Tuesday, 28 May 2013


The Rev. A. Turnbull gave an address on "Christian Socialism; this Man or Barabbas ?" before a large audience at the Botanic Park on Sunday afternoon. He showed how Christ when on earth had lived among and cheered the common people —"the plebian crowd " — and had thus gained their love, but the deadly hatred of the upper classes of the Jewish community. At last His enemies resolved that He must be put to death. Greed and hypocrisy demanded that the man who would stand up against the rich tyrants of the day could live no longer. He had sown communistic seed broadcast, and it was felt that if He were to be allowed to live a crop of equal rights and privileges would spring up which would give blessings to the poor that they had not yet enjoyed, because others had had more than their own share. "Away with Him," the partisans of the scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites shouted. "Crucify Him. Crucify Him." Here was a strange sight. Pilate asked—"Whom will ye that I release unto you. Barabbas or Jesus which is called Christ?" Then came the answer, "Barabbas." Yes, it must be Barabbas the robber. A robber ! but one could easily believe that he was not the kind of robber as each of those was who procured the death of the Christ—He who was was against robbery and for restoring to everyone this rightful share of Nature's blessings. Were there not, however, friends of Barabbas still alive, and had they not killed many a Christ since the world's great Saviour preached the socialistic principles all should cherish. Socialism had been most grossly misrepresented by those who were opposed to its progress. They opposed Christianity when they raised objections to socialism. There could be no peace and no good will toward men while men increased wealth by grinding the face of the poor.There should be no two classes such as rich and poor. While they existed enmity and discord must prevail, because they were both trying to ruin each other. Socialism sought to abolish all classes, and they had the warrant for that from Christ who had said, "Call no man master," meaning that no barriers should be placed between men to sever the band of brotherhood, of which Christ spoke saying, "All ye are brethren" Some might object to this, but they did so let them no longer call themselves Christians. The lecturer then quoted numerous texts to show that Christian doctrines were of a socialistic character. He also alluded to the causes of trades unions and strikes, which latter he said were produced by capitalists taking every mean advantage offered to reduce their employees' wages. Some might say that Christian socialism was not so urgently needed in the colonies as in the nations where long abuses of social wrongs vehemently cried out for right to step in and dictate the laws that should rule. On the principle that prevention was better than cure he would urge the progress of Christian socialism in the colonies. He would call upon Australians to disdain the pomp and senseless erection of a colonial aristocracy. It was already proving itself an accursed thing in the formation of class distinctions they had no right to acknowledge. The title of "sir" was being conferred on ambitious colonists in England with no unsparing hand and every effort was being put forth to make the church and aristocracy support each other. In conclusion he said that in his belief there was a revolution coming, but he hoped for a bloodless one, Might it come soon. The world would be the better for its coming. Meanwhile they must do their best to alleviate the lot—now so miserable— of the majority of their fellow-men. It would be wise for the oppressors of the poor to assist in bringing about the much-needed change.

 The South Australian Advertiser 23 August 1886,

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