AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis
It was 120 years ago this month that the future father of Soviet Communism, Vladimir Lenin, emphasized that the first mission of any socialist regime should be to eradicate Christianity.
Communist Russia, China, Cuba, and Vietnam have all diligently followed Lenin’s instructions, waging an endless war against God ever since in their bid to spread socialism and secure power.
It’s no wonder why Lenin and socialists throughout the ages have been so hostile to Christians and other religious believers: it is because people of faith are – and have always been – the biggest obstacle to power-seeking tyrants desperate to rule over others.
Today, socialists are on the offensive everywhere. Like the smooth-talking serpent in the garden with enticing words to get Eve to eat that apple, the new socialist claims for wielding massive and centralized government power rest on pleasant and innocent-sounding policies like stopping climate change, ending systemic racism, and correcting income inequality. But should society accept what the socialists are selling, then the outcome will be the very same as that experienced by the first couple in Eden: decay, destruction, and death.
Socialism is always and everywhere about stamping out the spiritual nature of man. Therefore, the new socialist offensive can only be halted by religious and moral renewal, not solely by a secular strategy. That’s why, to defeat socialism in America, religious believers must launch a new crusade to promote freedom and liberty under God – catalyzing a broad resurgence of faith in this country.
Before I explain why I suggest religious renewal and what it might look like, it will be helpful to start with some facts, often omitted by secular scholars, about the life of socialist Vladimir Lenin and his intense hatred of Christianity.
In his magisterial biography, God of the Godless, historian Antoni Ossendowski describes the formation of God’s image in the mind of the young Lenin.
For little Vladimir, taught by his mother on how to pray at home and church in front of gilded icons, the word God created the impression of a tremendous but always lovely figure. But a Russian Orthodox priest, Father Makary, corrupted this once exquisite image into a dark force to be feared. Makary claimed that God approved of vodka and debauchery, that the hand of the Lord hangs the rebellious, and that God rejoices when idolaters go to hell. For the first time, with hatred towards God in his heart, young Lenin cried in anger.
Following these events, his brother, a member of an anti-Czarist terrorist organization, conveyed a thought which Vladimir would take as a defining maxim for his life: “There is no God.” Thus young Lenin renounced his meager faith, which had been based solely on religious ritual.
A quarter of a century later, in December 1901, now an editor at the Iskra socialist newspaper based in Switzerland, Lenin wrote and published an anti-religious manifesto as the first article in the first issue.
“A Marxist,” Lenin wrote describing the new socialist man, “must be a materialist, an enemy of religion; his struggle against religion ought not to be an abstract one, but a concrete one, based on class struggle.”
A decade later, in The Enlightenment monthly, Lenin called for the promotion of blasphemous and insulting stories about Christians, particularly those with a teaching mission in the churches to maximize the damage.
Once Lenin took power, the 1918 Soviet Constitution deprived priests and nuns of civil rights, including active and passive electoral rights. Everyone employed by the church, from chairwomen to sacristans and deacons, faced strict registration rules armed with heavy fines, higher taxes, and a ban on supplementary employment.
As the leader of the Soviet Union, Lenin ordered Communists to persecute every Christian who prayed at church or home.
Discussing with the Communist leaders, including Stalin, the war against religion, Lenin referred to any religious idea of God as a shameful infection and the concept of the dignity of the individual as stupid. For Lenin, the masses, not the individual, were the most important.
Succeeding Lenin as Soviet leader, Stalin continued the anti-Christian offensive as the first of three pillars of socialist doctrine: the destruction of religion, the dismantling of marriage and family, and the abolition of private property. Christian education was also punished as anti-Communist propaganda. Henceforth, parents could be punished if they encouraged their children to learn or recite prayers.
As the famous Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “militant atheism [was] not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it [was] not a side effect, but the central pivot.”
A key dimension of this socialist atheization program that researchers of Soviet history fail to mention is the Communist party’s promotion of alcoholism, a disease they intentionally exported to states under their control.
In Poland, it took two decades of official state promotion of atheism with a simultaneous unlimited supply of alcohol to turn a nation from one of the smallest consumers of vodka to one of the largest. Before World War II, in 1938, Poland’s annual alcohol consumption was the lowest in Europe. In 1958, under the Moscow-imposed socialist regime, Poland was among the ten biggest consumers. There is no more effective way to destroy the individual spirit than to fill a man endlessly full of vodka. After all, socialist rulers prefer controllable drunks instead of independent-minded sober citizens.
