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The Party is also currently working for an effective response to the apparently growing religious idealism within our oppressed colonized communities in the U.S. and throughout the world. While it is not clear what effect this religious idealism has on the most dynamic sectors of our community in the U.S., the negative influence of reactionary religious interpretation and leadership that is usually actively or passively connected with the ruling classes, is undeniable.
On the Continent of Africa and in African communities in Europe, especially among recent African expatriates, massive churches are growing daily, filled with the poor and oppressed who are being taught that their earthly suffering will be rewarded in an afterlife.
The African People’s Socialist Party is a party whose philosophy is rooted in philosophical materialism. We are materialists, period. This is true despite the fact that there are philosophical idealists in our ranks — some of whom are closeted — while others are inconsistent materialists. Our work is to win Africans away from all superstition, especially religious superstition, which serves to undermine human confidence in our capacity to take control of our own lives and the future of our people and Continent.
However, as materialists we recognize the influence of religion in this world and we are intent on winning the greatest number of people possible to the Revolution. Not only would we attempt to win a Christian or a Muslim or some other religious adherent to the Revolution, we see it as a part of our responsibility to win them. It is consistent with our recognition of the revolutionary national democratic struggle as the first stage of the Revolution that will require the conscious participation of the entire revolutionary national democratic population, including religious people and groups of all persuasions.
It is in this context that we, historical materialists, are looking closely at the possibility of creating the African Redemption Church, a nondenominational institution open to all who adhere to religious views and convictions. This would not be an attempt to win Africans to religion; rather it would be an attempt to win the religious to revolution.
We are talking here about an institution that would be able to provide a religious basis for winning our Revolution. It would be able to contend with other religious institutions and interpretations that apologize for imperialism and our oppression and it would assault religious institutions as a hideout for those who would use them as an excuse for not assuming their responsibility for the future of their children, their class and their oppressed and dispersed nation.
There have been discussions about this matter for some time in the Party. Our difficulty lies in the fact that those Africans in our ranks who would lead this church-building effort, are themselves philosophical idealists; they are individuals who hold religious conviction. The Party’s Fifth Congress should provide us with an answer to the question of how the Party can achieve and maintain the organization of churches under its discipline so the result is to bring the religious into the Revolution and not to simply create a process of blackenized religious idealism that serves to undermine revolution.