God and Winston Churchill

In Duty and Destiny, Gary Scott Smith underscores how both duty and destiny were central to Churchill’s life and mission while acknowledging that who or what Churchill believed determined his destiny—God or fate—is ultimately unclear.

The woke mobs of the cancel culture have come for Winston Churchill, both here in the United States and in his home country, where the man was long considered a hero who did nothing short of save England and Western civilization, defeating what he called the “devil” and “evil” of Hitler and the Nazis and confronting the “plague bacillus” of Soviet communism. In fact, Time Magazine at the half-century point (while Churchill was still alive) judged him “Man of the Half-Century,” and many Americans and Brits alike at the end of the 20th century dubbed him Man of the Century. Not unjustifiably so.

But our new century is another era, where the cultural revolutionaries of the dominant culture judges everyone by altogether different and far narrower standards.

A recent panel of Cambridge professors at (ironically) Churchill College branded old Winston a “white supremacist”—indeed, as no less than “the perfect embodiment of white supremacy”–and creatively concluded that his “British Empire was far worse than the Nazis.” In London’s Parliament Square last summer, Black Lives Matter protesters (BLM has become very active in the United Kingdom) spray-painted in red the word “RACIST” on Churchill’s statue. And here in the United States, with the Democrats back in the White House, the bust of Churchill is out of the Oval Office again. A comparatively mild token, one supposes, to the rising levels of animus toward Churchill in his beloved homeland.

One person with a far more measured view of Winston Churchill, who calmly assesses the good and the bad, and who seeks to inform with grace and genuine scholarship, is Dr. Gary Scott Smith. Smith is a highly respected academic who taught at Grove City College for nearly 40 years. He has written or edited over a dozen books, including a seminal two-part series on faith and the presidency published by Oxford University Press. His latest book is on the faith and life of Winston Churchill. And given the current zeitgeist clouding Churchill’s image and great contributions, Duty and Destiny: The Life and Faith of Winston Churchill is a gem seemingly almost providentially released at a time when it couldn’t be more needed.

Smith underscores how both duty and destiny were central to Churchill’s life and mission. It was indeed a profound sense of personal destiny, although, as Smith shows, who or what Churchill believed determined his destiny—God or fate—is ultimately unclear. Beginning early in life, with what some deemed seemingly “miraculous” escapes from death in Cuba, North Africa, the Boer War, and World War I, Churchill had a sense that something, whether God, fate, or destiny, had a special role for him to play in history.

“I believe I am watched over,” averred a young Churchill. “Chance, Fortune, Luck, Destiny, Fate, Providence seem to me only different ways of expressing the same thing, to wit, that a man’s own contribution to his life story is continually dominated by an external superior power.”

Whatever that power might be.

And yet, whether by God, fate, or destiny, or whatever else, if nothing but dumb luck, Churchill found himself in utterly pivotal moments. Few were so crucial as May 10, 1940, when he became prime minister during the Nazi invasion of France. “It felt as if I were walking with destiny,” he later interpreted this moment, “and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.”

Few would disagree. And many a religious man thought surely this was a God-ordained moment. “The one case in which … I can see the finger of God in contemporary history,” averred Lord Hailsham, who served in Churchill’s wartime government, “is Churchill’s arrival at the premiership at that precise moment in 1940.”

But would Churchill have considered that placement God-ordained? Before even going there, one must first consider a more fundamental question: Did Winston Churchill even believe in God?

Professor Smith acknowledges that this remains difficult to determine. Biographers called Churchill everything from “not a religious man” to a “God-haunted man,” from a “stalwart nonbeliever” to a person with “no faith in God, no hope in heaven.”

No hope in heaven?

According to Smith, several statements Churchill made indicate that he expected to cease to exist at death. Or, as one source put it, “Death was the end and he did not fear it.”

But the matter was more complicated. Churchill wanted to believe in heaven, but he could not do so with any sense of certainty. Still, Churchill clearly sensed something deeper going on in the affairs of humanity. To borrow from George W. Bush, who said that as president he always felt a certain moral accountability because of a sense that “something is watching me,” Churchill seemed very concerned that he would be required to justify before God his aerial bombing of German cities during World War II (a form of amoral or immoral “total warfare” that included killing civilians).

God, after all, has rules. Saint Augustine, some 1,500 years before World War II, laid out certain rules for Just War conduct. War is always bad and a terrible last resort, but even then, not even noble ends justify all means.

