by John Kachelman, Jr.
The painting shown above is by Ivan Alekseevich Vladimirov entitled “Confiscation of Church Property in Petrograd”. It was painted in 1922. Ivan Alekseevich is known as a painter of the Socialist Realism and a member of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia.
His paintings depict the realism of the Russian Bolshevik Revolution. In 1917-1918, he worked in the Petrograd militia. This position helped him create documentary sketches of the events of these years. Here is a link to some of his more recognized paintings- Russia Travel Blog| All about Russia in English. Note: Closely examine these paintings. They are intended to portray the realism of the Russian Revolution that was to usher in Marx’s “synthesis” (remember this synthesis promised the ideal society; total equality; and astonishing contentment. Ivan Alekseevich’s paintings are a real portrait of what happened—anarchy and oppression!).
Subsequent history agrees that it was all a lie! No ideal society. No total equality. No contentment. All that resulted was a brief period of anarchy and then totalitarian dominance of the majority by the elite!
I am not a follower of or believer in Confucianism. However, there are some accurate truisms presented. Reportedly Confucius said, “Study the past if you would define the future.” This practical truth was repeated by Edmund Burke (1729-1797), “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Later the Spanish philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) remarked, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The ploughman’s simple version of this truth says, “Learn from your mistakes.”
Tragically many do not like to study history. Many, ignorant of history, blindly walk into catastrophe. And, the majority follow the Pied Piping of evil because they are deceived about the coming consequences which they encourage by silent acceptance.
This article examines a remarkable and redundant historical event. Its evil is amply documented but it is on the verge of being embraced by the United States of America in 2020-2021.
An interesting footnote in history focuses on the two significant revolutions in the 1700s. The Colonies in America revolted against King George III’s tyranny. The French Revolution revolted against social and political standards. The two were polar opposites. One primary difference was the religious perspective. The Colonists emphatically embraced the sovereignty of the Lord God Almighty of the Bible. The French viciously vilified any association with the Supernatural. One revolution focused on God’s power and the other focused upon mortal ability.
A milestone event of the French Revolution was the abolition of the privileges of the First and Second Estate on the night of August 4 1789. This abolished the right of churches to receive donations. On October 10, 1789, the National Constituent Assembly seized the properties held by the Church and sold them as “assignats” (a form of monetary exchange). On July 12, 1790, the assembly passed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy that subordinated the Church in France to the French government. The Church could function BUT only as the French government allowed.
The Revolutionary Government promised equality in a perfect society. The French Government said the Church was not necessary; that the church ownership of buildings was improper; and, that the practice of religion was absurd. However, subsequent history shouts that it was all a political lie! No ideal society. No total equality. No contentment. It was a subtle design erasing the presence of religion in society. The promised peace was displaced with a murderous reign of anarchy called “The Reign of Terror”! Such aptly summarizes the consequences when governments control religion.
The Spanish government was in great debt. For the “greater good,” the government confiscated land and property from the Church and religious orders that had received possessions from donations, grants, and will. The Spanish government then sold the property. Confiscation was one of the political weapons with which Spanish liberals modified the system of land ownership during the first half of the 19th century.
The Spanish government’s purpose was presented as enriching the nation and establishing equality. History examines this and unmistakably announces that it was all a lie! No ideal society. No total equality. No contentment. The promised peace was never found and modern Spain continues to struggle with problems left festering from its efforts to assist the “greater good.”
1917-1918 the Bolshevik Revolution
In 1918 Vladimir Lenin began consolidating all aspects of the revolution. It was a godless revolution utilizing Karl Marx’s “dialectic” to create the perfect society. The focus was upon the State’s absolute supremacy. Various decrees were passed and implemented that would assure the absoluteness of the State. One such decree issued by Lenin deprived the Russian Orthodox Church of its legal status, the right to own property, and the right to teach religion in schools or to children.
On February 5, 1918, the Soviet government issued the Decree on Separation of Church from State and School from Church. According to this document, all property possessed by the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious organizations (land, church utensils, etc) was nationalized and became the property of the State. Basically, this meant that all buildings and objects intended specifically for liturgical purposes were now the State’s property. Resistance was crushed, and resistance activists ended up in prison.
