The reply to Ken Cole’s letter in January’s Socialist Standard seemed to overlook certain points which should have been picked up.
In his second paragraph he wrote “some of us are not only Christians but socialists as well, opposing war as an immoral pointless means of defending markets and supplies".
It is not part of the socialist case to make appeals to morality. It is the recognition that markets are part of the way capitalism functions. When nation states go to war in order to defend or get a larger share of them it is not a question of morality, but of understanding that it is how capitalism works and that markets and war are part of its fabric.
The other point is Ken Coles last paragraph: "Tarring all Christians with the same brush is akin to equating all socialists with supporters of Stalinism". This could imply that some socialists are supporters of Stalinism, which of course is not possible. State capitalism cannot be equated with what socialists want, i.e. the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production.
P. B. Young
The January issue of the Socialist Standard contained a letter from Ken Cole of Preston in which he stated that he is a socialist who also holds religious beliefs. The editors reply was of course predictable. I have been a socialist most of my life and remain a keen supporter of the economic and political views expressed by the Socialist Party, despite the fact that I have been refused membership of the Party solely on the grounds that I hold religious beliefs. My purpose in writing is not to enter into another sterile debate with the Party on this subject, but rather to make contact with Ken Cole and any others reading this who hold both socialist and religious (of whatever nature) views.
We can agree to disagree, but keep on putting over the same economic and political ideas— Editors.
I was interested to read the letter from Ken Cole of Preston in the January issue. Like him I am a committed Christian and a Socialist and obviously have an awareness of the corruptness of the capitalist system and have had since the age of 12 (I am now 62). This awareness and belief in Socialism was passed on to me by my father who would often take me to meetings where I heard the likes of Turner and Young. My reason for writing to you is my concern at the invariably contemptuous and derogatory way you refer to anything to do with Christianity.
While I am quite aware of the position that established religions have held over the centuries, in many cases keeping the workers “in their place” and often supporting the ruling classes, particularly for example in time of war; also the hypocrisy of so many alleged Christians, and also understanding, because of the past record of “religion”, why many socialists are totally opposed to it per se, nevertheless I do feel that you should at least try and accept that there are many of us with true, deep and sincere belief in God and Jesus Christ and who know that there is no incompatibility between that belief and Socialism because we know that would be His desire.
We are not all of the blind, praying unceasingly, passive, meek and mild human doormat-type. I spend a lot of my time talking to people about Socialism and quite often become involved in heated arguments and I certainly do not "turn the other cheek".
Speaking for myself there are aspects of the Bible where I have strong reservations, and I know that I am not alone in this within Christian circles.
I thought the article "The divorce of the decayed” was excellent in January's issue.
John D. Rowe
You are right; we are opposed to religion per se, but it's comforting to know that if God existed he’d be on our side— Editors.