For Karl Marx, religion was “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. [And] the opium of the people.” For Marx, as for socialism and communism later on, religion was absolutely against everything that they stood for. Where communist regimes established themselves, religious people were ruthlessly oppressed.In the USSR, Christian priests were arrested, and physically and psychologically tortured.
In Maoist China, and its “Cultural Revolution” in which the nation’s traditions and culture were attacked and destroyed, Buddhist monasteries were closed down, and Buddhism, Christianity and Islam were oppressed.Likewise, in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge (French for “Cambodian Red”), as the Berkley Center notes, “By the regimes end in 1979, nearly every monk and religious intellectual had been either murdered or driven into exile, and nearly every temple and Buddhist temple and library had been destroyed or used as a prison.” A building, decorated with Buddhist and Hindu iconography memorializes the 2.5 million victims of the communist regime, by containing the skulls of the dead in its 17 stories.
Communism was responsible for as many as 100 million deaths during the 20th century, says Lee Edwards in his Collapse of Communism, published by the Hoover Institute.But, today, Maxism, socialism, communism and its variants, are presenting themselves as friends of religion. Despite the hostility to faith and spirituality in their world views and doctrines, Marxist extremists have grasped the revolutionary potential of Islamism (a modern, political ideology that claims, erroneously, to represent “real Islam”), and the legitimacy that a religious face can offer in increasingly “multicultural” Western nation states.
Recent political events, suggest that the strategy of neo-Marxists and similar extremists, is to transform the religions into political constituents in a game of identity politics. This will see the faiths stripped of their timeless values, and used as the hollowed out puppets of political whim.
The cynical and sinister European Union poster has only recently come to light. Notably the religions are all presented as being within a single star. The EU emblem is a circle of 12 stars, although one of the major, and most recognizable, communist emblems was a five pointed star.
At the pinnacle of the large star, comprised of different religious symbols, in the EU poster, is the hammer and sickle, the main symbol of communism, under which the religions have traditionally been attacked and oppressed. This image also appeared in Arts and Visual Communications by Sladjana Zunic, Sladjana Bajic, Anke Gardasevic and Helichrysum Vukicevic, an EU textbook published in 2010. However, while the communist hammer and sickle appears alongside religious emblems, in this version the Islamic crescent and star is at the pinnacle of the main image. This has subsequently been replaced by the communist sign.