Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 14, No. 12. September 20, 1951
Communism-Anglicanism Do Mix — A Challenge Accepted
Communism-Anglicanism Do Mix
A Challenge Accepted
In answer to Mr Hurley's challenge to prove Anglicanism and Communism are not incompatible, I would first" like to comment on his wilful misrepresentation of Karl Marx, as is typical of people who quote from penny religious tracts.
Religion has been a weapon of the puling class for centuries. On one hand it is used to preach the sacredness of the established social order: "Grant that we may serve Thee, with one accord in duty and loyalty to the King, in obedience to the laws of the land and in brotherly love towards each other." On the other hand, it is used to comfort those that work and are heavily burdened, with, the hope of everlasting happiness in a life to come: "Fail not to remember and comfort one another with these words, that in heaven ye have a more enduring substance." Used in this way, it serves to excuse social justice. This is what Carl Marx meant when Mr Hurley described it as "the opium of the people"—the phrase out of its context, which is as follows: "Religious misery is, on the one hand, the expression of actual misery, and, on the other, a protest against actual misery. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the kindliness of a heartless world, the spirit of unspiritual conditions. It is the people's opium."
At the present day, the Catholic Hierarchy is committed to the doctrine that private property is based on natural Law and divine Right and accordingly it has consistently supported fascism—the most brutal tyranny the world has ever known—against socialism and communism. The Anglican Hierachy has recently joined with the Catholic in giving divine sanction to the anti-communism campaign of the American Government, whose war preparations are being directed against the Soviet Union. There are of course, many devout Christians, Catholic and Protestants, who reject this betrayal of Christ's teaching; but that is the policy of their accredited leaders. These clergymen faithful to their real masters, are using all the resources of the pulpit, press and radio to persuade their flocks that Communism is anti-Christ. But Communist propaganda exposes the real function of religion, as they use it, which is to protect the privileges of the working class.
The truth is, there are two Christs—the Christ of the workers, who worship him as a symbol of their own sufferings and their hopes of emancipation and the Christ of the ruling class (and Mr Hurley) which uses him as a means of reconciling the workers to economic exploitation and social and spiritual degradation.
Therefore Mr Hurley's challenge is accepted. Christianity (of the workers) and Communism are not incompatible. These two trends—the progressive and the reactionary are always present in Christianity and time will show that these ideals of Christian workers (in which Communists believe as firmly as they do) of peace and goodwill, love of your neighbour, and service to the community, can only be attained through an organised struggle of the working class leading to a transformation of the existing social order.
—L. B. Piper.