As Professor Smith notes, Churchill asserted that God is personal and does provide moral standards for justice and conduct, namely: “We [are] ruled by a Supreme Being and in fulfilment of a sublime moral purpose, according to which all our actions are judged.” God’s major attributes are justice, mercy, pity, self-sacrifice, and “ineffable love.” Churchill argued that all people are equal in God’s eyes and that God especially cares about the “poor and downtrodden.”

That is, assuming that God exists. Again, Churchill sensed something deeper going on.

As for Jesus Christ, on that matter Churchill was far more tight-lipped. Smith says that in his nearly 10 million published words, Churchill said almost nothing about Christ. Moreover, the “five million words of his speeches” contain only a single reference to Christ. Says Smith: “From his few public and private comments, it appears that Churchill viewed Jesus as an inspired prophet, an exceptional teacher, and an exemplary role model, but not as the Son of God.” Pointing to C.S. Lewis, Smith says that Churchill seems to be guilty of precisely what Lewis flagged in Mere Christianity: professing that Jesus was a great moral teacher while denying Christ’s claim to divinity.

But nonetheless, again, Churchill agreed with Lewis that God provided transcendent standards of justice vital to inspiring upright conduct and ethics.

Of course, it’s hard to believe that an atheist or agnostic could come to such views. But then again, Churchill easily could have absorbed these sentiments simply from his many hours in churches. He was hardly unchurched. According to Smith, while a student at Harrow, a boarding school northwest of London, Churchill went to three worship services every Sunday as well as morning and evening prayers throughout the week. He also attended church every Sunday when he was home during school holidays. Churchill saw a salutary value in this. “All of this was very good,” he later wrote. “I accumulated in those years so fine a surplus in the Bank of Observance that I have been drawing confidently upon it ever since.”

The time in churches did not last. By his early 20s, after his service with the British army in India, Churchill rarely attended worship services, even at Christmas.

Did Churchill pray? This was something he at least observed in his youth. According to Smith, Churchill’s nanny Elizabeth Everest prayed faithfully for him and encouraged him to pray. At the three boarding schools he attended, prayer was a regular part of daily worship services. And during his seemingly miraculous escapes from death during military engagements in Africa while he was in his early and mid-20s, Churchill prayed fervently for his safety. Smith is rightly struck by a contrast to the many American presidents who declared that the immense challenges of their office prompted them to pray often and vigorously and who exhorted citizens to pray for them: According to Smith, Churchill said almost nothing about personally praying for God’s aid and guidance during the dark days of World War II.

This is indeed such a curious contrast to American leaders. Bill Clark, close aide to Ronald Reagan, often told me that Reagan had a favorite line from Lincoln: “I’m often driven to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”

In all, the story of Churchill’s faith is complicated, as it is for many historical figures. What’s so compelling and historically helpful about Smith’s work on Churchill, akin to his crucial work on Thomas Jefferson, is his clarifying the record and going against the consensus of many historians who argued that the likes of Churchill and Jefferson didn’t believe in God at all, while also clarifying that they were far from conventional Christians or typical religious believers. So, not quite agnostics or atheists or deists, or even believers in Jesus Christ, but also far from conventional Christians.

In all, this is the heart of Smith’s examination. Of interest to Catholic readers, however, is the material in the book on Churchill and Catholicism. That material is limited, but it is noteworthy, especially what it says about Catholics in Britain during the first half of the 20th century and into World War II.

Smith notes that during the first half of the twentieth century, Roman Catholicism increased in numbers and prominence in Britain. Between 1910 and 1950, the number of priests in England and Wales grew by more than 40 percent. As Smith puts it, “both parish priests and members of the Catholic Missionary Society worked diligently to persuade non-observant Catholics to return to the flock.” Moreover, during the interwar years, a sizable number of prominent authors, artists, and public figures converted to Catholicism, including Maurice Baring, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Sheila Kaye-Smith, Eric Gill, Graham Greene, Ronald Knox (the son of an evangelical Anglican bishop), and Evelyn Waugh.

Smith states (and describes) that Winston Churchill had a better relationship with Catholic Cardinal Arthur Hinsley than with two Archbishops of Canterbury—William Temple and Geoffrey Fisher. Hinsley, who served as Archbishop of Westminster from 1935 until his death in March 1943, was the principal leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. He strongly denounced Nazism and fascism, and he staunchly supported Churchill’s leadership of Britain’s war efforts to defeat the nation’s evil enemies. In a May 22, 1940 letter to the London Times titled, “Awake! Or Be Crushed,” Hinsley appealed to Catholics throughout the world to “condemn by word and deed the dastardly invasion of Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg by the merciless Nazi hordes.” Human freedom and the moral law, he protested, were being “sacrificed to Nazi ambition.”

