Our Great Leader

Thou who broughtest man to birth.

Thou who fructifies the earth,

Thou who restorest to centuries,

Thou who makest bloom the spring,

Thou who makest vibrate the musical chords...

Thou, splendour of my spring, O thou,

Sun reflected by millions of hearts.

A psalm? A hymn of praise to God? Nope. It is from O Great Stalin, an adulatory poem celebrating all the benefits of being ruled by the moustachioed Soviet dictator. A.O. Avdienko, writing in the state-run Communist newspaper, Pravda, in 1936, said

Thank you, Stalin. Thank you because I am joyful. Thank you because I am well. Centuries will pass, and future generations will think of us as the luckiest of men, because we lived in the century of centuries, because Stalin is our great leader. Yes, we do believe we are the happiest of people because our leader is a man who never had an equal in world history.

Strange words spoken of a man with such murderous tendencies. Perhaps the Soviets realised that they could only hold their Marxist realms together by the glue of personality cult. They could not literally deify their leaders as previous despotic empires had done, but this sort of nonsense falls barely short of it.

We in the West, especially Britain, tend to cynically disapprove and despise our political chiefs. This often borders on disrespect, even among Christians whom the apostle calls to honour and obey the ruler. Still, playful derision is preferable to unquestioning devotion. The godless, for want of heaven’s rule, will idolise and exalt the basest of scoundrels. Pity them who worship men; pity the mortals who glibly accept such worship:

And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. (Acts 12:23).

You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you. (Deuteronomy 6:13-14)

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay