Russia's new culture
History is a wonderful thing. Just when you think you've seen it all, along comes a series of events that happened before proving that you've seen it all.
I was in Russia this past summer experiencing life is a nation that for too long was dictated by the culture of death. I say the term "life" because everything about Russia today is alive. The economy, the people and even politicians.
While visiting the poverty-stricken Volga countryside, just north of the famous battle of Stalingrad, I heard that the Russian Health Ministry was gearing up to impose restrictions on abortion. And I say "restrictions" loosely, because abortions will continue to remain free and easy to obtain in the first trimester, after that the state is going to make it increasingly difficult to get.
The reasons are a misplaced realization of a birth dearth, where the current rate of births do not provide the nation with a stable population base.in other words the population is dying off, with little or no one to replace it.
Attitudes in Russia on life and death are refreshing to observe. They are also exhausting. Exhausting because the Russian people continue to spend so much of their time trying to live, that is they are heavily involved in the business of making ends meet, providing for their families, building relationships with friends and family, and enjoying the fruits of their labours, vacations, etc.
The government is trying to change the birth rate by outlawing, for poor people only, late-term abortion. In a nation where eight abortions in a woman's lifetime are not uncommon, attitudes on abortion will need more than just legislative change.
The restrictions they seek to impose will fail.they will fail because what is needed in Russia is a large scale embracement of the Gospel of Life. That is a healthy and God-centered realization that all life has value, and thus needs to be nutured in a variety of ways.
Religious groups and even pro-life groups largely abandoned their efforts in Russia after the fall of communism. Westerners are no longer viewed with the same fascination they once were. The real work of changing a society needs to take place now, directed to young people, the next generation.
In North America, the investment in youth has paid off. Pro-choicers tremble at the reality that even their own children are embracing human rights for all, including the unborn. Such an initiative needs to take place in the former Soviet Bloc. Sure it's not so glamorous, but the pay off for a nation finding its way will be immense.
As I visited people from Moscow, to Volgograd and to forgotten little villages in between, I was struck with the youth of this great nation. They are the great hope in a country only recently awoken from a long dark nightmare.
We would do well to invest in them. The sheer potential of molding and proclaiming the Gospel of Life to Russia should be a challenge impossible to refuse. Russia is serious about changing attitudes. That is admirable. We need to be there to assist in that change.