Smith heralds Hinsley as one of the first to publicize and condemn the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews. To help rally religious leaders in Britain and other European nations to oppose totalitarianism, Hinsley founded the Sword of the Spirit in October 1940, which he described as “a spiritual Movement” designed to equip Catholics with the armor of God to enable them to “stand against the deceits of the devil” and defend European civilization against “the tyranny of Godless or pagan forces.”

Churchill, of course, greatly appreciated this. He praised the cardinal as “vigorous and tough.”

Smith does say that Churchill held a “generally negative appraisal of Catholicism,” and thus it might seem “surprising that Churchill had a better relationship with Hinsley than with the archbishops of Canterbury.” But Hinsley’s bold moral leadership against the Nazi “ogre” (as Churchill put it) impressed Churchill.

As for Churchill’s negative appraisal of Catholicism, Smith says that Churchill in his youth “developed a strongly anti-Catholic view, which continued into his mid-twenties.” In 1898 he wrote to his brother that Oxford University “has long been the home of bigotry and intolerance and has defended more damnable errors and wicked notions than any other institution, with the exception of the Catholic Church.” In a letter the next year, Churchill declared that “as a rationalist I deprecate all Romish practices and prefer those of Protestantism, because I believe that the Reformed Church is less deeply sunk in the mire of dogma. We are … a step nearer Reason.” Churchill declared, however, that he was reluctant to rob the lives of people who worked in ugly factories devoid of beauty of the “ennobling aspiration” that Catholicism provided, even though it was expressed “in the burning of incense, the wearing of certain robes and other superstitious practices.”

Catholicism, Churchill added, was “a delicious narcotic,” but so were all religions to some extent. Religion “may soothe our pains and chase our worries, but it checks our growth and saps our strength.”

And yet, another positive wartime relationship with a prominent Church official softened Churchill’s anti-Catholic views. This one was with no less than the pope himself. After meeting with Pope Pius XII at the Vatican in August 1944, Churchill told Moran that “there must be something in a faith [Roman Catholicism] that could survive for so many centuries and had held captive so many men.”

Still, adds Professor Smith, “Churchill never completely rejected his anti-Catholicism.” In his bestselling A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, published in the 1950s, Churchill (as Smith interprets it) “frequently depicted Protestants as heroes and Catholics as villains.” He portrayed medieval popes as “foreign tyrants who always backed absolutism and opposed liberty.”

But again, when it came to the perilous Nazi onslaught against “Christian civilization,” Churchill rightly recognized the Roman Catholic Church as a crucial ally. The literal very “survival of Christian civilization” depended on defeating the Nazis.

In all, what we have in this book by Gary Smith is a Winston Churchill whose faith and religious views were complex, from his personal views on Christ to his views of Catholicism. Assessing Churchill accurately requires a bit of nuance—something very much lacking among his cultural detractors today.

Kudos to Gary Scott Smith for giving us something far more measured and thoughtful about the person of Winston Churchill than the narrow caricature being framed by today’s cultural revolutionaries.


Duty and Destiny: The Life and Faith of Winston Churchill

By Gary Scott Smith
Eerdmans, 2021
Hardcover, 267 pages


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About Dr. Paul Kengor 52 Articles
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism, Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century, Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage, and, most recently, The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism's Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration.

39 Comments

  1. My parish priest, who was born in India, noted that Churchill’s administration seized India’s entire wheat crop during the Second World War to distribute to the front lines, which caused a famine that killed millions of people. He also called the Treaty of Vereeniging in 1902 a Carthagian peace which ended the South African War (a war of conquest intended to seize control of the Transvaal Godfields) by forcing the Boers to surrender their independence and swear loyalty to the British Monarch “generous”.

    I am not “Woke” or politically correct, but Churchill was not the hero he is often made out to be.

