Religion & Liberty Online

Socialism is fueling assaults on churches: Report

Violations of religious liberty, including physical assaults against church buildings, increased in 2017, according to a report from a watchdog based in Spain.

Socialists perpetrated many of these attacks – which ranged from vandalism to attempted fire-bombings with Molotov cocktails – to protest both the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on social issues and its impact on economics.

These assaults also include attempts to have the government seize church property. At the Acton Institute’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website, Spanish writer Ángel Manuel García Carmona reports the researchers’ findings in detail.

Carmona recounts several attempts by the government to nationalize church property undertaken by, for instance, the socialist Catalonian political party known as the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP):

Last summer, CUP proposed the “forced and urgent socialization” of the Cathedral of Barcelona, because the structure contributes to “tourist crowds and gentrification” of poor neighborhoods. CUP alleged the temple is in “spiritual and religious disuse.” They wish to convert it into a cooperative store and a public school of music.

History shows, once government expropriates church property “for all of us,” to “serve the common good,” it seldom relinquishes its grip. In Russia, thousands have protested against the government giving the venerable St. Isaac’s Cathedral of St. Petersburg to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Russia’s example is the more salient, as one of the vandals spray-painted a Spanish church with a threatening phrase coined by Peter Kropotkin and popularized locally by Spanish socialist Buenaventura Durruti.

Carmona’s essay explores the tactics of those who threaten, their underlying ideology, and how people of faith should respond.

Read his whole story here.

(Photo: The dome of the Mosque-Cathedral Of Córdoba. Photo credit: Bert Kaufmann. This photo has been cropped. CC BY 2.0.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson (@therightswriter) is an Eastern Orthodox priest and served as Executive Editor of the Acton Institute (2016-2021), editing Religion & Liberty, the Powerblog, and its transatlantic website. He has extensively researched the Alt-Right. Previously, he worked for LifeSiteNews and, where he wrote three books including Party of Defeat (with David Horowitz, 2008). His work has appeared at, National Review, The American Spectator, The Guardian, Daily Caller, National Catholic Register, Spectator USA, FEE Online, RealClear Policy, The Blaze, The Stream, American Greatness, Aleteia, Providence Magazine, Charisma, Jewish World Review, Human Events, Intellectual Takeout,, Issues & Insights, The Conservative,, and The American Orthodox Institute. His personal websites are and His views are his own.