Skip to comments.Separation of Church and State, Church and School
Posted on 01/28/2009 6:04:33 AM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode
Excerpts from Religion in the USSR by E. Yaroslavsky, International Publishers, 1934, appearing in an exhibit in The Communist Conspiracy: Strategy and Tactics of World Communism, part 1, Section B, Committee on Un-American Activities, US House of Representatives, 1956, pg. 295-297.
E. Yaroslavsky (Central Committee of the Communist Party, President of the League of Militant Atheists)
On January 23, 1918, the Soviet Government issued a decree on the disestablishment of the church. This decree reads as follows:
Decree of the Soviet of People's Commissars on the Separation of the Church from the State, and of the School from the Church (January 23, 1918):
1. The church is hereby separated from the state.
2. It is unlawful to pass any local law or issue any decree whatsoever within the territory of the Republics, which will restrict or limit the liberty of conscience or grant any advantage or privilege whatsoever to any citizen on the basis of his religious profession.
3. Every citizen may profess any religion he desires or profess no religion; all laws disfranchising any citizen by reason of his profession or non-profession of faith are hereby repealed.
Note: No reference is to be made in any official document to the profession or non-profession of religion by any citizen.
4. No proceedings of any state or other official public body shall be accompanied by any religious rites or ceremonies whatsoever.
5. The right to perform religious rites is hereby guaranteed in so far as no breach of the peace is committed and the performance does not infringe upon any of the rights of any citizen of the Soviet Republic. Local authorities have the right in such cases to take all the measures necessary to safeguard public order and security.
6. No person may refuse to fulfill any civic obligation on the ground of his religious convictions. Exceptions to this rule may be made on the condition that another civic obligation is performed in substitution for the one declined, but this must in each separate case be considered by the People's Court.
7. Religious vows, or oaths, are abolished. Whenever necessary solemn affirmation to tell the truth is made.
8. Registration of births, marriages, deaths, etc., are performed exclusively by the civil authorities and the departments for the registration of marriages and births.
9. The school is hereby separated from the church. The teaching of religious doctrines is not permitted in any state, public, or private educational institution where general educational subjects are taught. Citizens may give or receive religious instructions privately.
10. All ecclesiastical and religious societies are subject to the general conditions governing private societies and associations, and shall not receive any privilege or subsidy from any state, local, autonomous or self-governing body.
11. No compulsory collection of dues or assessments for the benefit of ecclesiastical or religious societies is permitted, nor may any measures of compulsion or punishment of fellow-members be taken by such societies.
12. No ecclesiastical or religious society whatsoever, has the right to own private property, nor does any such society enjoy the rights of a judicial person.
13. All the property of the existing ecclesiastical and religious societies in Russia becomes the property of the people. The local or central state authorities may, by special decree, place the buildings and objects specially intended for worship at the service of the given religions society free of charge.
But our Party is not content with passing this law, for this law alone does not yet destroy the power of religion and of the church, it only weakens it.
This is why our Party is trying first of all to prevent the capitalists of all countries from using religious organizations to deceive the peasant and working masses, as they are doing now. We expose the class basis of religion, that is, we. lay bare the class motives of those who are interested in upholding and spreading religious beliefs. Secondly, our Party conducts a struggle against religious prejudices and religious beliefs by propagating science and general education, through books, newspapers, lectures, moving pictures, etc., all directed against religion and religious deception.
Our entire work must be more closely than ever linked up with the work of the Proletarian Free-Thinkers International. The atheist movement has made giant strides in many countries. No punitive measures against the Proletarian Free-Thinkers International can stop this mass movement now that it has begun. The suppression of the League of Militant Atheists in Germany, as many observers, even from the bourgeois camp, admit, only led to the further strengthening of godlessness, to open defections from the church, to withdrawal from the parishes, etc. The growth of godlessness in the United States, the closing of churches in other countries, are inevitable accompaniments of the decay of capitalism. Of course, in these countries, too, the priests are trying to adapt themselves to the social changes that are taking place. Whenever necessary they even flirt with socialist theories. But, the exposure of the role of the church and of religion will proceed at a growing pace in the countries of capitalism and create a mighty army of militant atheists throughout the world.
The only country in which the antireligious movement is able develop openly, broadly, unhindered is the USSR. Our experience is of the greatest importance to every nation. We must never forget that by our work we are rendering assistance to our foreign comrades. We must deeply internationalize our work so that every atheist should regard his work as part of our international struggle against religion and the church.
It is our duty to do even more than we have done to make the antireligious movement, not only in the USSR, but in the capitalist countries as well, a movement of vast millions. We are entering the sixteenth year of the proletarian revolution with great gains to our account in the field of atheism. But these gains are insufficient; our work must be improved, consolidated, expanded, deepened. The banner of militant atheism must be raised still higher. Propaganda in favor of militant atheism must be carried on more widely, must become deeper and more serious. The ranks of the militant atheists must be increased to include millions. Remember that the struggle against religion is a struggle for socialism!
If you participate in disputes about “separation of Church and State”, you should read this.
Thanks for the ping!
I think the Soviets thought they could have not only separation of church and state but separation of religion and people, something that has never worked.
I have searched The Constitution diligently. I cannot find the phrase "separation of Church and State" anywhere within its confines.
The last line should be widely quoted:
"Remember that the struggle against religion is a struggle for socialism!"