      • Churchill worship is a relatively recent activity, championed by people falling into 2 camps: wealthy Anglophile Americans or British people born post 1950 and yearning for the days of Empire. The people who actually went through WW2 (and survivors of WW1) were able to distinguish between Churchill’s talents as a war time leader and his very obvious flaws as a peacetime Prime Minister. He lost the 1945 election by a spectacular margin and Labour were re-elected in 1950. He was a remarkable man, he was a remarkably lucky man, he crossed the floor of The House twice, and he lived long enough to get a final chance at high office. He was not loved by the ‘ordinary man’ indeed the miners hated him. He was mistrusted by his colleagues and only became PM because of Attlee’s insistence that Halifax would not be supported by the Labour Party. He was a man who believed in himself above everything else, he believed in Britishness and the English language. He believed in the class system and rule by the elites. He believed in Empire and the Crown. His successor Attlee, brought about a real British revolution through the creation of the NHS and welfare state. The contrast between the 2 men and their achievements is fascinating. Attlee was modest , Churchill was brash. Attlee had a steely determined authority, Churchill was bombastic and a brilliant orator. Both were products of the Empire. Churchill believed he was born to rule as part of the nobility and Attlee was solidly upper middle class and born to serve the nation. Neither man had a strong religious faith, but following distinguished service in WW1 Attlee devoted himself for several years as a full time volunteer in the East End of London, working with the poor. He became (as Pope Francis would say) a shepherd who smelt of his flock.

        • “ Attlee, brought about a real British revolution through the creation of the NHS and welfare state. ”

          That is not a good thing to have done.

          • For the poor, the homeless, and the sick, it transformed British society. It was a very noble endeavour, undertaken at a time of huge financial constraints: the country was weary from war, facing huge debt repayments and an economy in tatters. Rationing lasted well into the 50s, but Attlee held his nerve, and implemented policies which created decent housing and access to medical treatment. After all wasn’t the war fought (inter alia) to protect our human dignity.? So that men and women could live with dignity? One of the most remarkable features of life immediately after the war, is that British people accepted v severe rationing so as to save the German people from starvation Foods were redistributed to Germany for several years to help rebuild their society. Yet another remarkable achievement.

          • A welfare state is not a good thing; it tends to create a permanent underclass of people who don’t work because why should they bother? And the NHS rations care to, for example, the elderly. And then there are cases the little children Charlie Gard and Isaiah Haastrup, Oliver Cameron and Alfie Evans.

            No, I’m not claiming that other systems are perfect, but turning that much power over to an impersonal government entity is folly.

    • Yes, he was a totally the legitimate hero people make him out to be. A careful and detailed review of vh the historical records demonstrates that clearly. He did not cause an alleged famine that killed millions of people.

  2. The same interests that promote equality movements and statue toppling in the States are busy in the UK, but they no more represent the working class in Britain than they do in America.
    Sadly you find that sort of nonsense most at home in Cambridge and Oxford. Places that might be teaching in German today had it not been for Churchill.

    • About current criticisms of Churchill versus the possibility of “teaching German” in England…Churchill was both imperfect and yet supremely capable of viewing the declining history of the West in the long term. In a note to the Foreign Office on April 8, 1945, he wrote:

      “This war should never have come unless, under American and modernizing pressure, we had driven the [Catholic] Hapsburgs out of Austria and Hungary [at the end of WWI] and the [Catholic] Hohenzollerns out of Germany. By making these vacuums we gave the opening for the Hitlerite monster to crawl out of its sewer onto the vacant thrones. No doubt these views are very unfashionable” (The Second World War, vol. 6).

      Whatever the institutional faults of the earlier dynasties, radical secularism and now fashionable counter-culturalism were not part.

  3. I started reading Churchill’s history of the English speaking peoples and gave up in volume 2 because of his anti-Catholicism. Though he called himself Catholic of course, which Anglicans tend to do.

    • You might want to start with a basic biography if you are interested. Martin Gilbert has a one volume condensed version of his multi-volume biography of Churchill that is detailed and accurate. Churchill was not personally religious in any significant sense, so that’s not necessarily the best lens through which to review or assess his life.

      • In his history of the English speaking peoples. Anglicans consider themselves the real Catholics.
        And Athanasius misses the point. I am related to Churchill and already know as much about him as anybody.

  4. An excellent strategic leader of the world does not make him informed or even competent on the history, doctrine and catechism of the Church.

  5. I would hope that Churchill had some belief in Jesus. In men of a certain era, such emotionally laden things were not spoken about in public, generally. Whether or not he did however, he was the deciding factor in keeping up British morale, and helping win WWII, thus making a huge difference to save Western civilization from the hands of dictators and murderers. As for “Woke” cancel culture, there in nothing more stupid than judging the people of a past century by the standards of another. It is nothing short of disgusting, reverse racism, and those who quietly cave to it instead of speaking out, should be ashamed.

