[image-1] Researcher and essayist Christopher Stroop will lead a discussion on the evangelical right, and what he perceives as their affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian rule.
Stroop, an activist of the ex-evangelical movement, will stop by Gage Hall on Sun. Nov. 18 at 4 p.m.
The free talk, billed as “Beyond Trump-Putin: Russia in the Global Culture Wars,” is sponsored by the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry.
Stroop has a Ph.D. in modern Russian history from Stanford University and worked at a Russian university from 2012 to 2015, according to a press release from the Lowcountry Humanists.
In Russia, he saw Putin’s heightened rhetoric about “traditional values” combined with the geopolitical shifts of the time, the biggest, of course, being the country’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
“Seeing the same kind of right-wing evangelicals he grew up among warm toward Putin as a result, Stroop began systematically observing the affinities and networks linking Russians with European and American right-wing forces,” according to the press release.
Stroop is currently a visiting instructor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla.
[content-2] Aside from the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump is often criticized by those who see his relationship with Putin, whose government is suspected of operating an online troll farm meant to sway public opinion in favor of Trump, as too cozy.
Eight federal and congressional intelligence and national security groups — which include the CIA, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security — have said that Russia meddled in the election, according to The New York Times.
[content-1] Earlier this year, Trump sent shockwaves through the intelligence community when he appeared to take Putin’s word above the findings of his own agencies.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said after a two-hour private meeting with Putin in Helsinki over the summer, according to CNN.
Regardless, Trump’s evangelical base remains steadfast in their support. Seventy-two percent of white evangelical protestants have a favorable view of President Trump.
“White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group to view Trump favorably,” according to an October report by the Public Religion Research Institute.
Additionally, Republican candidates (71 percent) were more popular than Democratic candidates (20 percent) heading into last week’s midterm election, according to the PRRI.
Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation at Trump’s request. His relationship with the president soured after he recused himself from the Russia probe in March 2017 following revelations that he failed to report interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 campaign.
More than a hundred people protested Sessions’ resignation at a demonstration in downtown Charleston on Thurs. Nov. 8.