A research study conducted across 39 nations between 2012-2013 by the Pew Research Center in Washington D.C. unveiled the exceptional freedoms enjoyed by the U.S population, across multiple areas. However, one area of exception far surpassed its counterparts, including many of America’s wealthiest allies, the freedom of religion. This may seem like a deep-rooted American Right, however, given the countries current lean towards socialism could this right be at risk of being lost?

The research shows that:

“In general, people in richer nations are less likely than those in poorer nations to say religion plays a very important role in their lives. But Americans are more likely than their counterparts in economically advanced nations to deem religion very important. More than half (54%) of Americans said religion was very important in their lives, much higher than the share of people in Canada (24%), Australia (21%) and Germany (21%), the next three wealthiest economies we surveyed from 2011 through 2013.”

They went on to state that, “In the U.S,  53% say belief in God is a prerequisite for being moral and having good values, much higher than the 23% in Australia and 15% in France.

Core American value

A belief in God is one of the core American values, it was laid as a foundation for the country in its conception and has been one of the core values of the people since the founding of the United States.

The Declaration of Independence itself, states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the US Declaration of Independence, later drafted and introduced the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. The bill forbade state support of religious institutions or enforcement of religious doctrine. The bill failed to pass when it was first introduced but was later revived by James Madison. It served as the basis for the later passed Bill of Religious Freedom. America also became the first nation where freedom of belief and religion are guaranteed by the Constitution, ushering in a new era of authentic democracy within an open and tolerant society.

In the 1930s, Alexis de Tocqueville, a French diplomat, political scientist, and historian, traveled to America on a fact-finding mission to observe the democracy of the newly founded nation. He was stunned by the fact that liberty and religious freedom could co-exist in America, while these two value seemed to be fraught with contradiction and conflict in Europe.

Could this value be affected by socialism stretching its reach through America?

It is hard to get the question comprehensively and effectively resolved at this moment in time, but it might be practical to revisit the view of socialism on religion or belief.

Socialism on religion or belief

The 19th century German philosopher Karl Marx, founder and primary theorist of Marxism and socialism, had an antithetical and complex attitude towards religion, viewing it primarily as “the soul of soulless conditions” and the “opium of the people” that had been useful to the ruling classes since it gave the working classes false hope for millennia. At the same time, Marx saw religion as a form of protest by the working classes against their poor economic conditions and their alienation. In the Marxist–Leninist interpretation of the Marxist theory, primarily developed by Georgian revolutionary and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, religion is seen as hindering human development. Due to this, a number of Marxist–Leninist governments in the 20th century, such as the Soviet Union after Vladimir Lenin and the People’s Republic of China under Mao Zedong, implemented rules introducing state atheism.

In their influential book The ABC of Communism, Nikolai Bukharin, and Evgenii Preobrazhensky spoke out strongly against religion, “communism is incompatible with religious faith,” they wrote.

It is needless to mention how religion has been largely discouraged in the case of Russia, and heavily persecuted in the case of China, Albania, and North Korea.

The suppression of religious freedoms is part of an official campaign to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist party. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Communism is considered to be the second phase of socialísm by its own founder. Socialism can be misconceived to be something more ‘advanced’ than communism, but we should remember that they share common fundamental ideologies.

There is concern about the potential future undermining of core American values when it comes to Religion, given the fact that a large portion of American youth voted for socialism in the 2016 election.

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