Mankind is constantly under the influence of Satan to imitate or replace God. Communism, for example, seeks to replace God with the state. It compels or forces people to comply with the government as the provider of all things. It appeals to the human sense of fairness by creating victim classes such as women, homosexuals, the environment, and skin color. It equates communist values with Godly values. It promises utopia. But the Communist Manifesto calls for the abolition of religion, morals, property ownership, and even marriage. So what happens when the church compromises with communism? Ultimately, communism turns on the church. Nicaragua serves as a great reminder.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, and the World Council of Churches quietly supported the communist uprising in Nicaragua led by Daniel Ortega. Nuns, priests, pastors had bought into the false promise that Ortega’s brand of communism would be best for the people, that Ortega would use the church to minister to the poor. The church was banking that it would get both money and support from the communist government to ease suffering and bring the gospel to the people. Ortega and the communist Sandinistas gained power, then lost power, then used the church, primarily the Roman Catholic Church, to regain power.
In December 2009, my visit to Nicaragua was eye-opening. There were billboards all over Managua with the image of Ortega striking a god-like pose. The words “Christiano, Socialista, Solidario” are boldly placed beneath his triumphant outstretched hand. Christianity, socialism, solidarity–The marriage of Christianity and socialism in an attempt to convince people that socialism is the vehicle by which the Word of God, the acts of Jesus Christ, is expressed through man. This is the brainwashing of a highly religious people (73% of Nicaragua is Roman Catholic, 15% evangelical) that it is their Christian duty to give up their rights to the government. The Roman Catholic Church was complicit in helping Ortega. But today, the tables are turned and the communist manifesto is the rule—Government as God. And the church is on the outs.
In fact, Ortega has banned the main Jesuit order in Nicaragua and shut down the Catholic university there because it’s a “center for terrorism.” In response, the Jesuits issued an official rebuke, saying “This is a government policy that is systematically violating human rights and seems to be aimed at consolidating a totalitarian state.” They should have known that in the first place. Back in 2009Nicaraguans warned me that Americans are falling prey to the same deceptive practices. They said trust and apathy will allow the institutionalization of socialism in America. Jesus said in Matthew 24:4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” The Nicaraguans wish they had taken this advice. God’s word and communism are incompatible. The church, above all, should know this. Some Jesuits are finding out the hard way and Americans should take heed.