Claiming Solzhenitsyn

As the world marks the death of Nobel laureate and Soviet exile Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, conservatives and Christians remember a different message than Solzhenitsyn’s celebrated exposé of the Russian gulags. They remember the equal criticism that the devoutly Orthodox author had for “the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion [that] does not look attractive,” and the blame he laid for it at the door of humanism, which he declared “proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists.”

On his return to post-Soviet Russia in 1994, Solzhenitsyn lamented that the country’s “great misfortune” was that Russian society “did not cleanse itself spiritually; nobody in Russia ever repented. Communism remains in our hearts, in our souls, in our minds.”

Read more about Solzhenitsyn’s resonance with conservative Christians, dustups in the progressive religious blogosphere, Chuck Colson’s “Armageddon of the Culture War,” Canadian babies, and Focus on the Family’s new prayer for rain in my guest column for The American Prospect’s FundamentaList.