A prominent American cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia called the June 26 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage an “earthquake” that turns God’s established order on its head.
Archpriest Victor Potapov of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Washington, D.C., spoke frankly with Pravmir, an online Orthodox Christian website. He blamed “homosexual propaganda” for the ruling but also heterosexual Christian couples who have not had the proper respect for the marriage covenant that God intended.
The Orthodox Church is among the most conservative Christian denominations and has defended Russia against cultural attacks by liberal elements that have had their way in American culture.
“Unfortunately, over the last 15 years, homosexual propaganda has been being circulated and many have already been influenced,” the archpriest said. “Even some Orthodox say: ‘Well, it is not that bad. Let them do what they want. It doesn’t concern us.’ That earthquake of sorts that is occurring, though, is changing the order established by God. It is terrible that we are encroaching on the will of God.”
Marriage is not revered in Russia or America
To an extent, Christians must take their share of the blame for what happened, he said.
“I see that marriage is not revered in Russia or in America. Young people are fine to live together, and only after five or six years decide to have a church marriage, but prayer in the wedding rite is addressed to a chaste couple,” Potapov said. “Can you imagine, we, priests, marrying people who already have children. I am not talking about the older generation that did not know the Church, but about the current generation of young people. We do not honor marriage properly as a divinely established institution.”
Asked how the Orthodox community in America was receiving the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Potatov said:
“To tell you the truth, we feel like we are in mourning. Of course, no one was surprised that it happened. We all understood that the majority of the Supreme Court would vote in favor of the decision to register same-sex marriages. It all started a long time ago, and over a year ago, the Supreme Court declared the Marriage Protection Act illegal. Now this is the result.
Archpriest Potapov cited the comments from Russian-American lesbian journalist Masha Gessen as proof that the LGBT movement will not be satisfied with marriage equality.
“[H]omosexuals claim that they are looking for equality in civil life and they want gay husbands and wives to have the right to visit each other in the hospital, inherit property, to have children, and the rights which are provided to traditional couples. I think, though, they actually are pursuing other goals. Just this morning, I read an interview with a rather famous Russian emigrant, Masha Gessen, who has long been an activist in the LGBT movement. She, of course is an anarchist, but they listen to her opinion in America, and she said: ‘Our goal is to destroy marriage as an institution, so that there is no longer the concept of marriage.’ Her words need to be taken very seriously.”
Potapov told Pravmir that Americans should expect an onslaught of LGBT propaganda to invade local school districts and other institutions.
He said polygamists will likely strike next, seeking their piece of the equality pie.
“This has already occurred in American history among Mormons, and now people are talking about it again. Why can’t a man have several wives, — and a woman a few husbands? Moreover, isn’t it, in some sense, more natural than same-sex marriage? So who knows what awaits us — and what will they now teach our children and grandchildren in school? It is really disturbing for all of us, because now, homosexuality is considered the norm, it will be introduced into the school curriculum, children will grow up with it, and will get used to it. It is still being debated in the school boards of various regions of America. In some places they defend the traditional approach to teaching children about gender and others, who are more liberal, have simply told children, that a child may have two fathers, without a mother, and non-traditional families are presented as the norm.”
WND reported last year that elementary schools in Oakland, California, were already bringing in LGBT activists to hold assemblies for first-graders, teaching them to celebrate “queer pride” and that it is normal to have “two daddies” or “two mommies.”
Potapov expects this type of indoctrination will now spread throughout the country, faster in some places than others but marching steadily forward as “progress.”
“We know what will then happen,” he told Pravmir. “Now that same-sex marriage has been legalized in the country, it has just become a matter of time before propaganda will be promoted throughout the schools. Parents who are unhappy and have other views can homeschool children or send them to religious schools, but in ordinary schools, everything will be ‘under the law.’”
Potapov said the Orthodox Christian community was “virtually” united in its condemnation of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision. But already there are small cracks in the floor of the ship.
“So far they are virtually united, but already in some Orthodox jurisdictions priests are beginning to take positions,” he told Pravmir. “For example, a priest of the Orthodox Church in America in Boston is talking about the possibility of accepting same-sex couples.”
The Mid-American Diocese of Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia condemned the high court’s ruling. But churches must also remember “that we have to despise the sin, but are required to love the sinner,” Potapov said.
Looking across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom, though, he sees new dangers.
“We recently learned that in the U.K., a rich gay couple is suing the Church of England, wanting the opportunity to marry. So, an attack on the Church has already begun. In general, people are afraid to say anything bad about the homosexual lifestyle, because anyone who is against it is immediately accused of homophobia and misanthropy. Our freedom of speech has already been limited and I am afraid that, in time, it will become worse and worse.”
‘We will flatly refuse’
Potatov said only one “so-called Orthodox Christian” in his diocese has ever asked to be married to a same-sex partner.
“Of course, we told him that it is absolutely impossible. This, though, was the only instance — and, of course, if such efforts are made in the future, we will flatly refuse,” he told Pravmir.
“Every person is a child of God, and everyone deserves to receive attention and pastoral care,” he continued. “After all, we help the infirm and mentally ill and don’t turn anyone away. We all need God’s help, but cannot allow sin.”
He said no one should rule out that the day could come when the American government forces churches to marry same-sex couples.
“Yes, it is possible. Nothing surprises me. Of course, I can’t predict this, but could we have expected 15 years ago that same-sex marriage would be legalized? It’s mind boggling, especially so quickly.”
Spreading ‘marriage equality’ to other countries
Potapov said he was listening to an interview with a representative of the LGBT movement, and the interviewer asked: “What’s next?”
The activist responded, “Next, we are going to set out to other countries. We are going to carry out our policy in other countries where it is prohibited.”
He said he was in the Eastern European nation of Georgia last year and when gay parades were organized there, the Orthodox were outraged and resisted.
“Now, though, if they want to join the European Union, it will simply require them to hold gay parades legally and to give the country’s homosexuals full rights. Now it’s just a normal requirement,” he told Pravmir.
“So, dear Russia, hold on, for they will soon set out for you, too.”