Last week, Truth Wins Out wrote that Russia’s “propaganda” law is designed to gag the gay movement, because conservatives can never win the debate if freenyet surrender 300x300 Ignorance About Homosexuality Fuels Russias Homophobia speech is allowed. We have the facts, the moving stories, and education usually triumphs ignorance — provided people are allowed to learn the truth. Here is what we wrote in an article titled, “Russia’s Anti-Gay Pogrom Has Disturbing Parallels to Medieval anti-Semitism:”

Conservative legislators realized that open and free discussions about LGBT people inevitably lead to equality. So, this draconian measure was intended to preemptively hijack the discussion, silence the more persuasive argument, and indoctrinate the population without opposition.

Our opinion was backed in the New York Times today by the words of Aleksandr Smirnov, 39, a freelance journalist who said he was forced to quit his job in the press office of a deputy mayor in Moscow after he was featured with more than two dozen other gay Muscovites in a special issue of Afisha magazine in February.

As for gay propaganda, he said the notion was ridiculous.

“Seven years ago, I wrote a letter to my mother, explaining my position, and I tried to explain to her that this has nothing to do with the existing stereotypes,” Mr. Smirnov said. “I told her that when I was about 13, I just felt, that, you know, I like boys, just the way the boys, not gays, at this same age, started to have feelings toward girls and women. I was not seduced. I was not lured into it, provoked into it. This happened quite naturally.”

Rights advocates said that Russia was growing more dangerous for gay people. This year, there have been at least two killings motivated by antigay bias in the country, including the savage beating death in May of a young man in Volgograd who was also sodomized with beer bottles.

Mr. Smirnov said that even in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, where there are large gay populations, as well as a thriving and visible gay night life that includes several gay bars and clubs, bias was inescapable.

“If you ask gays in Moscow whether they were attacked, or insulted, practically everyone will admit that it happened to him,” he said. “We are just at the very, very beginning of the movement for the rights of gays. And this new law, you know, it seals our mouths and ties our hands and feet.”

That’s right folks — social conservatives must cheat to win. They have to seal our mouths and tie our hands and feet — to prevent the truth from winning the day. Given that they have to take such desperate, totalitarian measures, shouldn’t they question whether they champion a worthy cause?

Today’s New York Times article makes it clear why anti-gay activists want to shut down the debate. They have already indoctrinated the Russian majority and are desperate to keep the population ignorant about homosexuality. Here is what the Russian people now think:

An overwhelming 88 percent of Russians support the gay propaganda ban, according to a survey conducted in June by the All-Russian Public Opinion Center. A survey conducted in April by the Levada Center found that 35 percent of Russians believed that homosexuality was a disease and 43 percent believed that it was a bad habit, a result of poor parenting or a lack of discipline, or a symptom of abuse.

Where might they get such ideas? It seems that American anti-gay and “ex-gay” activists are doing their best to provide propaganda to ensure people don’t have the facts. For example, Richard Cohen, the founder of the International Healing Foundation, was a featured speaker at the 2012 World Congress of Families meeting in Madrid. (The WCF is a leading proponent of anti-gay laws in Russia). Here is an excerpt from Cohen’s book, Coming Out Straight, which sounds quite similar to the ideas pushed in Russia’s new propaganda law:

“Now most schools, colleges, and universities throughout the world are teaching our children on the platform of human rights and social equality, that homosexual people are born this way and cannot change. The promotion of these myths is another factor that may influence someone to become homosexual, or pull him over the line. This is cultural indoctrination for impressionable youths who are still confused about their sexual identities.” (P. 47-48)

The International Healing Foundation is the same organization that sent Caleb Lee Brundidge to speak in Kampala in 2009 with holocaust rbear 300x198 Ignorance About Homosexuality Fuels Russias Homophobiaevisionist Scott Lively. The result of this anti-gay conference was the introduction of Uganda’s infamous anti-homosexuality bill. Interestingly, Lively (pictured)  takes a measure of credit for the oppressive new Russian laws:

“I can’t point to any country of the world today that is a model for the rest of the world, except perhaps for Russia, which has just taken the very important and frankly necessary step of criminalizing homosexual propaganda to protect the society from being ‘homosexualzed.’ This was one of my recommendations to Russian leaders in my 50-city tour of the former Soviet Union in 2006 and 2007.

One wonders if Lively and IHF aren’t in cahoots, once more, creating havoc overseas at the expense of LGBT people worldwide, as well as American interests. It seems that they, and other fundamentalists, are running a shadow foreign policy that is undermining the work of the US State Department, and leading to anti-gay violence and suppression.

If direct links are found to IHF and Lively to the fiasco in Russia, as well as other nations, American officials should hold the perpetrators accountable. In the meantime, the long term answer in Russia is education. We should ignore Russia’s propaganda law, and use any means necessary to circumvent and undermine it. Whether it is high-tech bots or low-tech solutions, such as fliers, the more information we can provide to enlighten the Russian people, the sooner their disgraceful law will fall.