Friday, August 25, 2006

The "Christian" left

Since I have readers who are not Christians I thought that this article on Front Page Magazine might be useful in helping them to understand that just because an organization has the word "church" in its title it is not necessarily part of the "Christian Church".

As one of his formative spiritual experiences, a top official in the World Council of Churches (WCC) fondly recalls attending a Soviet-front group’s conference in the old Czechoslovakia. In a recent official WCC news eport, the Swiss-based ecumenical council interviews Rev. Walter Altmann, a Brazilian Lutheran theologian, former head of the Latin American Council of Churches, and the new moderator the WCC's totalitarian-sounding
"central committee." Currently, he also heads the 700,000 member Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil.

"As a young pastor, at the height of the military dictatorship in Brazil, I traveled semi-secretly to Prague in 1968 to take part as a delegate in the Christian Peace Conference," Altmann reminisces. There is no further comment about the CPC event, much less any note of regret.

The Christian Peace Conference (CPC) was founded by a Czech, pro-Marxist theologian in the late 1950’s, though even he abandoned the CPC when it refused to criticize the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Based in Prague, it operated as part of the phalanx of various Soviet-front groups for churchmen, labor leaders, journalists, and peace activists. Operating in alliance with the Soviet-created World Peace Council (WPC) in Helsinki, the CPC faithfully defended communism and Soviet global initiatives, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, to martial law in Poland, to demands for Western disarmament. The CPC and the WPC, with other facades, were under the authority of the International Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. They received most of their funding from the Soviet Peace Fund, much of which was raised through the Russian Orthodox Church.

Apparently, the CPC no longer actively exists. It survived the implosion of the Soviet Union long enough to denounce the U.S. liberation of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein in 1991. And it never fully abandoned the Old Religion (Marxism, of course, not Christianity). As one CPC official wrote in 1990, "Nothing would be more damaging to the integrity of CPC than to abandon or denounce or deny, under the pressure of contemporary events, our abiding and radical commitment to a socialist vision of society."

Much of the ecumenical movement came to see socialism rather than free market democracy as the desirable alternative to military dictatorship in Latin America. Groups like the WCC actively supported Marxist liberation movement and even now refuse to criticize the Castro dictatorship, because it is "socialist." Those churches that abandoned traditional Gospel work in favor of leftist "social justice" have paid a price. Denominations like Altman’s Lutherans hardly have a bright future in Latin America, where there are at least 40 million evangelicals, many if not most of them Pentecostal.

Meanwhile, Altmann’s leadership at the WCC will be predictable, based on his past performance. At the start of the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein, he condemned the liberation of Iraq as possibly the greatest tragedy since World War II, evidently eclipsing even the Rwandan and Cambodian genocides, among others. After 9/11, Altmann joined an ecumenical conference in Washington, D.C., to denounce the U.S. military response and expressed hope that Americans might benefit from feeling "vulnerable."

This is also a good reminder for those readers who are Christian. All of the mainline protestant denominations began as true churches, preaching the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. That almost all of them have fallen from this and now preach social action (and socialism) is proof of the old adage that any organization that does not specifically set out to be conservative will eventually become liberal.

This is also good for the Republican Party to keep in mind. Too many Republicans want the Party to be a “majority party” rather than a “conservative party”. They try to be all things to all people and wind up pleasing none.

What they need to remember is that if you survey a large number of random Americans on a broad range of issues, political, foreign policy, taxation, domestic affairs, that most Americans fall into the center-right category. That doesn’t mean that a majority of people won’t come down on the left on some issues, but the overall thrust of America’s thinking is to the right.

That means that as long as the Republican Party is a conservative party it will be a majority party.