[Marxism] Lenin on religion

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 18 13:11:43 MDT 2006

Religion must be declared a private affair. In these words socialists 
usually express their attitude towards religion. But the meaning of these 
words should be accurately defined to prevent any misunderstanding. We 
demand that religion be held a private affair so far as the state is 
concerned. But by no means can we consider religion a private affair so far 
as our Party is concerned. Religion must be of no concern to the state, and 
religious societies must have no connection with governmental authority. 
Everyone must be absolutely free to profess any religion he pleases, or no 
religion whatever, i.e., to be an atheist, which every socialist is, as a 
rule. Discrimination among citizens on account of their religious 
convictions is wholly intolerable. Even the bare mention of a citizen's 
religion in official documents should unquestionably be eliminated. No 
subsidies should be granted to the established church nor state allowances 
made to ecclesiastical and religious societies. These should become 
absolutely free associations of like-minded citizens, associations 
independent of the state. Only the complete fulfilment of these demands can 
put an end to the shameful and accursed past when the church lived in 
feudal dependence on the state, and Russian citizens lived in feudal 
dependence on the established church, when medieval, inquisitorial laws (to 
this day remaining in our criminal codes and on our statute-books) were in 
existence and were applied, persecuting men for their belief or disbelief, 
violating men's consciences, and linking cosy government jobs and 
government-derived incomes with the dispensation of this or that dope by 
the established church. Complete separation of Church and State is what the 
socialist proletariat demands of the modern state and the modern church.

full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/dec/03.htm



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