Dr. Paul Kengor on What Lenin Said About Christianity and Socialism

Editor’s note: This article first appeared at Crisis Magazine.

“If someone calls it socialism,” said Rev. William Barber at the August meeting of the Democratic National Committee, “then we must compel them to acknowledge that the Bible must then promote socialism, because Jesus offered free health care to everyone, and he never charged a leper a co-pay.”

Barber’s statement brought secular progressives to their feet in thunderous applause. That included DNC chair Tom Perez, who says that Democratic socialists like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represent “the future of our party.” That’s a party once headed by men like John F. Kennedy, who warned of the “fanaticism and fury”—the “ruthless, godless tyranny”—of the “communist conspiracy.”

Describing the U.S. Constitution and the Bible as “socialist documents,” the Rev. Barber exhorted the faithful: “If you want to have a moral debate, bring it on, baby!”

A moral debate on socialism and Christianity, pastor? Sure, let’s have it.

But there’s no need to pick on Rev. Barber. He’s interchangeable with any number of “social justice” proponents on the Religious Left. His statement actually pales to what was published in the Jesuit-run America magazine a few weeks ago—a stunning piece titled “The Catholic Case for Communism.” The column, which was written by an America staff writer named Dean Dettloff, came with a defense and explanation by America’s editor-in-chief, Fr. Matt Malone, S.J., called “Why we published an essay sympathetic to communism.”

The spectacle prompted one reader to comment, “What will America publish next, ‘The Catholic Case for Atheism’? or ‘The Catholic Case for Satanism’?”

That’s no laughing matter. The Roman Catholic Church in the 1937 encyclical Divini Redemptoris referred to communism as a “satanic scourge,” a “truly diabolical” instrument of the “sons of darkness.”

Can you imagine a publication in 2019 defending such an ideology? What did communism produce in the interim, between 1937 and 2019? Only 100 million corpses or so.

But back to this democratic-socialism infatuation by many on the modern Religious Left. I dealt with this not long ago in a recent piece laying out at length what the Catholic Church has taught about socialism and even its alleged more “democratic” variants. Here, too, this article could run thousands of words with endless examples, including some from the very founders of socialism, Marxism, Marxism-Leninism, and past democratic socialists and Social Democrats refuting this stuff. Socialism is, in Marxist theory, the final transitionary step to communism.

Here today, I’ll offer merely a snapshot from Vladimir Lenin himself—who, for the record, was a Social Democrat. Yes, you heard that right. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union began life in 1898 as the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. In 1903, at the party’s 2nd Congress, Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin split their Bolshevik faction from their rival Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks were self-professed Social Democrats.

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SOURCE: Christian Post,