And history adds an interesting development. In 1921, a severe famine struck Russia. There was a need for money to purchase bread, but the Republic of Soviets said it did not have the money. An idea was suggested that there were unused and ample valuables in the Churches and these could be used to feed the hungry. On February 23, 1922, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued a decree called “On the Seizure of Church Jewelry.” The decree ordered local mayors to remove from the churches all products made of gold, silver and precious stones and transfer them to the “Central Fund for the Relief of the Starving.” Patriarch Tikhon, the 11th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, hindered this confiscation. He forbade the seizure of sacred objects and called this act “svyatotatstvo” – stealing of sacred things. Tikhon’s opposition did nothing to stop the State and assured his punishment. The removal of jewelry from churches in Russia “for the help of the hungry” was completed on May 26, 1922.
The revolutionaries had promised that the stealing of the Church properties and valuables would give the hungry bread. But it was a lie! No ideal society. No total equality. No contentment. No vanquishing of hunger. The promised peace was never found and thieves and anarchists plundered and pillaged and the hungry died of starvation.
The timeline now brings us to times that are easily remembered. Idlib is a city in northwestern Syria, 59 kilometers (37 mi) southwest of Aleppo. “We have nothing left in Idlib, no properties, houses, or rents. The Sharia Committee seized everything.” With these words, Issa from Idlib city described what happened to his family’s property after the Islamic factions took control over the city.
Issa adds, “We had a house, agricultural land, and a number of stores, all of which, were rented through my father’s agent, who used to transfer the rents to us on a regular base.” He continued saying, in 2019, the Sharia Committee issued a decision providing for the confiscation of any property that was not managed or supervised by its original owners. “Due to the decision, our properties were confiscated, and we were told the rent would be paid to us. But the rents were paid to the committee and not us.” The confiscation of property owned by Christians in Idlib was supposed to restore equality and peace in the war-torn location. It was a lie.
This is the reality awaiting those victimized by a government seizing property under a pretense of “helping” others.
Whenever Issa’s 86-year-old grandmother left her one-room house to visit her children in other locations, she returned to find the door’s lock broken and the house inhabited by a foreign family on the pretext of being “displaced.” This happened repeatedly to his grandmother, who had to go to the Sharia Committee to file a complaint; nevertheless, she had to sleep outside her house for at least a month every time until the committee found another housing alternative for the displaced family.
While we are stopped in Syria and observing how the government said that confiscation is necessary for the “greater good” (when in reality it is only for the governing elite), let me observe how this confiscation mentality leads to total destruction. Not only are the buildings, possessions and legal rights of the Christians violated, but historical and cultural destructions result because of anarchy’s evil. As the destruction of ISIS spread through Iraq, Syria and Libya, it left behind the ruin of cultural monuments and objects of historical note. It was a deliberate and savage destruction of the cultural heritage. In Iraq, between the fall of Mosul in June 2014 and February 2015, ISIL had plundered and destroyed at least 28 historical religious buildings. In the name of “justice” and “liberty” historical monuments, sculptures and statues were demolished. On 26 February 2015, ISIL released a video showing the savage destruction of various ancient artifacts in the Mosul Museum. The video shows the defacement of a granite statue by a jackhammer. The Palace of Ashurnasirpal II was bulldozed and destroyed. Perhaps the greatest evil was in the destruction of Palmyra where all statues were destroyed because they were deemed “unfit.”
The savagery of ISIS in destroying monuments, statues and sculptures that were deemed unfit was done “for the protection and reconstruction of society and culture.” But such was action prompted by evil objectives promising a mirage of the perfect Caliphate. Religious properties, possessions and valuables were seized in the name of helping the “greater good.” Historical statutes, memorials and sculptures were decimated to bring “justice and liberty.” But it was all a lie! What resulted was an act of savagery that left a wasteland of destruction by those intent on following man and not Jehovah.
2020 LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
July 27, 2020 the LOS ANGELES TIMES published an Editorial: “Just say ‘Yes in God’s backyard.’”
The editorial urges a historical re-run…Californians need homes, and houses of worship have land; California’s homeless needs a place to live and Churches have land they do not need. The echoes of The French Revolutionaries, the Spanish Confiscators, Lenin’s Bolsheviks, and ISIS are heard once more.
California’s Senate Bill 899 is a proposal that makes it much easier for religious institutions and nonprofit colleges to build affordable housing on their land. Just as Lenin’s Bolsheviks first presented their position, we now hear how the Church can work with the government and provide for the poor. We await the next shoe drop in the Bolshevik scheme…seize the Church’s property and possessions because the State has the ownership of everything. Individualism must be replaced with a communal personality.
We are told by Los Angeles that “many churches, synagogues and mosques are sitting on large, underutilized properties. As fewer people choose to participate in organized religion, many congregations have seen their membership shrink along with their budgets. So why not encourage them to use their land to help ease one of California’s most pressing problems, which is the crushing shortage of affordable housing?”
