Soviets Have Closed 70,000 Religious Edifices in 12 Years

Seventy thousand churches, synagogues and mosques have been closed by the Russian government during the 12 years that it has been carrying on its anti-religious campaign, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns from information published in recent numbers of Russian newspapers. From the same sources it is learned that in the last two months of 1929 no less than 540 churches, 63 synagogues and 18 mosques were closed.

In spite of the vehemence with which the anti-religious crusade is being conducted, the Soviet magazine “Kulturni Front,” reports that the results of a questionnaire sent out to the workers of the Moscow district showed that only 43 percent of the answers were directly hostile to religion, while 25 percent of the total number of answers were positively in favor of religion.

In reply to the three main questions propounded by the questionnaire, “what is the eattitude of the workers to the persecution of religion,” “what is the attitude of Communism to religion” and “how does religion affect morals,” the following are typical answers: “The church keeps one from evil thoughts, like murder and robbery so why are you bent on fighting it?” “No learned person can prove that there is or is not a God. God doesn’t bother us. One can believe in God and yet remain in the party. Many Communists have joined the party of the Godless but at the same time continue to pray in secret and to baptize their children.” “Without religion man would long ago have become a beast. God has said ‘love one another’.”

The Soviet press also complains that religion still has a strong hold upon the Russian soldiers. It is told that in one regiment during the hours devoted to fighting religion, Bible reading instead of anti-religious lectures were demanded. It is also reported in the Soviet press that many soldiers as soon as they marry introduce religious practices into their homes and put the blame for such practices on their wives.

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