You might get goose bumps watching this fiery speech by Fr. Andrew Kemberling. After all, it is not every day we hear a wholesale condemnation socialism from a priest on the “pulpit” of a conservative political rally!

This vociferous pastor from St. Thomas More parish in Centennial, Colo., delivered an impassioned address last May. It may be old news, but the video has gained enormous popularity and even gone viral (over 1.3 million views) just one month before the U.S. presidential elections.

As the free market vs. socialism politicking are growing to a climax, surely more Christian believers like Fr. Kemberling are declaring they too  have “earned a free pass” to engage in this heated debate to express  their strong convictions against centrally planned, godless political regimes.

Fr. Kemberling pleads with GOP party members for support of the free society in the name of his faith. According to the St. Thomas More Parish website:

Fr. Andrew was invited to lead the opening prayer at the 2012 Colorado Republican State Assembly and Convention in the Magness Arena at the University of Denver…He invites all people of conscience to uphold religious freedom [:] “The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism’.

Fr. Kemberling’s philosophical and theological disapproval of the rising tide of socialism in America rests firmly not only upon a defense of freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and private property rights – all of which socialist ideologies tend to eliminate from society.

More fundamentally so, his convictions against socialism rest on the non-negotiable Judeo-Christian teaching of human anthropology.  Fr. Kemberling defends that we are all born with human dignity, which expressly means that we are made in the image and of our Creator.  In being fashioned in the image of God, we are:

  • free like God;
  • creative like God;
  • responsible and loving stewards for our own actions like God;
  • and, therefore, in any economic system, we are called to be, free, creative, responsible and loving.

Fr. Kemberling asks us, in the name of this core value of our Judeo-Christian faith, to condemn socialism in support of an enterprise system in which economic participants can voluntarily use their God-given talents to make free, creative, loving and responsible contributions to society.

Socialism – in trying to radically change the definition of human anthropology, falls prey to what Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek called man’s “fatal conceit”.  As Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathon Sacks writes his book Morals and Markets:

Hayek, having lived through the some of the greatest dislocations of the 20th century, could never take the market order or its associated phenomenon, the free society, for granted [since] there was the seductive voice of reason , the ‘fatal conceit’ that [says] by conscious intent and deliberate planning we can improve on the morality of the past, and as it were re-design our basic human institutions. It was also the mistake of liberals such as John Stuart Mill who regarded traditional moral constraints…as eminently dispensable, the unwanted baggage of a more superstitious age.

When watching Fr. Kemberling’s impassioned denunciation of socialism, we are reminded that the enterprise economy is the best dynamic foundation for the vocational use of our individual stock of talents in the service of God and humanity. This is the “pursuit of happiness” which socialism wrongfully attempts to oppress and replace with a “fatal conceit” – the prideful belief that a society of economic actors can be happily obedient recipients of the deterministic, uncreative and top-down central planning of government leaders.