How do Communism and Christianity work together?

 
BY: Scott Hiley| August 2, 2016
QCPUSA declares that it's okay to be religious and a communist; it's actually a good to bring people together of all religions for one cause. As a Christian, I was wondering if you could either explain how Communism and Christianity can work together or give me titles of articles/books that delve into this topic? Thank you very much for taking the time to read and answer my question!
ACommunism and Christianity have a long history.  Throughout his ministry, Jesus spread the revolutionary message that the needs of the poor and the marginalized are at the center of the kingdom of God.  Following in the Jewish tradition of the jubilee year, he announced, “[The Lord] has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives… to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” From the ancient bishops who blasted moneylenders from the pulpit to the modern-day prophets of the civil rights movement, faithful Christians have carried that message through the ages.

At the same time, however, ruling classes have crafted a Christianity to suit their own ends: a brutal doctrine that salvation lies in submission, and that the emperor, the slaveholder, the boss, and the husband are God’s representatives on earth.  This belief that we should suffer now and hope for better after we die is the religion that Marx famously called “the opiate of the masses”—though he also said that faith in a better world to come is the expression of needs that cannot be met under existing social conditions.

So we might say, on the one hand, that Christianity and Communism go hand-in-hand because at the core of both we find a radical message of liberation and a revolutionary understanding that our current society is incompatible with the full development of human potential.  On the other hand, Communist Christians must keep up the fight to bring Communism and Christianity together by engaging our faith communities in the struggle against exploitation and oppression that is, in my understanding, at the center of the Gospel.

For further reading on the subject, I would suggest Tim Yeager's article, "The Revolutionary Hope of Christmas" and the book The Gospel of the Working Class: Labor's Southern Prophets in New Deal America, by Erik Gellman and Jarod Roll.  My favorite modern example of radical Christianity is Dr. King's speech against "the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism," delivered at Riverside Church in 1967.
Author
    Scott Hiley has taught French, literature, history, and philosophy at the high school, college, and post-graduate levels.  A member of CPUSA since 2010, he is active in struggles against austerity and for education justice and labor rights. His articles have appeared in the People's World (US), the Morning Star (UK), and l'Humanité (France). He lives in a rural town in upstate NY.

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