The fruits of militant atheism
Preamble to: THE FRUITS OF MILITANT ATHEISM in the new USSR
By Brian Moynahan/The Faith: A History of Christianity/Doubleday, NY/2002/pp. 670-674.
The unenlightened ego, with its drive to power and social control, has been problematic both inside and outside of religion. The preceding examples show the militant atheist ego at its murderous worst. They also reveal that religionists are not the only people who cower in the herd, as is shown by the Stalinists’ pathetic recourse to ‘atheist churches’ such as the LEAGUE OF THE MILITANT GODLESS and the Groups of THE GODLESS YOUTH, complete with ‘hymns.’ = = = = = = = = = = = == = = == = = = = = = = == === = == =
A decree in January 1918… banned religious teaching in all schools, colleges, and universities. All church buildings were taken by the state… Church and monastic land was nationalized. No compensation was offered for confiscated assets… Under the new constitution, the clergy – together with capitalists, criminals, and imbeciles – were deprived of the right to vote or hold state offices. In practice this denied the clergy the right to food rations and their children to education… the Orthodox Church was stripped of its legal privileges, its land, and its source of income… Calculated persecution returned after the Bolshevik victory in 1921. Lenin sanctioned terror as a form of pesticide to be used on people whom he dehumanized as “harmful insects…scoundrel fleas…bedbugs”… Émigrés estimated that 1200 priests and 28 bishops had been killed by 1923, and thousands of others, with monks and nuns, were deported. On Easter Day, 1925, the foundation congress of THE LEAGUE OF THE MILITANT GODLESS was held. Its duty was to eradicate religion through propaganda, pressure, and ridicule… The method that Stalin used to force the peasantry onto collective farms was terror-famine, and the result was a holocaust. Boris Pasternak, who made a trip to gather material on collectivization, found himself dumb with horror. “What I saw could not be expressed in words… There was such inhuman, unimaginable misery, such a terrible disaster, that it began to seem almost abstract, it would not fit within the bounds of consciousness.” Grain was confiscated from starving families to gain hard currency for Stalin’s industrialization program… It is probable that fourteen million peasants died… Communist activists led the grain searches, shot hoarders, and herded families onto deportation transports as a matter of dogma; they were pitiless, for dogma demanded “no concessions to rightist-deviationist attitudes” and “no pacifism.”… Terror, and scientific atheism, was also applied to the Church. Stalin introduced a Law of religious Associations in 1929 that banned churches from all work with children and young people. Churches were not allowed to organize reading rooms, libraries, excursions, children’s playgrounds, sewing groups, or bible readings; they could not sponsor sanatoria or medical care; their priests were forbidden to take part in any activity outside the immediate neighborhood of the “prayer building,” the new name for “church.” An attempt was made to extinguish religion as a whole. The fury fell most harshly on the Orthodox clergy, but thousands of other Christian priests, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, and mullahs and rabbis…were also persecuted… some were shot, though most of those arrested suffered a lingering death in the work camps of Siberia and the Arctic. Others lived on the run… Membership in THE LEAGUE OF THE MILITANT GODLESS reached five million by 1935. Children between eight and fourteen were enrolled in GROUPS OF GODLESS YOUTH before graduating to Komsomol, the League of Communist Youth. Prizes were offered for the best “godless hymns” and to children who denounced their parents for voicing anti-Party sentiments… Only one in forty churches survived; the others were smashed to rubble or turned into warehouses, offices, and museums. The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow was destroyed with dynamite, although care was taken to do so in the dead of night. A Palace of Soviets topped by a huge statue of Lenin was to be built in its place, but the site had weak foundations and it was used for a giant open-air swimming pool instead. No churches or meeting places were permitted in the new industrial cities… In statistical terms the Godless looked to have won. There were 163 Orthodox bishops in 1914, and by 1939 only four survived in freedom; of the old body of clergy 51,105 clergy, the number still in their parishes was in the hundreds… “Religion is like a nail,” Yaroslavsky wearily admitted. “The harder you strike it, the deeper it goes.” = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = == =
LEST WE FORGET: Atheists mass murdered over 100 million people in the last 83 years of the 20th century alone? You can find a most illuminating and interesting summary of historical mass murder at http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/. The combined killings done by by Jews, Christians, and Moslems throughout history don’t compare with the slaughter perpetrated by atheists in a single century.