Connecticut Democrats Plagerize Khruschev’s Anti-Christian Policy

Most of you would probably be unaware of a recent bill that went before the Connecticut Judiciary Committee. Even if you are, you doubtlessly would be unaware of its historical precedent.

Connecticut Senate Bill 1098 is entitled “An Act Modifying Corporate Laws Relating to Certain Religious Corporations“. It’s stated purpose is “To revise the corporate governance provisions applicable to the Roman Catholic Church and provide for the investigation of the misappropriation of funds by religious corporations”. Note that the statutory requirements are applicable only to the Roman Catholic Church.

This proposed bill establishes that each (Roman Catholic) parish “shall have a board of directors consisting of not less than seven nor more than thirteen lay members. The archbishop or bishop of the diocese or his designee shall serve as an ex-officio member of the board of directors without the right to vote”. It then goes into detail about terms, meetings, notices and so forth. And then the kicker – this bill would transfer all administrative and financial control of parishes from the diocese and parish priest and transfer it to a board of elected laypersons.

Of course, this bill is an unconstitutional assault on religious specifically violating the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise of Religion Clause contained in the First Amendment. Similarly, it’s a little rich for the Connecticut Legislature to choose to rearrange the internal workings of a church that traces its origins back over 2000 years. You can find a good summary of recent events at American Papist.

One point however has not as of yet been made. And that is that Connecticut Democrats stated that they are following precedent. Yet they didn’t mention which precedent that really were following. So I’ll tell you, for this law is a direct replica of another famous law. A law in 1961 by then General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev (who upon his ascension to the leadership famously declared there would not be one Christian left alive in the USSR by 1980).

I quote from “A Long Walk to the Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy” by Nathaniel Davis:

“On March 31, 1961, Kuroedov of the Council for Russian Orthodox Affairs, called in the patriarch and three other church hierarchies, denounced the “dictatorial power” of parish priests, and asserted that the lay executive authority in a parish must rule. In April of 1961 the Holy Synod, under official coercion, drew up recommendations for a revision of church statutes that would transfer administrative and financial authority from the parish priest to the laity…These revisions were approved without any openly expressed opposition.

The change in parish governance made the closure of churches easier, as the authorities would rely on compliant churchwardens to overcome priest’ opposition… Clerics who refused to sign an agreement to uphold the revised statutes were denied renewed authorization to function… Government authorities then took advantage of regulations denying standing to a church without a priest and closed many churches where the priests had not been re-registered or had been removed”

Over 12,000 churches (from the meager 20,000 in existence) were closed in the 3 years following this decree.

Update: As a response to public pressure, the bill in its current form has been withdrawn “until its constitutionality can be determined”

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4 Responses to “Connecticut Democrats Plagerize Khruschev’s Anti-Christian Policy”

  1. Bee Says:

    That’s horrifying! Do these legislators think they are above God or something?

  2. Alex Says:

    Thank you Tim for drawing attention to this absurd and dangerous precedent.

    Quite apart from discriminating against one faith, the legislature has shown how democracy can be perverted. Freedom needs constant vigilance. Well done Tim for telling us about this issue.

  3. Mark Says:

    So when the church comments on social issues like gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and drug legalisation; critics cry out in shame and call for the need to uphold the traditions of separation of church and state….

    And now we have an example of government intervening in church affairs…..should we not cry out in shame and demand to uphold the traditions of separation of state and church?

    🙂

  4. Tim Humphries Says:

    Tim, well articulated.

    Religious Liberty as with Liberty generally is a critical issue, regardless of differing viewpoints and approaches to issues in the mainstream culture. Separation of church and state goes to the heart of the very freedom we vouchsafe with our commitment to the cause.

    Any meddling by either legislators or the church itself in the seperation between church is slippery territory that has to be called for what it is. Bravo indeed!

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