28 / CHRONICLESnexcellent use,” says Roger Williams,n”to walk often into Golgotha, and tonview the rotten skulls of so manyninnumerable thousands of millions ofnmen and women like ourselves, gonenforever from this life.” For manynmoderns, especially those in the “socialnChurchbustersnConsidering the nearly blind eye thenWest turns toward the plight ofnChristians in the Soviet Union, onenhas to wonder: Is it possible that wenare the descendants of a civilizationnthat used to call itself Christendom?nThe persecution of Soviet Jews isnrightly considered a major issue, butnto make an issue of the far morenwidespread attack on Christiansnseems to be taboo in polite companyn— sustained attention to the plight ofnmillions of suffering Christians, ournnominal brethren, is now taken as ansign of religious chauvinism.nIn The Bear’s Hug: ChristiannBelief and the Soviet State,n1917-1986 (Grand Rapids, MI:nEerdmans; $8.95; 223 pages), GeraldnBuss, the Senior Chaplain atnHurstpierpont College (Sussex),nseeks to arouse what remains of thenconscience of the West. He doesnnot write for specialists, who will benfamiliar with most of the informationnhere, but for ordinary people —ntourists confused by the sight ofncrowded Moscow churches or TVnviewers of “bearded Russian Orthodoxnbishops arriving in the West onnofficial delegations and being receivednat Lambeth Place by thenArchbishop.”nThat confusion owes much tonthe subservient status of the RussiannOrthodox Church, which operatesnunder constant surveillance by anCouncil for Religious Affairsn(CRA). Its control is extensive: “Nonbishop is consecrated or transferrednwithout a painstaking check of thencandidate by the CRA in closencooperation with the KGB.” Seminarynlectures consist of such topicsnas “the formation of the new man,none of the essential objectives of thenbuilding of communism,” “the uni-nsciences,” this is morbidity or even ansign of mental illness.nBut Voices From the Heart is notnsimply another collection of devotionalnwriting, though many entries are mostnworthy of attention for that alone, asnwell as for their literary quality. Part ofnREVISIONSnty of the party and the people, keynto all the victories of the building ofncommunism,” and “the internalnand foreign policy of the SovietnUnion, as the expression of the vitalninterests of the people.” Some clergymennof varying degrees of independencenslip through, but thosenwho wish to rise in the Churchnknow the proper objects of theirnworship. Patriarch Alexei had thenright idea:nStalin is the first amongst thenfighters for peace among allnthe nations of the world. Henis our leader, whosencharming personality disarmsnany who have met him bynhis kindness and attentivenessnto everybody’s needs … bynthe power and wisdom of hisnspeech.nTroublesome priests (and laymen)nfeel the regime’s wrath on everynlevel. Members of any Christiannchurch, even the emasculated Orthodox,nare almost invariably barrednfrom higher education and any sortnof managerial position. Active believersnhave their homes broken into andnsearched, their jobs imperiled, theirnfamilies threatened and assaulted.nAlways present, of course, is thenprospect of some branch of Gulag;nthe prison, the labor camp, or thenpsychiatric “hospital.”nSpecific groups come in for particularnpersecution. Police oftennbreak up Baptist weddings, using anlaw against outdoor “ritual assemblies.”nPentecostal schoolchildren arenbeaten by other students at the incitementnof teachers; they are induced,nby hostile questioning, tonaccuse their parents of forcing themninto religious ceremonies, whereuponnthey may be placed in boardingnschools, and their parents may facennnthe authors’ purpose is to show thatnpiety was the flywheel of social reformnin America. Lundin and Noll are keenlynaware that the Word Police in thenmedia and academy have equated pietynwith self-righteousness and hypocrisy.nThe authors are at pains to show thatncriminal charges. Baptists and Pentecostalsnare often imprisoned forn”causing harm to health,” said tonresult from speaking in tongues.nThis charge, as Buss notes, “can benapplied to almost any religiousngroup, since both circumcision andnbaptism by immersion have beennlegally construed as harmful tonhealth.”nThe sort of people who concoctnsuch rationales for limitless statenintrusion are not the sort to mellow—anpoint often lost on the growingnnumber oi glasnost fans in thisncountry. Buss does a special servicenin a chapter covering a CRA reportnto the Central committee, smugglednto the West in 1980. A typicalnparagraph in the report concernsnan attempt by Orthodox priestsnto spark a revival in the Tomsknregion:nEach visit of a priest to andistrict where there had notnbeen one for many yearsncaused a sensation, rekindlednthe religious feelings of thenfaithful, aroused an unhealthyninterest among unbelieversnand those hitherto indifferentnand, in short, answered tonthe interests of religiousnpropaganda. We have takennsteps to put an end to thisnsort of thing.nThis, then, is the authentic Communistnmind, in all its “dialectical balance”nbetween the “strategy” ofnforced atheization, and the “tactics”nof nominal concern for the will, andnthe feelings of the people. But “thisnsort of thing” will not be crushed; asnone Pentecostal says, “For us, believersnliving according to conscience,nthe higher law is the law of God. Wencannot become criminals beforenGod.” (MK)n