Soviet Sees Religion as Threat to Policy
In doing some research to my film “Bread Alone” I came across some interesting articles.
Here’s one from the New York Times, 1929
New Repressive Law Seeks to Combat Churches’ Weakening of Class War
MOSCOW, April 26. – The first half of the new religious law, published here today, bears full witness to the anxiety of the Bolsheviki regarding the growth of influence and numbers of the religious organizations, particularly of the Baptists, Methodists, and other “sectants” as they are called here. In the last two or three years the ground of the attack against religion has shifted. Instead of talk about it as “opium for the people” “outworn superstition” and so on, it has now become the Bolshevist theory that the Kremlin’s socialization policy inevitably leads to the indentification of class warfare in town and country.
In the press and in speeches it is delcared that the “religious opposition” is one of the principal threats to the Kremlin’s policy.
As pointed out in previous dispatches,m the religious bodies in Russia, using greatly modernized methods, have been making a successful appeal – which to the Bolsheviki means a dangerous appeal – to the masses through all manner of social, educational and even industrial or commercial societies.
The new law prohibits all such activities in the future in the most categorical form. No premises may be occupied by a religious body for any purposes save prayer and, within narrow limits, for the religious instruction of pesons of the age of 18 who wish to become clergymen. All libraries, clubs, welfare societies, excursion societies, children’s playgrounds, creches, hospitals, dispensaries and similar organizations are implacably forbidden. There is even a prohibition of the collection or distribution of funds for charitable purposes. Finally no books except those actually needed in conducting services are allowed on religious premises.
Of interesting note here are two things:
1- notice all of the various organizations listed that the church was providing for the community. this was seen as a threat to the state and thus outlawed. the state is to provide everyhing, no private charity (notice how this has manifested itself in the US)
the crime of the church was that they brought people together, thus distilling the demagoguery of “class warfare”
2 – the way to destroy the effects of the church are to ban all its book and outlaw teaching – this is a battle of ideas