Bill Maher, host of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, is on the religion rampage again. Maher’s approach to religion reminds me of the atheist French Revolutionaries and the rise of The League of the Militant Godless during Josef Stalin’s reign of terror:
“If we levy taxes — sin taxes, they call them — on things that are bad to get people to stop doing them, why in heaven’s name don’t we tax religion? A sexist, homophobic, magic act that’s been used to justify everything from genital mutilation to genocide. You want to raise the tax on tobacco so kids don’t get cancer? Okay, but let’s put one on Sunday school so they don’t get stupid.”
What Maher would need to do in order to fulfill his “so they don’t get stupid” goal is to control the education of children at all times and places. Ultimately, religious instruction would have to be stamped out everywhere since Sunday school is a mere 45 minutes each week.
Parents giving religious instruction to their children at home would have to be forbidden. Christian schools would be shuttered and children forced into government schools which are presently officially atheistic and are designed to support the State religion. Bibles and books related to religious topics would have to be confiscated and destroyed.
Taxing churches would only be the first step since it would not stop faithful churches from speaking out. What would the State do then? Would certain types of topics preached from the pulpit be considered “hate speech”? The courts are redefining everything else, so why not create new categories of crimes?
We have evidence of what a world without the Christian religion would be like. We don’t have to imagine it as John Lennon wanted us to do. Joseph Pearce writes the following in “Guillotine, Gulag and Gas Chamber: The Glorious Gifts of Atheism to Humanity”:
“The first great atheist uprising was the French Revolution, which sought to dethrone God with godless ‘Reason’ and sought to replace the Holy Trinity with the atheist trinity of liberté, egalité et fraternité. The man who is traditionally attributed with coining this triune revolutionary war-cry, which would later be officially adopted as the motto of the French Republic, was Antoine-Francois Momoro, a rabidly anti-Christian radical who advocated the eradication of religion.
“He played an active and bloodthirsty role in the crushing of the Catholic peasants of the Vendée and was a key figure in the notorious Cult of Reason, an anthropocentric [man-centered] alternative to religion, which effectively enthroned self-worshipping Man as the Lord of the ‘enlightened’ cosmos.
“In 1793, Momoro supervised the nationally celebrated Fête de la Raison (Festival of Reason) in which his own wife was dressed and paraded as the Goddess of Reason, surrounded by cavorting and costumed women. In a wild and licentious liturgical dance, the Goddess of Reason processed down the aisle of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, surrounded by her female entourage, to a newly-installed altar to Liberty, the Christian altar having been desecrated and removed. All across France, Christian churches were desecrated and re-established as Temples of Reason.
“The Cult of Reason metamorphosed into the Reign of Terror in which the streets of Paris literally ran red with the blood of its victims. The Goddess of Reason made way for Madame Guillotine who was omnivorous in her bloodlustful appetite, devouring Christians and atheists alike.”
The atheists who started the revolution often became its victims. Once a revolution starts without a justifiable fixed moral base, there’s nothing to stop its unintended consequences.
Atheism was the official state religion of the Russian Revolution. When it was all said and done, Communism left in its path more than 100 million corpses. Ultimately, who could object? To whom could anyone appeal?
The League of the Godless “was an atheistic and antireligious organization of workers and intelligentsia that developed in Soviet Russia under the influence of the ideological and cultural views and policies of the Soviet Communist Party from 1925 to 1947.” The word “militant” was later added to the League. “At the Second Congress of the League, Nikolai Bukharin, the editor of Pravda, called for the extermination of religion ‘at the tip of the bayonet.’”
Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, editor of the League of the Godless newspaper Bezbozhnik made the following declaration:
“It is our duty to destroy every religious world-concept… If the destruction of ten million human beings, as happened in the last war, should be necessary for the triumph of one definite class, then that must be done and it will be done.”
The League of Militant Atheists sought to persuade. When that didn’t work the League “sometimes took a violent approach to those who would not accept the League’s message. For example, ‘bishops, priests, and lay believers’ were ‘arrested, shot, and sent to labour camps.’”
We are headed in the same direction. Bill Maher needs to be careful about what he wants because as the French political journalist, Jacques Mallet du Pan, put it, “the Revolution devours its own children.”