Religion, faith and communism

Opinion

“The divisions of Christianity are no longer Protestant verses Catholic but conservative verses liberal.” – Belief.net

When I worked at SEIU (the Service Employees union) with the various groups that use the union’s call center in the weeks before the elections, I met and was uplifted by many Catholics — a nun in particular — Jews and Protestants, all working with groups endorsing women’s right to choose, gay and lesbian rights, and the class struggle. I also witnessed Communists, Young Communist Leaguers especially, working shoulder to shoulder with them.

We need to build up more alliances with all people of all religions.

When I worked at Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (the Quaker headquarters for the Friends in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware area), I got to work with other “historic peace churches”: the Brethren, Shakers, Mennonites and other denominations, even those who were not called “historic peace churches” but who felt that this Iraq war is wrong.

I personally felt led to bring into the Communist Party three friends who are active in their faiths, one a Quaker, another who is the pastor of the United Church of Christ, and the third a Jehovah’s Witness — all thee had expressed an interest in the party. We all need to confront the myth that communism is anti-religion. Communism is not anti-religion — it is anti-opulence.

God doesn’t need gold and silver, the poor do.

When I speak with religious folks who are conservative and who claim to be “right to life,” I ask myself and them: “How does one reconcile ‘right to life” with U.S. involvement in senseless slaughter? How can one profess to be ‘for life’ yet sanction this war?”

I came to the Communist Party because of my deep Quaker faith. I have become convinced (a Quaker expression) of the “rightness” of Marxism.

I am guided by John Woolman (1720-1772), Quaker and abolitionist, Mount Holly Friends Meeting, Mt. Holly, N.J., who said, “I shall set my face against all policies and practices that may cause the bread of the needy to fail.”

And I think of Anna White and Leila S. Taylor, of the North Family of Shakers, Mt. Lebanon, N.Y., who wrote in 1902, “The Rights of Labor should never be infringed by Monopoly or Capital, for all should work for each and each should work for all.”

Finally, I’d like to quote the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in El Salvador: “The church cannot but act when it hears the cries of the oppressed.”



Michael Reale is a network administrator for the Communist Party USA. He can be reached at mreale@cpusa.org.