THE DIOCESE OF VILKAVIŠKIS
In February, 1973, students at the Prienai eight-year school had to answer the following questions:
1. For what do you hold a person in high regard (for his diligence, truthfulness, fairness, friendliness, collectivism, his appearance, for being well-read, for his abilities, his religiousness)?
2. How do you regard adults who attend church (favorably, unfavorably, have not thought about it)?
3. How do you regard students who attend church (favorably, unfavorably, have not thought about it)?
4. Do you agree with the opinion of believers that prayer and faith make one a better person (agree, disagree, don't know) ?
5. Some students' parents urge their children to attend church. How do you regard such parents' behavior (favorably, unfavorably, have not thought about it)?
6. It is asserted in school that prayer and faith in God contradict scientific facts. What is your opinion (agree, agree in part, disagree)?
7. Are religious holy days observed by your family (yes, no, sometimes)?
8. Are there pictures of saints in your apartment (yes, no)?
9. Does your family make the sign of the cross before and after meals (yes, no)?
10. Does your family pray (yes, no, sometimes)?
11. Do you eat blessed wafers on Christmas Eve (yes, no)?
12. Does a priest visit your home (yes, no) ?
13. Do you believe that God, angels, and devils exist (yes, no, doubt it)?
14. When did you last attend church (5, 4, 3, 2, r years ago; recently)?
15. Did you receive your First Communion [yes, no]?
16. Who prepared you for First Communion and confirmation (family members, elderly women from the neighborhood, servants of the church, priests) ?
17. Do you like discussions and books on atheistic topics (yes, no, have not come across such questions) ?
18. The Church commands you not to do anything bad and to honor your parents, therefore it is not harmful (agree, disagree, don't know) ?
19. Laws of nature are inviolable; therefore, there can be no miracles (agree, disagree, don't know)?
20. Do your parents believe in God (believe, do not believe, are skeptical) ?
21. Why do you attend church (out of conviction, parental encouragement, interest)?
After underlining the appropriate answer, students had to write down their surname and hand in the questionnaire to the teacher who had dictated the questions.
Students answer questions on such questionnaires in various ways: some write what they think, but others do not dare write the truth and answer hypocritically.
Why are religious questionnaires necessary? They are "sociological research" carried out in order to ascertain students' convictions. If the majority of students profess belief in God, atheistic propaganda is intensified at the school.
On February 9, 1973, at the Prienai eight-year school, a parents' meeting was held to which was invited Radionovas, the chief of the Prienai Rayon State Security Committee. The security agent spoke of the existing intense ideological struggle, that the Voice of America was slandering the Soviet form of government. According to him, children in Prienai do not want to join the Pioneers or the Young Communist League because their parents are either religious or at one time were associated with the freedom fighters' movement. When the security chief began to talk about the Rev. J. Zdebskis, who had been "justly" punished for teaching children, a din of protest arose in the hall. Disregarding this, Radionov explained that there are certain priests who, in his words, do not perform priestly duties but occupy themselves with propaganda and with the slander of the Soviet form of government.
The security agent rebuked the parents for forcing children who have enrolled in the Pioneers and the Young Communist League to attend church, thus teaching them to be hypocrites. One women stated the following: "We go to church, and our children go. We're not the ones who are teaching them to be hypocrites, but you are because you force students who believe in God to join the Pioneers and the Young Communist League." Everyone in the hall concurred. Another women wanted to speak, but Radiono-vas declared he would net involve himself in a conflict and left the hall. A great uproar accompanied the departing security agent. Principal [Mrs.] Jakaitienė wanted to shame the people for behaving discourteously, saying it would have been better to remain silent.
"We have been forcing children to join the Pioneers, and we'll continue to do so," said the principal.
"And we won't let them," responded the parents.