One thing most totalitarian governments throughout history have in common is this: they attempt to break up or destroy groups they don’t like. Freedom to assemble peacefully is usually taken away by totalitarian regimes. This is one thing Rod Dreher talks about in his book, Live Not by Lies. In chapter six Dreher mentions his interview with Polish historian Pawel Skibinksi. Here’s one part of his discussion:
In Poland, Skibinksi explains, the only long-lasting social institutions that existed [when the Germans invaded Poland] were the church and the family. In the twentieth century, the twin totalitarianisms tried to capture and destroy the Polish Catholic Church. Communism attempted to break apart the family by maintaining a monopoly on education and teaching young people to be dependent on the state. It also sought to lure the young away from the church by convincing them that the state would be the guarantors of their sexual freedom.
‘The thing is, now such tendencies come from the West, which we [Poles] have always looked up to, and regarded as a safe place,’ he [Skibinski] says. ‘But now many Poles start to develop the awareness that the West is no longer safe for us. What we see now is an attempt to destroy the last surviving communities: the family, the church, and the nation. This is one connection between liberalism and communist theory.’
Dreher then comments on Skibinski’s thoughts:
Skibinksi focuses on language as a preserver of cultural memory. We know that communists forbade people to talk about history in unapproved ways. This is a tactic today’s progressives use as well, especially within universities.
…How did people keep hold of reality under communist conditions? How do they know not only what to remember but how to remember it? The answer was to create distinct small communities – especially families and religious fellowships – in which it was possible to both speak truthfully and to embody truth. …Families and religious fellowships were places of retreat.
These are words worth reading twice! Indeed, the Bible speaks highly about the family and the church. In his word God tells his people to aim for truth-filled homes founded on Scripture (Eph. 6:1-4). And the Lord calls us to be a living part of a Christian church family where we can bear one another’s burdens and help each other stand firm in the faith (Gal. 6:2; 2 Thess. 2:15, etc). These are two things we need to always pray for: strong Christian homes and solid Christian church fellowship.
(The above quotes are found on pages 118-119 of Live Not by Lies.)
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