Acton Institute Powerblog

Communism gets religion

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Evidently, the Obama campaign’s success has attracted imitators. From the People’s Weekly World:

CHICAGO — The Communist Party USA has established a new Religion Commission to strengthen its work among religious people and organizations. In its leadership are activists representing various religious traditions from around the country. Tim Yeager, a Chicago trade unionist and a member of the Episcopal Church, serves as its chair.

“We want to reach out to religious people and communities, to find ways of improving our coalition work with them, and to welcome people of faith into the party,” Yeager said.

I hesitate to say that “reaching out to religious people” is ever a bad thing, but… if this means a renewed effort to demonstrate some kind of compatibility between Marxism and Christianity, then we’ve seen this movie before. It was called liberation theology and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith pretty well settled the question back in 1984 and 1986 (at least as far as Catholics are concerned) in documents promulgated by the man who is now Pope Benedict XVI. The CDF carefully distinguished genuinely Christian forms of ‘liberation theology’ from objectionable versions, but it explained clearly that and why the categories of Marxist analysis and Christian theology are fundamentally incompatible.

The CPUSA recognizes the delicacy of the situation: “Yeager acknowledged that relations between some Marxist parties and religious institutions in other parts of the world have been marked by conflict.” Yes, such as Russia, Hungary, Albania, Lithuania, Cuba, China, Korea, and Vietnam, for starters. Although “marked by conflict” doesn’t seem quite to capture the phenomenon of churches and religious believers systematically targeted for annihilation by totalitarian states informed by an atheist ideology that views faith in Jesus Christ as delusional and a dangerous obstacle to progress.

Kevin Schmiesing Kevin Schmiesing, Ph.D., is a research fellow for the research department at the Acton Institute. He is a frequent writer on Catholic social thought and economics, is the author of American Catholic Intellectuals, 1895-1955 (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002) and is most recently the author of Within the Market Strife: American Catholic Economic Thought from Rerum Novarum to Vatican II (Lexington Books, 2004). Dr. Schmiesing holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in history from Franciscan University ofSteubenville. Author of Within the Market Strife and American Catholic Intellectuals, 1895—1955 (2002), he serves as Book Review Editor for the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is also executive director of


  • Fizzmick PaChee

    Thankfully Darwin’s discovery of evolution completely rules out the possibility that man came from some dirt that a god used to make an image of himself out of, and that woman came from a rib of this dirt-man.

    Compare the amount of interlocking data from every applicable scientific field including geology, physics, and even molecular biology, all having observational experiments done, that test and prove the hypotheses of evolution occurring (elevating it to a FACT and a THEORY), with the DISCREDITED FAIRY TALE – a big invisible monster that nobody has ever seen or heard did it.

    It is frightening that mass delusions of supernatural beings still exist today. It is the same thing as saying that my invisible fire breathing dragon is more powerful than your multi-headed fire spewing sea monster. So, come around to my way of thinking or I will commit atrocities for it.

    Everything from the murderous blood stained Sky Daddy who drowned virtually all humanity and other life, sentenced everyone to leave Utopia after Eve (persuaded by a talking snake) ate a magical apple, had Jonah take a ride in the belly of a whale, ruined the life of Job, told Abraham to murder his own kid, killed all the first born of Egypt, had his chosen people commit genocide on the original inhabitants of Palestine, to letting his own son be nailed to some wood so mankind could party with a ghost – is a FAIRY TALE that humanity needs to reject if we are to see many more generations.

    By the way if you are dumb enough to believe that this fable is real; in the Bible, the murder count is God/millions – Devil/zero. Whom would you rather spend time with, a vengeful monster or a fallen angel who thought he had a better way? I am NOT promoting the Devil, just illustrating the craziness in this stupidity.

    Hopefully if you were previously deluded, after reading this you will see how foolish you have been. Society needs to accelerate its retreat from worshiping outlandishly absurd fictional psychopathic beings.

    There is no middle ground.

  • Nick Freitas

    “Thankfully Darwin’s discovery of evolution completely rules out the possibility that man came from some dirt that a god used to make an image of himself out of, and that woman came from a rib of this dirt-man.”

    How can a theory outside the boundaries of scientific verification disprove a metaphysical theory?

    “So, come around to my way of thinking or I will commit atrocities for it.”

    Would those be anything like the atrocities committed by men such as Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao all committed atheists and dedicated to both the violent extinction of religion and the secular philosophies of Nietzsche, Hobbes, Darwin, etc.?

    “Hopefully if you were previously deluded, after reading this you will see how foolish you have been. Society needs to accelerate its retreat from worshiping outlandishly absurd fictional psychopathic beings.”

    I don’t see how any of the unsubstantiated vitriol you have delivered here can be considered a well thought out or comprehensive defense of secular humanism, macro evolution, atheism etc.

    In point of fact it would seem that you are a product of a post modernist education which has never been taught the limits of science.

    You repeatedly suggest that believing in God is “stupid” or “wrong”, but my question to you is how are you able to logically use such ethical language if their is no objective truth? You are in fact borrowing form the Christian or theistic world view by utilizing such language.

    Atheism itself is an insupportable position as it implies that the person claiming the title has sufficient knowledge of the universe to state a negative concerning a metaphysical concept in the absolute. You cant even do this with physical objects, how can you possibly do it with metaphysical ones?

    I’m afraid that all you have demonstrated here is a substandard understanding of science, history and philosophy, not to mention basic good manners.

    I hope you will take the time to come back and discuss these issues in a civil tone, so that everyone can benefit from the debate.

  • Tracy

    What I gather from this article is the Communist Party USA is encouraging people of faith to support this political party by writing articles religion and marxism. Just curious are there any articles I can read on people of faith responding to this group. Thanks

  • Nick has hit the nail on the head. My mind was spinning with where I should begin in refuting Fizzmick, until I saw what Nick wrote. Then I realized it was taken care of.

    At this point, I’m surprised there are any atheists left. They have been trying for years to answer for concepts such as morality, feeling, emotion, etc in a physicalist world.

    Most recently John Searle attempted to make an account for atheism through a reconfiguring of the definitions of the the physical and the mental in his theory Biological Naturalism. In short, when you can beat’m, call them something else. What he does is steal pieces of the definition of “mental” so that the physical world can account for the immaterial. I tell you this, not to go off on a rabbit trail, but instead to demonstrate the desperate nature of the atheist argument. (FYI- David Chalmers does a great job at destroying Searle’s theory Biological Naturalism)

    So, thanks Nick for saving me some time in researching my old philosophy notes from college.

  • Kevin

    I’m not aware of any responses to this particular initiative. More generally, there is a vast literature of Christian debate about socialism/Communism/Marxism. One classic that comes to mind is Witness by Whittaker Chambers.

  • Chad Hague

    Mr. Fizzmick at the end of your rant you were careful to say the you weren’t promoting the devil, so why did you find that statement necessary?

  • Mario Rios Pinot

    Even though many of us are atheist (there must be a better word) many non-atheist will be believers for a long time to come (perhaps)…so what to do in the mean time? There are many non-atheist and liberals and non-Marxist-Leninist who are if not radicals at least will to help the CPUSA to pave the way, do what they can, support higher wages for workers, equal wages for women, equal opportunity for African-Americans, etc. maybe not the abolition of private property or the temporary dictatorship by the working class. Helpers are helpful, compromises of goals but not of principles.