The Problem of Anti-Socialist Narratives in the Modern Christian Church

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I have written elsewhere about how Pope Gregory XVI condemned ‘freedom of conscience’ in 1832, how Pope Pius IX declared absolute monarchy (and totalitarian government) the preferred organisation of society for the Catholic Church in 1864, and how Popes Pius XI and XII openly aligned the Catholic Church with Italian fascism and German Nazism during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as actively participated in the Holocaust etc. Coupled with over a thousand years of oppression and persecution of Jews, Muslims and non-Christians (one author estimates te death toll to be around 10 million – including 5 million Cathars wiped-out in France). It is a grim history, and yet the middle class people who inhabit the church (including its Protestant off-shoot) believe that the economic privilege they enjoy is entirely to do with god ‘gracing’ their supposed good behaviour. The poverty of the working class is not viewed as being a product of systemic social, political and economic inequality, but rather the product of god ‘punishing’ the unworthy. This is a ahistorical myth designed to retain bourgeois dominance. The bourgeoisie has gained its power not through quiet and peaceful prayer (the ‘myth’), but rather through centuries of brutal warfare. The British middle class took power from the aristocracy during the English Civil Wars of the 1640s and have retained it ever since. These wars were brutal and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands killed and wounded, and ended-up with the execution of Charles I. True, the bourgeoisie allowed a certain ‘token’ return of the monarchy, but stopped short of handing back the power already usurped. Today, and following the work of Marx and Engels, the Bourgeois State ensures that the working class will never succeed in taking power from the bourgeoisie. As the Church perceives poverty as being just and necessarily self-imposed (through ‘evil’ thoughts and behaviour), the redistribution associated with Socialism is rejected as it suggests the ‘rewarding’ of evil actions, and humanity attempting to short-circuit god’s plan (which always seems to be in favour of the rich). The rich ‘ignore’ their own bloody and despicable history, and reduce everything to their refined behaviour (which is the product of their current affluence). Revolution is out of the question as it interferes with god’s plan. This is the denial of reality that Marx talks about, and why a Church is stripped of any and all political power within a Socialist society. Individuals may practice their religion in peace, but the Church can nolonger assert this kind of inverted thinking that corrupts reality. The reality is that poor people are born into the pre-existing inequalities forced upon them by a bourgeoisie that ‘pretends’ it has nothing to do with its own history and is all ‘other worldly’. The bourgeoise falsely assumes that everything it has is a product of an unseen god giving it to them (a position validated by the Church), when in reality it is the brutal and merciless accumulation of power and wealth over many generations. The poor are expected to give in and accept this situation (‘surrendering to god’), and if this is done correctly, they may expect a slight increase in the relief of their poverty from time to time. The bourgeois attitude is that the behaviour of the working class must improve (measured through its ability to conform to and support the bourgeois status quo), before ‘god’ will grant the systemic improvement in society that is desired. The idea that the working class could mimic the bourgeoisie and simply ‘take’ power is anathema to the Church – hence its reactionary support for all anti-Socialist movements. Of course, it doesn’t have to be like this, as some Church members support Socialism and even carry flags in Communist parades – but unfortunately it is the default setting of the established Church in the modern world. The Church does not want to lose its political power and certainly does not to see an empowered (and well educated) working class as this would diminish the number of people who mindlessly subscribe to religious dogma.  

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