Throughout the history of the Soviet Union (1922-1991), Soviet authorities suppressed and persecuted various forms of Christianity to different extents depending on the particular era. Soviet policy, based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, made atheism the official doctrine of the Soviet Union.
Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression, and the elimination of religious beliefs.
The Soviet state was committed to the destruction of religion, and destroyed churches, mosques and temples, ridiculed, harassed, incarcerated and executed religious leaders, flooded the schools and media with atheistic teachings, and generally promoted atheism as the truth that society should accept. The total number of Christian victims of Soviet state atheist policies, has been estimated to range between 12-20 million.
The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales , presented the pope Francisco a carved wooden crucifix on the hammer and sickle , symbol of communism, during a meeting the two held Wednesday night at Government House and was televised .
The size contained the image of Christ crucified on the handle of the hammer, footage showed state television .
Morales is defined as socialist and represents a regional trend known as’ Socialism of the XXI Century “, which also profess the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador.
The response of Pope Francis was not at all positive. After quite puzzled look, the pontiff told Evo Morales that “this is not right”.
The International Business Times on March 5, 2013, the 60th anniversary of Joseph Stalin’s death, reported:
An amoral psychopath and paranoid with a gangster’s mentality, Stalin eliminated anyone and everyone who was a threat to his power – including (and especially) former allies. He had absolutely no regard for the sanctity of human life.
But how many people is he responsible for killing?
In February 1989, two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, a research paper by Georgian historian Roy Aleksandrovich Medvedev published in the weekly tabloid Argumenti i Fakti estimated that the death toll directly attributable to Stalin’s rule amounted to some 20 million lives (on top of the estimated 20 million Soviet troops and civilians who perished in the Second World War), for a total tally of 40 million.
”It’s important that they published it, although the numbers themselves are horrible,” Medvedev told the New York Times at the time.
Perhaps Pope Francis should have refused this gift, for what is symbolizes – the deaths of tens of millions of Christians under Communist rule.
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Evo Morales giving Pope Francis Christ crucified on the hammer and sickle is courtesy of AFP.