Last week marked the 200th birthday of Karl Marx, born on the 5th of May 1818. It was an event marked in a positive way by amongst others, the Economist, the Financial Times, the New York Times (whose headline read ‘Happy Birthday Karl Marx, you were right’), and the Guardian columnist Owen Jones who tweeted; ‘Happy 200th birthday Karl Marx’. The Chinese sponsored a new statue of Marx that was unveiled in his birthplace, Trier, Germany on Saturday. Jean Claude Juncker speaking at the unveiling of the statue, sought to justify Marx by saying he had been misunderstood by his disciples.President Xi Jinping spoke of Marx as the greatest intellectual thinker and the hero of the working classes and the poor.
Meanwhile the shadow chancellor in the UK, John McDonnell, gave a lecture on ‘Marxism as a force for change today’. So should Christians be celebrating the birthday of Karl Marx and giving thanks for his insights and genius? After all if the New York Times, the EU, the Chinese and politicians from liberal democracies can all unite in praise of Marx, perhaps there is something for Christians to give thanks for as well? Maybe there should be a commemorative service at Westminster Abbey or the Vatican?