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116 U. Pa. L. Rev. 479 (1967-1968)
Defining Religion in Operational and Institutional Terms

handle is hein.journals/pnlr116 and id is 495 raw text is: 1968]

On September 4, 1965, the National Guardian published an ad-
vertisement by a Christian Communist Movement. The headline
read, It's time to bridge the gap . . . the apostles of Christ were
And all they that believed were together, and had
all things common. Their possessions and goods
they sold, and divided them all, according as every
one had need.
The Bible-Acts 2:44, 45.
From each according to his ability, to each accord-
ing to his need.
Karl Marx.'
The advertisement went on to proclaim that God is pro-communist.
Otherwise he would not have provided the apostles with the power
to perform miracles while they and thousands of their converts prac-
ticed communism. 2 The Christian Communist Movement claims to
be religious-is it possible to deny this characterization for first amend-
ment or other legal purposes?
One commentator has analyzed communism as a religion:
The term religion as used today might include almost
any kind of ultimate concern with or without an act of
personal commitment. The Communist, certainly, is grasped
by an ultimate concern which for him is a matter of life or
death, not only personally but also theoretically in terms of
his own insignificance, his not-being and worthlessness
except [as] he participate[s] in the realization of his
Messianic age, his classless society.3
* I am indebted to Professors Marc Galanter, C. Herman Pritchett, and Herbert
Storing for their many suggestions in the preparation of this article. Naturally the
ideas expressed herein are solely the responsibility of the author.
-* Assistant Professor of Political Science, Pennsylvania State University. A.B.
1959, Brown University; M.A. 1961, Tufts University; Ph.D. 1966, University of
'National Guardian, September 4, 1965, at 8.
2 Id.
3 Stahmer, Defining Religion: Federal Aid and Academic Freedom, in RELIGION
AND THE PUBLIC ORDE1, 116, 128-29 (D. Giannella ed. 1963).


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