    • It’s nice to see the word “stupid” coming back into fashion when describing the “woke” people, and I thank you – IMO it is long overdue.

      One disagreement – the phrase “reverse racism” – IMO there is no such thing.

      And Churchill, at the end of his “we shall fight on the beaches” speech, used the phrase “In God’s good time” – quite eloquently.

  6. I appreciate Dr. Kengor’s review of the new Churchill book. Certainly, he was a towering figure of the twentieth century. He possessed a formidable intellect and spoke and wrote at a level that contemporary politicians do not come close to approaching and, in many cases, cannot even fully comprehend. His soaring rhetoric doubtlessly sustained the British people during the darkest moments of 1940/41. He also recognized the Bolsheviks early on for the what they were. However, Churchill also was recklessly and relentlessly belligerent in the run-ups to both World Wars. His feverish agitation in pushing Britain into World War I was decisive and is documented thoroughly in Pat Buchanan’s Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary the War. Also, while he certainly recognized Stalin for the monster he was, that did not prevent him from selling out, with FDR, Eastern Europe to the USSR at the end of the Second World War. Churchill, with his strengths and flaws, was a man of the West, who made shockingly politically incorrect observations on race and, late in life, expressed alarm at the impact large scale Third World immigration was having on Britain. For that reason, he, like Lincoln, and so many other heroes of twentieth century mainstream liberals, is in the crosshairs of the Marxist vandals, who, very much like him, are practitioners of total warfare.

  7. Winston Churchill was an inveterate imperialist who was a war monger leading up to The Great War of 1914-18. His personal story is impressive given his frequent bouts of clinical depression; but, he was not a heroic figure. BLM isn’t always wrong.

    • One qualified analyst concludes that the GALLIPOLI strategy was well-conceived but failed in execution and details—some of this due to the inexperienced, impatient and rhetorically overwhelming Churchill’s lack of naval understanding, but not all.

      At the Dardanelles the “standard of leadership…was quite deplorable;” the operation failed to sweep for mines early, and the commanders of the later effort were unqualified (“trawler fishermen”) who panicked under fire; the battleships were mostly pre-Dreadnoughts whose guns had a maximum elevation of 15 degrees and, therefore, in the critical early phase were unable to target the Turkish forts; lack of land-and-sea coordination; and the mostly surviving ships could well have proceeded to Constantinople without ground action (Gallipoli), but did not, etc.

      Instead, “…[i]t was easier to blame the meddler, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill–the man who conceived the only brilliant strategy of the entire war and was sacked for it” (Geoffrey Regan, Great Naval Blunders,1994).

      As for DRESDEN, however, at the Yalta Conference, Churchill intended the concurrent Dresden bombing in order to impress Stalin at the table. But the weather intervened while the holocaust remained on schedule, taking place only on the day Churchill left Yalta. “The ghastly mass murder was completely in vain: the number of victims in this unfortified and nonindustrial city, crammed with refugees, is estimated to have been between 135,000 and 170,000–all noncombatants, mostly women, children, and old men, but including foreign slave laborers” (Von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism, 1974 [I have read, somewhere, a later and lowered estimate of “only” 35,000]).

      Roosevelt and Churchill, both, were too self-deceived in trying too much to impress and cajole Stalin (“Uncle Joe”). At Potsdam, Roosevelt even opposed discussing the details for Vienna and Berlin, reportedly because such a show of confidence, he believed, would soften the Soviets into an atmosphere of “fellowship” and “goodwill.” Later, of course, the Iron Curtain and the need for the Berlin Airlift.

  8. At the end of the day, I agree with Kengor and remain a Churchill fan. History (thank God) is full of men and women who are not saints, but are heroes. Churchill is one. He was a product of his world and his time. But he also rose to the demands of his time and helped save the world. I found his history books very enjoyable and readable, once you made allowance for his ingrained British disdain for Catholicism, the Irish, etc. We can’t all be perfect (or even Irish).

  9. What, in all that is holy is this review doing in a ‘Catholic’ journal?

    The Churchill phenomenon is complex sure. Some in Britain and further afield are questioning his status as ‘hero’. People are also partially at least responding to new laws being currently passed in Britain, that are extremely regressive unfortunately:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/apr/19/worship-national-symbols-culture-decline-flags-statues

    It would be more honest, even in a review to give a more honest and the wider context.

