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“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart” (St. Matthew 13:19). No nation has been as uniquely marinated in the Scriptures as the U.S., yet our peril is represented by two crisscrossing charts. Millennials are four times more likely to disdain religion than members of the Greatest Generation, and nine times more likely to view Communism favorably.

This issue of Religion & Liberty focuses on the interrelationship between the two words in our title, especially when both are threatened by totalitarianism. Our cover story recounts how socialist utopianism lures believers from true religion to its own secular faith. “Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity,” wrote Antonio Gramsci, as Roger Kiska reminds us.

Mihail Neamtu recounts Marxist oppression of Christians in his native Romania before noting the “stories of resistance and heroism need to be fittingly acknowledged.” Additional stories recognize such heroes of the human spirit as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky.

Stephanie Klaves writes the socialist Israeli kibbutz system, often celebrated as a successful example of socialism, failed because it stood at odds with Judaism and “innate human desires.”

We also reflect on besieged Iraqi Christians, American farmers struggling against a system that enshrines cronyism, Brits suffering under the NHS, and hurricane victims ill-served by protectionist legislation.

Fr. Robert Sirico returns to this issue’s theme in his column, calling atheism and socialism the twin pillars of totalitarianism. His article is perfectly complemented by Acton Institute Director of Research Samuel Gregg, whose new book (Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization) presents reason and faith as the foundations of liberty.

Even as we probe the depths of this present darkness, the Acton Institute shines a light on the qualities necessary for freedom and virtue to thrive in the United States and worldwide.

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Rev. Ben Johnson is Executive Editor at the Acton Institute. His work focuses on the principles necessary to create a free and virtuous society in the transatlantic sphere (the U.S., Canada, and Europe). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History summa cum laude from Ohio University and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.