A Spiritual Crusade to Destroy the Grip of Socialism: the Poland Example
Every year, the situation in the Socialist Soviet bloc grew increasingly grim. Christians were increasingly targeted and alcoholism was rampant. But that began to change in October 1978 when Cardinal Karol Wojtyla from Krakow, Poland was elected Pope of the Catholic Church.
In one of his early remarks to a group of his Polish countrymen, the new Pope John Paul II said: “I am asking you to oppose everything that offends human dignity and humiliates the customs of a healthy society.”
In this appeal, Pope John Paul II was drawing upon the lessons of a fellow Polish priest, pastor, and intellectual, Father Franciszek Blachnicki.
Confronted with the experience of militant atheism, Father Blachnicki developed Liberation Theology for the Solidarity trade union movement. Distinct from the Latin American Marxist concept, it rejected any form of revolution or social manipulation. This new theology solely upheld the truth about unalienable rights, and the unique value and dignity of the individual human person.
In other words, it taught American values and had in mind George Washington’s instruction, that religion and morality are indispensable dispositions that lead to political prosperity.
Blachnicki believed intellectual engagement was required for the understanding of the truth and of conscience, and that therefore the Holy Scriptures needed to be adopted as the obligatory norm for a person’s life. The Bible conveyed the essence of human freedom and that the true path toward liberation from the ever-present fear in a totalitarian society is by taking up one’s cross. Therefore, the cross, representing readiness for sacrifice, was a crucial symbol of Blachnicki’s theology of freedom.
Father Blachnicki, in explaining his strategy, emphasized that the movement followed the principle of never asking what it was allowed to do, but rather doing what it had to do as a movement composed of Christians, who want to live according to the Gospel with the freedom of being God’s children.
Blachnicki was convinced that social vice such as alcoholism was both a cause and a result of militant atheism. That’s why he believed that Christians could discover a way to human and social freedom, without force, by living boldly according to that faith by combating common social vices, including alcoholism.
The new, non-violent Polish crusade taught life according to the Gospel’s principles, taking responsibility for one’s choices, and being of service to the addicted. The core of the Crusade was voluntary life-long abstinence from alcohol aimed at eliminating the temptation of the lifestyle message of “always vodka” constantly promoted by the socialist state. For instance, the Crusade members would organize a Christmas Eve supper without alcohol and removed alcohol from the table during any holiday, contrary to the expectations of the atheist regime.
A genuine new culture began to spread among Polish families.
This Catholic liberation movement, epitomized by the anti-alcoholism Crusade, rapidly became so robust that the socialist regime could not inhibit it by administrative or criminal measures.
In about ten years, the three pillars of the socialist doctrine instituted by Lenin crumbled in Poland, leaving the Leninist program of militant atheism on the ash heap of history.
Instead of being destroyed under communism, religion flourished, family not only survived but was vigorous, and the rights of private property – even before being officially re-instituted – were honored.
“It is not the person who rules over others as his slaves who is free,” Father Blachnicki taught. “A free person expresses this love by freely placing himself in service to others, his brethren, as Christ did.”
Liberated in their souls, people under God were able to topple the Iron Curtain that had deprived them of civic and political freedoms.
The source of victory over socialism was in essence a spiritual revolution whose explanation cannot be found solely in political or social concepts but rather in the character of the religious and moral response to the violation of human person dignity.
The core of the battle against socialism was the spiritual value of the truth manifested in the courageous protest against propaganda. It consisted of challenging the total untruthfulness of the system and taking up one’s cross.
This understanding of freedom that constituted the Polish theology of liberation was confirmed by the experience of people who in faith reassessed the situation of socialism in their country.
Through their valiant effort, the Polish people became a light of hope for other nations, who were able to help in liberating others.
This Christmas, many Americans find themselves challenged by the same socialist atheism that once totally controlled Poland. They have been unable to defeat social vices, including alcohol and drug addiction. In response to their challenges, they must courageously uphold the spiritual value of truth and liberty by re-adopting them as standards in their lives.
Such a strategy will lead to a crusade for moral renewal in America, resulting in a reaffirmation of religious and American identity, thus reinforcing the importance of American Exceptionalism and utterly destroying the grip of socialism.