    Churchill came from a long line of people appointed to high office due purely to their relations by blood. One of his ancestors was the chief plotter to the beheading of Charles I. Yes, he helped defeat Hitler. V. Good. He also threw eastern Europe under the bus to secure both Soviet and US support to defeat Germany. As for his faith, he was an enthusiastic Freemason and his writings reveal him to have been an unambiguous (yes!) ‘white supremacist’. He presided over the disaster at Gallipoli (the effective mass murder of thousands of Australians and New Zealanders), presided over a mass famine in India (tens of thousands) and played a major role in the partitioning of Ireland and formation of both the sectarian state of Northern Ireland, and the notorious ‘Black and Tans’ … And that’s just for starters. If any figure in modern European history is worthy of far deeper and honest scrutiny, it is he. He was not even universally admired in Britain during his own life and was wisely removed by the people from the premiership as soon as the war had ended. He had never in fact been voted into the position in the first place.

    During his funeral the BBC filmed a memorable scene of the London dockers ‘bowing’ their cranes in his honour, as his remains were moved down the Thames. Only in the last few years has the London government admitted that so reviled was he by the working-class, that the dockers had to be individually paid to ensure the dramatic ‘miracle’ took place for the cameras. He is now held up as the unassailable ‘patron saint’ of Brexit.

    Again, Catholic journal … Why?

    • “ Churchill came from a long line of people appointed to high office due purely to their relations by blood.”

      Which has been true of most governments for most of history, so it hardly constitutes a terrible charge against him.

      “ One of his ancestors was the chief plotter to the beheading of Charles I. ”

      Are you actually holding against him the actions of an ancestor from the 17th century? So, are you going to give him credit for being the sixth cousin of Laura Ingalls Wilder?

      “ Only in the last few years has the London government admitted that so reviled was he by the working-class, that the dockers had to be individually paid to ensure the dramatic ‘miracle’ took place for the cameras.”

      Can you provide a source for that? I’ve found one fairly envious and spiteful sounding person who made a claim in one BBC documentary, but nothing about a “London government” Admitting that he was so hated they had to be individually bribed. At most, I’ve found a statement that crane operators were compensated for coming in on their day off since the funeral was on a Saturday.

    • It is an interesting and informative piece, even if I don’t agree necessarily with all of Kengor’s or Smith’s conclusions. There is nothing wrong with publishing an essay like this on a Catholic website.

    • Conservative donors like the Koch Bros and Paul Singer want social conservatives, including Catholics, to identify with the interests of the wider conservative movement, which is dominated by economic libertarians. This is despite the lack of an intrinsic connection between culture war issues and economics. Part of the way this is done is by constantly bringing up the threat of Marxism, so readers have an association between government regulation of the economy and atheism. This is why Dr. Kengor was paid to right a book about Karl Marx to sell to conservative Catholics. In truth, Marxism has been a dead system for decades, and Western governments have moved decidedly away from socialism and towards libertarianism (“neoliberalism”) since the 70s.

      The Churchill connection is more vague. Their is a lot of Churchill hagiography in mainstream conservative circles. I think the idea is that the donors want social conservatives to think of politics as a fight between good Anglo-American liberals (who are mostly pro-Christian) and bad Nazis and Communists. However, that world is long gone. Nowadays, Nazism is dead, Communism is dead, and Anglo-American liberalism is the most direct enemy of both the Christian faith and of the welfare of Western societies.

      • “Marxism has been a dead system for decades…”

        That’s funny. I’m sure neo-Marxists find it even funnier than I do.

        “Communism is dead.”

        No one is China is laughing. Excepts the Communists. So, a lot of people in China are laughing.

  10. What’s wrong with making Jesus Christ the standard of all things?

    “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

    “There is none who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:3)

    Why are we always trying to put all these various political or intellectual figures up on a pedestal–Ronald Reagan, Churchill, Trump, Christopher Columbus, Lincoln, Washington, Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Pope Benedict/Cardinal Ratzinger, etc.?

