", which helps sort out some of the confusion Mr. Schaeffer's blog post may have sown among readers who admire him. With Fr. John's permission, we reproduce it here in its entirety:
In his most recent blog post, he has now taken aim against not only the "religious right" (a favorite target of his in recent years), but now even the Orthodox Church that he still is ostensibly a member of is in his cross-hairs—because they support Russia's laws restricting the promotion of homosexuality.
I looked over his blog to see if he had expressed any concern for his Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters in Syria, who are being raped, murdered, and run out of their ancient homes by Al Qaeda terrorists, who are armed and supported by Barack Obama, but there was not a word. Tens of thousands of Syrian Christians are now dead, millions are refugees, and not a word of concern. He also expresses no concern over the Coptic Christians of Egypt, who are similarly suffering at the hands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood regime that Obama helped to put into power. But who is Frank Schaeffer concerned about today? Homosexuals in Russia. Where is his righteous indignation directed at today? The American religious right, and the Orthodox Church.
Vladimir Putin, on the other hand has been one of the lone voices on the international stage that has expressed concern for the Christians of Egypt and Syria. Whatever else one may think of Putin, the Christians of Egypt and Syria have a much higher opinion of Putin right now than they do of Obama. And it should pointed out that Frank Schaeffer's own opinion of Putin has not always been so negative.
When George Bush invaded Iraq, and then the subsequent guerrilla war resulted in a mass exodus of Iraq's Christian population, at least he could say no one saw that coming. However, Obama knows what is going on in Egypt and Syria, and he knows what would happen to the Christians of Syria if he bombed the Syrian government, and the Al Qaeda terrorists he is arming took power... he just doesn't seem to care; and unfortunately, neither does Frank Schaeffer, it would seem.
The laws on the books today in Russia regarding homosexuals are more liberal than the laws we had here in the United States just 40 years ago. It is not a crime in Russia to be a homosexual. It is only a crime for them to propagandize minors. They are also not allowed to have gay pride parades... which in the United States are obscene displays of perversion in the streets of almost every major city in America. And "Natasha's Two Mommies" is not a book read to children in kindergarten in Russia. This, Frank Schaeffer finds more of a concern than the murder of Christians in Syria with the aid and comfort of his beloved Barack Obama.
The Russian Orthodox Church, as Frank well knows, suffered horrendously under the Soviet Union. The Church is therefore not inclined to antagonize the state unnecessarily... especially when that state is on the right side of a question. The Church has spoken against the government when it has taken positions contrary to that of the Church—for example, Putin was for some time opposed to introducing instruction about Russia's religious heritage, while the Church was a strong advocate of that idea. In the end, the government introduced such courses, and so now parents can choose between courses that study Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Buddhism—which are the primary religions in Russia. But when the Russian government passes laws that restrict homosexual propaganda, the Church has no reason to oppose those laws, and good reason to support them, since they reflect traditional Christian morality. The Orthodox Church is not going to change its views on homosexuality, since the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the Canons are unambiguous on the subject. Of course Orthodox Christians cannot support thugs that beat up homosexuals in the street. But in the United States we now have homosexuals beating up those that disagree with them in the streets, and we hear nothing from Frank about that.
Frank cites two Orthodox Christian clergymen as being "pro-gay": "Archbishop" Lazar Puhalo, and Fr. Antony Hughes. And suggests that they represent a hopeful trend in the Orthodox Church. However, if Frank read the article about Lazar Puhalo that he linked, he should be aware of the fact that he is a crank, with a very checkered history. He was never an active priest, bishop, or Archbishop in any legitimate Orthodox Church. He was a deacon in ROCOR before he was deposed for disobedience, and began his career as a vagante bishop, and was only received by the OCA as a retired Archbishop as an act of economia-- a decision that was controversial even within the OCA. His views range from being slightly off, to the outlandish, and so he is hardly a mainstream bishop. I know less about Fr. Antony Hughes, but I know that the Bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese have little patience for anyone who challenges the teachings of the Church that homosexual acts are inherently sinful, and that only a repentant homosexual who is struggling against that sin may receive communion. The views of the Orthodox Church on the question of homosexuality are known, and are not up for debate.
You can read about a Roman Catholic mother who was beaten, raped, and murdered by a homosexual because she had persuaded her son to end his homosexual relationship with him: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/bishop-catholic-mom-murdered-gay-man-died-martyr-her-faith
You can see a video of a gay mob in the Castro District of San Francisco which attacked a group of Christians that were praying peacefully together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4Xb-au-wpU
You can see a video of a gay mob beating up a Christian at a Gay Pride rally in Seattle: http://youtu.be/OWEV48MPmCM
I am sure most gays oppose such things, just like most Christians oppose gays being beaten.
Also, as I pointed out in a recent post, homosexual activists in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, are using the power of the state to destroy those who do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle in general or gay marriage in particular, if they will not be coerced into either remaining silent about their views or to participate professionally in a gay marriage. In states that have legalized gay marriage, homosexuality is now being taught as normal to even very young children, regardless of the wishes or views of their parents.
Since homosexuals are not proving to be very tolerant of those who disagree with them, now that they have achieved mainstream acceptance in the west, I don't blame Russians for wanting to nip the whole thing in the bud now, so that they don't go down the road to Sodom and Gomorrah too. And it is also interesting that homosexual activists are now focusing their wrath on Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church, but while they will picket an Orthodox Church in San Francisco, for some reason they have not begun picketing mosques to protest the fact that homosexuals are routinely given the death penalty in Muslim countries.
However, whatever grievances gays in Russia, or Christians in the west may have, they are all small potatoes compared with the suffering of Christians in Egypt and Syria at the hands of terrorist groups that have been funded, supported, and defended by the Obama administration. It is a shame that Frank Schaeffer does not use his considerable oratorical and polemical skills to defend Christians who are being threatened, abused, beaten, raped, tortured, beheaded, displaced and butchered by the millions.
Could articles like Mr. Schaeffer's be doing for the Syria issue what Mr. Schaeffer accuses President Putin of doing for his supposed "fascist takeover"? Could Frank Schaeffer, an Orthodox Christian, really be more indignant about a few undocumented cases of persecution against homosexuals than he is about the mass of documented cases of persecution against Christians?
Finally, in defense of the Russian anti-propanda law, let us not forget what the Savior said about spreading the propaganda of sin to children: It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones (Lk. 17:2).