Updated at 4:12 p.m. on June 29 to add Zakharova's statement.
Some western schoolchildren are taught that Jesus Christ was bisexual and non-binary, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov wrote in a sweeping critique of liberal democracies Monday.
Lavrov made the unsupported claim as an example of the “boundlessly permissive” United States and Europe imposing a rules-based order on countries such as China and Russia, which Lavrov, citing political scientists, appeared to label “autocratic democracies.”
“In a number of Western countries, students learn at school that Jesus Christ was bisexual,” Lavrov wrote in an essay published in the Kommersant business daily without providing examples.
The Russian diplomat described the alleged teachings as “attempts to encroach on the very human nature” in addition to international law.
The It’s My City news website traced the likely origins of Lavrov’s claim to a viral TikTok of an Australian mother eavesdropping on her children debating Jesus’ sexual orientation. In it, the woman’s son says Jesus is bi “because he loves everyone in the world” and non-binary “because he wears a dress.”
“We learned it at school,” the boy is heard in a May 27 video to his mother’s protests.
But on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed the media reports that Lavrov was referring to the TikTok. In reality, she said, Lavorv had been referring to a Christian news website’s article on a Scottish teachers’ union play, performed for schoolchildren to celebrate Pride month, that portrayed Jesus as a transgender woman.
“This is what foreign agency in action looks like. When the truth is declared fake using fake reasoning,” Zakharova wrote on her Facebook.
Russian observers speculated that Lavrov’s critique of the West was aimed at drumming support from a socially conservative domestic audience ahead of key parliamentary elections this fall.
Earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin named Lavrov alongside other figures with high approval ratings to head the list of United Russia party candidates on the Sept. 19 ballot. Being on the list does not force Lavrov to take a seat in the legislature if elected.