In an attempt to justify the legality of repressing religious and civil rights in Lithuania, the government is venturing to establish this legality through various sociological "research."
At the beginning of 1978, a questionnaire was circulated in certain Lithuanian agencies whose employees were compelled to reply to a series of questions on their attitudes toward religion. Among other questions, were the following: "What is your attitude toward religion? Do you attend church for the purpose of prayer? Do you celebrate religious holidays? How would you evaluate religion?" These questions and possible replies to them (for example, the question "How would you evaluate religion" offers the following possible replies: "1. Religion is harmful; 2. Religion contradicts science; 3. Religion is useless but not harmful; 4. Religion comforts man; 5. No opinion.") are already anti-religion by their very nature.
Despite this, questionnaires could be accepted if they were conducted honestly and the results later made public and, on their basis, the condition of believers improved. However, the results of these questionnaires are contrived beforehand, for questionnaires are handed out, checked and compiled by party organization offices which destroy questionnaires favorable to religion and send the socialogical research center only those questionnaires which present a negative attitude toward religion.
In this way, the party secretary rather adroitly "makes" it appear that atheist education is excellent at his office and all employees are atheists. (An occasional questionnaire filled out by an uncommitted individual is included.) The secretary then avoids difficulties "from above" and the results of the socialogical "research" is of course falsified.
Through such juggling, in certain agencies where over 50% of the employees were for religion (deeply religious, attending church only on major feasts, etc.) such "research" so distorts the actual situation that it appears 95% of the employees are fierce atheists.
We are delighted to add that according to earlier, as yet unfalsified, questionnaire results, believers are more numerous than the uncommitted.
Such a poll is also misleading because, by virtue of the fact that it is conducted in offices, it takes no account of our parents' beliefs. For it is no secret that there are considerably more believers among the older generation. They also are full citizens who must be considered.
The 1978 questionnaires included certain provocative questions dictated by the security police, for example: "What is your attitude toward the Russian nation and the brother USSR nations? Do you speak Russian voluntarily? Do you think the alliance of socialist states has been formed under duress? What do you think of the 1956 events in Hungary? Was it intervention by the USSR? How do you feel about the introduction of Warsaw Pact forces into Czechoslovakia in 1968?" and so forth.
Furthermore, these questionnaires were submitted only to selected employees: manager and party members. Thereby, by their very nature, the replies to the questions could not accurately reflect the opinion of society. More importantly, the secrecy of the questionnaire was violated (deliberately of course): All the respondents were seated in a room next to each other. Even were one to wish it, it was .therefore impossible to honestly express one's opinion. For no one could be sure about the persons sitting to one's left or right, especially if they were party members. And so the results of this sociological "research" once again concealed the true situation.