Separation of Church and State – With an Iron Curtain
So how does state collectivism coexist with religion? Well, we – and the American Left – have the historical example of the Soviet Union’s suppression of religion as a lesson. It is a lesson for those that wish to avoid this from happening here – and also a lesson for those that want something similar to happen in America.
Tim Birdnow, in discussing Christianity under the Soviets, states:
“The Orthodox Church had always been under the thumb of the State - even in Tsarist times - and other religions were always disapproved. Also, the Russian People hated Catholicism because it was associated with invaders (primarily Poles and Lithuanians), so Catholicism could not act as a bulwark against the Communists as it did in Poland and, indeed, did in the West. Protestantism was largely unknown in Russia, being associated with Germans. It really was a matter of breaking the Orthodox authority and thus breaking organized religion there.
Russian Orthodoxy suggests it was more a religion run by the priesthood, and not very participatory. That is important, because it made the priests - who often lived better than the general public during Tsarist days and who were viewed somewhat as we view Federal bureaucrats - isolated from the public. As a result, the faithful may have believed as strongly as their Western cousins but didn't really care that much about the fate of the church itself. They had nothing to make them feel PART of it. So there was no public outcry when the Bolsheviks went after the priests and bishops, and once the structure of Orthodoxy was broken and put under the iron thumb the populace had no alternatives.
I am mindful of Stalin's boast "how many legions does the Pope have?" Stalin thought he held all the cards. How wrong he was! He tried to destroy faith in Russia, but simply drove it deeper into the minds, hearts, and spirits of his people.”
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And it should be noted that Stalin as a young man studied in an Orthodox seminary, so he understood more about the inner workings of Orthodoxy than the average Communist.
In “The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith” by Peter Hitchens, it states in
Had their only concern been a need for a belief system that prostrated itself before them, the Bolsheviks did in fact have to handle the body known as the “Living Church” (see chap. 13). This group of collaborationists was composed of priests and bishops who were more than ready to place Orthodox Christianity at the disposal of the Council of People’s Commissars. But after having served the Bolsheviks by splitting and weakening the Orthodox Church, the leaders of the Living Church were arrested (and presumably murdered in prison, since no more was heard of them) in the early 1930s.
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As for the Soviet controlled “Living Church,” this is what The Orthodox Wiki has to say:
The Living Church (also called Renovated Church or Obnovlencheskaya Tserkov) was a theoretical, reformed "Orthodox church" set up in the old Soviet Union by the Bolshevik government after it confiscated all property of the Church of Russia. It was disbanded in 1943 when Stalin was desperate to bolster the morale of the Russian people in the Second World War.
This church had almost no following among the people, and a number of clergy who had been in the movement in good faith repented and returned to the Orthodox Church. The few who tried to exist in the state run church of the atheistic government were used by the state against those faithful to Patriarch Tikhon. The government knew the renovation (reformation) would cause division and weakening to government opposition. As the leader of the party said, "I will smite the shepherd and scatter the sheep," Patriarch Tikhon was arrested and isolated from the populace and the Church was given to the wolves. But even by the late twenties, it became of little use to the state.
The legacy of this movement, is that now all change is seen to be renovation of the faith. The Living Church used modern Russian, the revised calendar, and non monastic Bishops.
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This brings us to the next question: what about Judaism under Soviets? Although a different religion, it was a religion probably more despised by the atheistic Soviet regime, because of both Russian anti-semitism and the Communists and Secret Police members who came from Jewish families and wanted to destroy the observant practices and mentality of Judaism to create a “New Soviet Man.”
Peter Hitchens continues in Chapter 13:
The same thing happened to their Jewish equivalents, the “Yevseksiy” [Jack’s NOTE: Also spelled Yevseksii] (Jewish sections of the Communist Party). These were wound up in 1929, their functionaries purged in 1937. In this case it is recorded that their chairman, Semyon Dimanshtein, was shot in captivity.
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By P. Hitchens saying the Yevseksiy was “wound up in 1929,” that means the Soviets disbanded the organization after:
The Yevsektsii, the Jewish sections of the Communist Party, are the main instrument of the new government in applying the Marxist doctrine of forced assimilation.
The systematic attack of the Bolshevik government upon all organized religions also affects Judaism. The Yevsektsii close down synagogues and kheyders, confiscate religious books and objects, and conduct a campaign against rabbis, ritual slaughterers and other essential functionaries of Jewish religious and communal life. If they refuse to resign, they are arrested and deported.
The Yevsektsii also campaign against the Hebrew language. In their eyes, Hebrew is the reactionary language of the Jewish bourgeoisie, whatever its content, and has to be eliminated in favor of Yiddish, the language of the Jewish proletariat. Hebrew schools and printing presses are closed.
At the end of the 1920s, Hebrew becomes the only language which is officially outlawed in the Soviet Union. Jewish religious education is now impossible.
With the almost complete elimination of organized Jewish religious and communal life, the Yevsektsii have become redundant and are dissolved in 1930. During the Stalinist purges of the late 1930s, most of its members are accused of having had "nationalist tendencies," and are deported or killed.
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Note the use of the terms like “deported or killed” in relation to the leadership of both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Jewish religion in the Soviet Union. In 1945, as the Red Army approached the Vistula River outside Warsaw, Stalin urged the patriotic, very Catholic and pro capitalist Polish Home Army to rise in revolt against the Nazis. To their shock and dismay, Stalin then refused to use his troops, planes or artillery to attack the Nazis as they destroyed the poorly armed Home Army guerillas. Stalin did this in order to destroy the last of the brave Poles of faith so that he could create a New Socialist Man and post war leadership coming from the religiously indifferent or atheistic proletariat.
In America, Bill Ayers and the Weathermen wanted to kill 25 million “die hard capitalists” (capitalists and believers in God are not mutually exclusive categories) http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/election/480 who wouldn’t comply with his New Socialist State. But it is perhaps more realistic to say that a “progressive” program of outlawing many religious practices, such as signs and mangers on church property, saying “Merry Christmas” or “Shannah Tova” (“Happy New Year” in Hebrew), referring to religion in almost all school or government or business writings would be the beginning. Seminaries of all religions could be closed – all using a legal fiction based the letter of Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists which is already treated by many liberals as having the force of federal, if not Constitutional law.
If some readers think I am being extreme in my accusations, these leftists/atheists are the people who have opposed decades old crosses in memorials on federal land in La Jolla, the Mojave Desert, and in Utah honoring fallen state troopers. Even the artifact I-beam cross from the ruins of the World Trade Center, now placed in the Ground Zero Memorial Museum site has been vigorously opposed, as has been a street sign in Brooklyn saying “Seven in Heaven Way” (to honor fallen 9/11 firefighters from the nearby firehouse). These are a few of numerous attacks by the left in attempts to shame people from displaying their faith publicly. What makes anyone think the left would not do much more to inhibit displays of Christianity and Judaism if they had one or two more votes on the U.S. Supreme Court?
The left, with the inspiration (if I may use that word here) of examples both old and new, is salivating for an opportunity to create its own version of the Dred Scott Decision aimed against People of Faith.