[Opinion] Socialism is Incompatible with Religion


Jori O'Grady, Editor

“[Socialism] is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. [Socialism] is the opium of the people.” 

In the past couple of years, my generation has embraced socialist ideas. We scream, “Eat the Rich,” “Abolish the Police” and even support self-proclaimed Democratic socialists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

We’re a generation long past the cold war, living in immense political polarization, and a mental health pandemic. 

Socialism is again targeted at youth and presented as a cure for our woes, but time and time again socialism has failed. Why? Because its goal isn’t just to take down capitalism but to completely annihilate God Himself–what brings happiness, peace, diversity, knowledge, art, and charity to billions of people across the world.

In an ideal socialist society, religion is not welcome. This comes straight from theory.

Socialist Theory 

Let’s start with the basics, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Marx said: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

He taught that work instead is God, which any Abrahamic faith would know breaks and twists the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)

“Labor is the prime basic condition for all human existence and this to such an extent that, in a sense, we have to say that labor created man himself.”

Oh yeah and let’s not forget his object in life was “ To dethrone God and destroy capitalism.”

A 1970s revolutionary named Dotson Rade agreed with Marxism and commented, “You’ve got to change people’s sexual attitudes, people’s attitude towards the church, people’s attitude towards education, towards business.” He admitted that drug use, “sexual promiscuity and sexual deviancy is a device,” because they create “natural allies to a revolutionary movement.”

In 1905, Vladimir Lenin encouraged the Bolsheviks to “Follow the advice Marx and Engels once gave to the German Socialists: “To translate and widely spread the literature of the eighteenth-century French Enlighteners and atheists.”

Socialism and Religion: History Crash Course

From 1920-1940, the Soviet Union enacted its anti-religious campaign. The main targets being the Russian Orthodox Church and Islam.

Nearly all of their clergy and many of its believers were shot or sent to labor camps. Theological schools were closed, and church publications were prohibited. 

Similarly, during China’s Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong’s government vowed to eradicate religion. During the Great Leap Forward, Mao shut down schools and mobilized the youth to “embrace the revolutionary spirit.” The population was urged to rid itself of the “four olds:” old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas. 

Sounding familiar?

Socialism and Religion: Current Events

Today in Cuba, the government treats religious activists like common criminals— banning their freedoms, and blocking them from leaving the country.

In China, they’re closing churches, Sunday schools, and youth ministries.  They’re jailing pastors, even rewriting scripture. 

Most notably and absolutely horrifying is that China has detained millions of Muslims and Christians in conception/reeducation camps.

And before I get, “Well that’s communism” or “That’s not true socialism” or “Isn’t there a Christian socialist party in Canada?”

Let’s discuss.

What does America represent?

America was founded by people who fled from religious persecution and wanted to freely practice their religion. 

To quote Thomas Jefferson: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

A fundamental part of socialism is the abolishment of private property. So to those who call themselves Christian socialists, do you want your church to be owned, taxed, and even controlled by the state? 

And To the self-proclaimed socialists reading this typing away, “China and the Soviet Union are not true socialists, look at the European countries!”

Let’s look at the European Countries.

In Germany, Catholics, Protestants, Jews pay a  “religious tax” of 8 or 9 percent of their annual tax bill. This “church tax” was introduced in compensation for the nationalization of religious property. As of 2018, $610M was collected from churches. 

In Germany, 2.2 million people have reportedly de-registered from the Catholic Church since 2000.

It’s not a coincidence that socialist countries are predominantly atheist.

So where’s America at? 

Whether you agree with this or not, the government right now has the power to restrict our church services, Sunday schools and seminaries. They’re even going as far as telling us we can’t even sing in church.

What was really concerning was in California when the governor banned at-home worship. 

And many Democrats have advocated for taxing our churches, especially targeting the Catholic and LDS church along with many Islamic Centers.

In a mixed government, we already see the government taking more control of the church than what our founding fathers wanted. 

To enact a bigger government is bad news for religious people.

“Building Zion” Does not Mean I want Socialism

In other words, Jesus was not a socialist. Stop saying He was.  

Around the 1920s, the same time around women’s suffrage, the government started getting a lot bigger. First-wave feminism and social activism had a lot to do with this.


Because the church was lacking so people started turning to the government. The issue with that is that the people at the time were looking to address social issues that the church should have been addressing. 

We know from the Bible that a sign of a good church is a church that takes care of its people and its community around it.

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:27‬ 

To illustrate in my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we follow the law of Consecration, which is a principle where we dedicate our lives and material substances to the church.

In our church, we pay tithing and do not have paid clergy. We dedicate billions to charity across the world; we have church welfare, a bishop’s food storehouse, have orphanages, among a lot of other humanitarian work.

Sounds like socialism right?


The law of consecration is actually a perfect example of why a smaller government benefits my church. 

When Jesus said to help your neighbor and give to the poor, he didn’t mean to give all your money to the Romans and let them try and do it for you. 

Socialism is involuntary and forceful and the church is voluntary because we should have agency and freedom.  

Because we have separation of Church and state, my church should be able to operate without regulations and restrictions and forcefully made to hand over the money that we create and use to uphold a strong and healthy church that benefits people and turns them to Christ, not turns them to dependency on social programs and false hope, trapped in a ruinous and vicious cycle of compromise and corruption. 

“But doesn’t your church have like a hundred billion dollars?”

Make it a trillion. 

No seriously. I trust my church, not the government.