    HAMLET: What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. (spoken to Rosencrantz and Guilderstein)

    HAMLET: Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this
    fashion i’ th’ earth?
    HORATIO: E’en so.
    HAMLET: And smelt so? Pah! He puts the skull down.
    HORATIO: E’en so, my lord.
    HAMLET: To what base uses we may return, Horatio!
    Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of
    Alexander till he find it stopping a bunghole?
    HORATIO: ’Twere to consider too curiously to consider
    so.
    HAMLET: No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither,
    with modesty enough and likelihood to lead it, as
    thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander
    returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth
    we make loam; and why of that loam whereto he
    was converted might they not stop a beer barrel?
    Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay,
    Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
    O, that that earth which kept the world in awe
    Should patch a wall t’ expel the winter’s flaw!

    We are always engaged in this endless search for mortal heroes to follow and idolize, but we always end up seeing their clay feet–and our own.

    “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

    “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

    Apostle Paul: “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:2)

    Aren’t we always seeking out mortal, limited, imperfect role models because a part of us doesn’t want to follow (or be judged by or compared to) the immortal, unlimited, and perfect ONE?

    And isn’t that that very thing that caused the Fall of Angels and the Fall of Man?

  11. This article proves the value and importance of Catholic World Report. If this topic had been treated on websites like National Review or the Federalist, it would have been just anti-Woke, inflammatory click bait. But here on Catholic World Report the topic is treated with Wisdom, Justice, Temperance, Courage, Faith, Hope, and Charity. What a difference, thank God!

    • I wonder what (the real) Bartholomé de la Casas would have made of Churchill, and he predated him by four centuries. Some things never change, I suppose. Still, De la Casas in my view would be far more worthy a subject of review in CWR. One wonders why he was never a subject for canonization? I get people’s gripe with the facilness of current ‘woke’, it’s waffle and virtue signalling, but the nastiness they are objecting to is indeed very old, and very nasty, and sad to say still very much with us.

      Catholics especially, should know better from our own history than to fall neatly for “me, good, them, bad” narrative, attractive as it might be at times. Also, I’m personally sick of hearing about WWI or WWII, totally unnecessary and utterly barbarous conflicts, instigated but truly odious individuals, the product of the hubris, ‘hurt feelings’ and past resentments of declining European empires, the Satanic attack upon the usual Jewish, Slav and Romany scapegoats, but equally the blaming of everything left upon the shoulders of the German people. Context is everything. Hitler would have found it extremely difficult to be so much as noticed, if not for the menacing threat of the Soviets ‘next door’, or for the utterly unjustified humiliation and poverty the British and French subjected ordinary Germans to following WWI. Before both conflicts, one of the most vocal warmongers in ‘the West’ was Sir Winston Churchill. The historical record is crystal clear on that.

  12. This excellent Catholic World Report article leads me to ask:

    Isn’t there a Woke movement or strain on the Conservative side, too?

    Don’t we see this Conservative-side Woke-ism among these:

    -Trump supporters who carried out the January 6, 2021 “sacking of Rome.”
    -QAnon people
    -Tucker Carlson
    -Alex Jones
    -Roger Stone
    -Proud Boys
    -Oath Keepers
    -Steve Bannon

    Woke-ness, whether of the Progressive variety or the Conservative variety, seems to have these characteristics:

    -Refusal to be constrained by reasonableness (the virtue that the classic, ancient philosophers, like Socrates, called “Reason”).

    -Refusal to be constrained by charity, mercy, or compassion (the virtues that are the hallmark of followers of Christ).

    -Ideological purity.

    -Racial purity (overt, or the “wink-wink-nod-nod” variety)

    -Refusal to dialogue, negotiate, or compromise (goodbye to the Constitution’s “republican form of government”).

    -Belief in concentration of political power in order to utterly destroy the evil forces, institutions, and people, once and for all.

    -Lawlessness and injustice carried out in the furtherance of a supposed higher law or justice.

    -Passion for, or at least grudging acceptance of, political violence when necessary.

    • “-Trump supporters who carried out the January 6, 2021 “sacking of Rome.””

      Snort. Yeah, that guy in the buffalo horns was just so terrifying.

  13. Personally, I’m no fan of Churchill for a number of reasons. I’d like to say though I’m thoroughly enjoying Paul’s book The Devil and Karl Marx. It’s superb.

  14. One of Churchill’s most significant achievements deserving of appreciation was the way he put the English language to use in the cause of his country’s survival.

    • That brings to mind President Kennedy’s words many years ago when he said of Churchill “He sent the English language into battle.”

      I’ve listened to Churchill’s “We will never surrender” just after Dunkirk many times and it never fails to bring me to tears. To me the most remarkable aspect of it is the simple fact that he gave the speech in a normal tone of voice – he didn’t raise his voice at all.

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