“Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”
Undoubtedly, at the present time there seems to be no greater menace to the American way of life and hence to the American people than that of Communism. Though its tactics and methods may change, its ideology still re-echoes Krushchev’s bold words, “We will bury you.” Americans, fearful that the prophecy that their children or grandchildren will live under Communist rule may come true, are continuing more fervently than ever to battle this threat to their security. While few reach the fanatical fever of Joe McCarthy, most are still deeply concerned.
It is not difficult to see that this is the case. The tenor of editorial writing in this country, the thrust of our foreign policy, the tight secrecy and security checks maintained over those in prominent positions, the investigations of Congressional committees into un-American activities clearly show that our nation is stirred.
Recently this anti-Communist drive has gained new momentum and taken on new forms. JFK’s dream of a Peace Corps is one of these new manifestations. There are others, perhaps more effective, undoubtedly more reactionary, and perhaps rather distortative. Two films, “Operation Abolition” and “Communism on the Map,” graphically portray (exaggerate, say some) the dangers and devices of Communism. Despite many protests about their factual content, these films have been shown to millions of Americans to enlighten them and to rouse their anti-Communistic patriotism. Not to be overlooked is the John Birch Society, whose vigorous fanaticism almost exceeds anything seen before in the U.S. Few prominent men or organizations have not been the objects of their wild statements or bitter accusations. Even President Eisenhower has been charged with being a dupe of the Communists.
Whether such reactionary measures are justifiable or even necessary is definitely debatable. But that Americans should be concerned is unquestionable. Democracy is threatened: it must fight for its life. Communism is striving to engulf it and freedom loving men must come to the aid of their party.
There is, however, one aspect of the anti-Communist drive that is lamentable. That is the attitude of the church. That American, Christian Americans, should want to oppose Communism vigorously is commendable. But far too often they confuse the issue. Far too often they seem not to realize what is the real menace to the church. That they oppose Communism as a threat to Democracy is laudable. But that they oppose it as a threat to the church and God’s kingdom shows a lack of understanding. But how often is this not the case, even in our churches?
Communism per se is not evil, just as Democracy per se is not good. Khrushchev derives his power and authority from God just as surely as Kennedy does. That the church, at present has an easier life under Democratic rule than under Communist rule is entirely beside the point when it comes to passing judgment upon the system itself.
Yet, in its effort to avoid persecution, the church makes a mistake, a serious and dangerous mistake. The greatest threat to the kingdom of Christ, to the Church, is the kingdom of the anti-Christ. And from all that Scripture reveals, it can be seen that anti-Christ will arise from the nominal church and will have “a form of godliness.” And this nominal church that will produce anti-Christ and his religious political system will almost certainly be found in Democracy, not in Communism.
Be warned: Christians who make Communism their enemy and Democracy their friend may be surprised to discover that they are nursing a viper in their bosom.