This editorial asserts a number of untruths to cloak its dastardly objective. Listen carefully…“Roughly 38,800 acres of land in California — roughly the size of the city of Stockton — are used for religious purposes and could be developed for housing, according to an analysis by UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation. Nearly half of those acres are in so-called high-opportunity neighborhoods that have low poverty and greater economic, educational and environmental amenities. These are communities where it can be particularly difficult to build affordable housing because of the price of land, zoning and neighbor opposition.”
The unwitting reader is led to this conclusion…“SB 899 would streamline the process by allowing 100% affordable housing projects to be built by right — meaning they wouldn’t need planning commission or city council approval — if the projects are on land owned by religious institutions or nonprofit colleges, and the institutions partner with nonprofit developers to build the housing.”
Do you see the maneuver? An unbelievable “win-win” situation is presented! How can anyone oppose this? Of course the individual would not need any of the State’s planning or approval because the individual has become the State!
The urging continues with this baited insinuation that “something” is in this for everyone…“The idea is to create a new supply of land for nonprofit developers who build housing for low-income residents, while letting religious institutions better use their property and generate a small income from rentals. For nonprofit colleges, it would make it easier for campuses to add affordable housing for employees and students.” Note the baited phrase: “letting religious institutions better use their property and generate a small income.”
And the final crowning conclusion, the climatic crashing of cymbals, the completion of California’s manipulative arm-twisting sweet-talking, “SB 899 can help houses of worship turn their buildings, offices and even parking lots into homes.”
But wait! This is exactly what Lenin suggested in 1917 in his appeal for the Church to cooperate with the State. The promised payment was NEVER received. Never was the Church allowed independence. This is exactly what ISIS said to Issa’s 86-year-old grandmother but never once did they receive any of the rent from their confiscated possessions. It was all an amazing mirage—a promise that vanished. Here is a pure illustration of the doublespeak of the State!
The end result is very clear for those with eyes to see. The result is the “transformation” that the Democrats promise—“SB 899 can help houses of worship turn their buildings, offices and even parking lots into homes.” Note: the operative word is “turn.”
Sisyphus is the mythological figure depicting the ultimate re-run. The truism attributed to Confucius is certainly valid: “Study the past if you would define the future.” When confronted with the lunacy of absurd politics President Reagan often sighed and remarked “Here we go again!” In response to the LA Times editorial Sisyphus, Confucius and Reagan all sigh and exclaim “it is happening AGAIN!”
Another truism says, “Freedom isn’t Free.” Freedom is a fragile state. There are constant encroachments threatening our individual freedoms. These are masked with deceptive words and purloined presentations. These hide the destructive, evil reality that they seek to develop. They promise a “transformation” that brings equality and societal bliss. They focus on the real, or imagined or manufactured evils suggesting that the newly emerging nation arising from this “transformation” will not be controlled by evil. But it is all a lie!
Efforts to destroy freedom appear as Lenin’s “useful idiots” are involved in probing actions. These initiate riotous rallies and hijacked protests. These seize legitimate concerns and manipulate them for their evil purpose of destroying freedom and dominating societal thought and action.
When framed in the context of history, the Los Angeles Times editorial is greatly disturbing. Cultural thinking refuses to learn from historical anecdotes. Today we hear constant clamoring that total equality and a perfect society is possible ONLY IF we allow anarchy and savagery to control the population and refashion civility into a perfect society (i.e. “houses of worship, buildings, offices and even parking lots” are transformed; historic monuments, statutes and sculptures are destroyed).
This has never worked in civilization’s past. The failure of this to work in today’s society is a repetition of a redundant historic failure. Why? This guaranteed failure comes because ignorant man fails to study the past and define the future by responsible criterion. Ignorant man thinks he has a better way.
The incremental pillaging and plundering of the Church continues. Deceptive promises announce the “ideal” solution that only possible in the total consumption of and silencing of the Church. Evil’s cunning and man’s gullibility are the tragic historical constant.
The Old Testament prophet observed this tragic historical constant and observed: “They do not know, nor do they understand…they cannot see and…they cannot comprehend. No one recalls, nor is there knowledge or understanding…You felt secure in your wickedness and your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you…evil will come upon you…there is none to save you” (Isaiah 44:18-19; 47:10-11,15).
And, once again, man sacrifices God on the doublespeak altar of feeding the hungry!
John Kachelman, Jr. is a Christian patriot, preacher, and missionary for Jesus Christ to foreign countries. He lives in Montgomery, AL.