Skip to comments.The Cross vs. the Swastika
Posted on 01/26/2002 1:14:46 PM PST by Paul Ross
The Cross vs. the Swastika
The Cross vs. the Swastika
I vividly remember a high school conversation with a friend Id known since we were eight. Id pointed out that Hitler was essentially a pagan, not a Christian, but my friend absolutely refused to believe it. No matter how much evidence I presented, he kept insisting that Nazi Germany was an extension of Christianity, acting out its age-old vendetta against the Jews. Not that he spoke from any personal study of the subject; he just knew. Hed heard it so many times itd become an article of faith one of those things everyone knows.
Flash forward 25 years. A few weeks ago my last column (http://www.boundless.org/2001/regulars/kaufman/a0000528.html) refuted a number of familiar charges against Christianity, including the Christianity-created-Nazism shibboleth. Even though I only skimmed the subject, I thought the evidence I cited wouldve been hard to ignore; I quoted, for example, Hitlers fond prediction that he would destroy Christianity and replace it with a [pagan] religion rooted in nature and blood. But sure enough, I still heard from people who couldnt buy that.
Well, sometimes myths die hard. But this one took a hit in early January, at the hands of one Julie Seltzer Mandel, a Jewish law student at Rutgers whose grandmother survived internment at Auschwitz.
A couple of years ago Mandel read through 148 bound volumes of papers gathered by the American OSS (the World War II-era predecessor of the CIA) to build the case against Nazi leaders on trial at Nuremberg. Now she and some fellow students are publishing what they found in the journal Law and Religion(www.lawandreligion.com), which Mandel edits. The upshot: a ton of evidence that Hitler sought to wipe out Christianity just as surely as he sought to wipe out the Jews.
The first installment (the papers are being published in stages) includes a 108-page OSS outline, The Persecution of the Christian Churches. Its not easy reading, but its an enlightening tale of how the Nazis faced with a country where the overwhelming majority considered themselves Christians built their power while plotting to undermine and eradicate the churches, and the peoples faith.
Before the Nazis came to power, the churches did hold some views that overlapped with the National Socialists e.g., they opposed communism and resented the Versailles treaty that ended World War I by placing heavy burdens on defeated Germany. But, the OSS noted, the churches could not be reconciled with the principle of racism, with a foreign policy of unlimited aggressive warfare, or with a domestic policy involving the complete subservience of Church to State. Thus, conflict was inevitable.
From the start of the Nazi movement, the destruction of Christianity was explicitly recognized as a purpose of the National Socialist movement, said Baldur von Scvhirach, leader of the group that would come to be known as Hitler youth. But explicitly only within partly ranks: as the OSS stated, considerations of expedience made it impossible for the movement to make this public until it consolidated power.
So the Nazis lied to the churches, posing as a group with modest and agreeable goals like the restoration of social discipline in a country that was growing permissive. But as they gained power, they took advantage of the fact that many of the Protestant churches in the largest body (the German Evangelical Church) were government-financed and administered. This, the OSS reported, advanced the Nazi plan to capture and use church organization for their own purposes and to secure the elimination of Christian influences in the German church by legal or quasi legal means.
The Roman Catholic Church was another story; its administration came from Rome, not within German borders, and its relationship with the Nazis in the 1920s had been bitter. So Hitler lied again, offering a treaty pledging total freedom for the Catholic church, asking only that the church pledge loyalty to the civil government and emphasize citizens patriotic duties principles which sounded a lot like what the church already promoted. Rome signed the treaty in 1933.
Only later, when Hitler assumed dictatorial powers, did his true policy toward both Catholics and Protestants become apparent. By 1937, Pope Pius XI denounced the Nazis for waging a war of extermination against the church, and dissidents like the Lutheran clergyman Martin Niemoller openly denounced state control of Protestant churches. The fiction of peaceful coexistence was rapidly fading: In the words of The New York Times (summarizing OSS conclusions), Nazi street mobs, often in the company of the Gestapo, routinely stormed offices in Protestant and Catholic churches where clergymen were seen as lax in their support of the regime.
The Nazis still paid enough attention to public perception to paint its church critics as traitors: the church shall have not martyrs, but criminals, an official said. But the campaign was increasingly unrestrained. Catholic priests found police snatching sermons out of their hands, often in mid-reading. Protestant churches issued a manifesto opposing Nazi practices, and in response 700 Protestant pastors were arrested. And so it went.
Not that Christians took this lying down; the OSS noted that despite this state terrorism, believers often acted with remarkable courage. The report tells, for example, of how massive public demonstrations protested the arrests of Lutheran pastors, and how individuals like pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer (hanged just days before the war ended) and Catholic lay official Josef Mueller joined German military intelligence because that group sought to undermine the Nazis from within.
There is, of course, plenty of room for legitimate criticism of church leaders and laymen alike for getting suckered early on, and for failing to put up enough of a fight later. Yet we should approach such judgments with due humility. As Vincent Carroll and David Shiflett write in their book Christianity on Trial (to repeat a quote used in my last column), It is easy for those who do not live under a totalitarian regime to expect heroism from those who do, but it is an expectation that will often be disappointed. . . . it should be less surprising that the mass of Christians were silent than that some believed strongly enough to pay for their faith with their lives.
At any rate, my point is hardly to defend every action (or inaction) on the part of German churches. In fact, I think their failures bring us valuable lessons, not least about the dangers of government involvement in and thus power over any churches.
But the notion that the church either gave birth to Hitler or walked hand-in-hand with him as a partner is, simply, slander. Hitler himself knew better. One is either a Christian or a German, he said. You cant be both.
This is something to bear in mind when some folk on the left trot out their well-worn accusation that conservative Christians are Nazis or fascists. Its also relevant to answering the charge made by the likes of liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd: History teaches that when religion is injected into politics the Crusades, Henry VIII, Salem, Father Coughlin, Hitler, Kosovo disaster follows.
But its not Christianity thats injected evil into the world. In fact, the worst massacres in history have been committed by atheists (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot) and virtual pagans (Hitler). Christians have amassed their share of sins over the past 2,000 years, but the great murderers have been the churchs enemies, especially in the past century. Its long past time to set the historical record straight.
The complete text of this article is available at http://www.boundless.org/2001/regulars/kaufman/a0000541.html
"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."
-Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
"We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race. The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession."
"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice....
"And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people....
"When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited. "
-Adolf Hitler, in his speech on 12 April 1922
"While we destroyed the Centre Party, we have not only brought thousands of priests back into the Church, but to millions of respectable people we have restored their faith in their religion and in their priests. The union of the Evangelical Church in a single Church for the whole Reich, the Concordat with the Catholic Church, these are but milestones on the road which leads to the establishment of a useful relation and a useful co operation between the Reich and the two Confessions."
-Adolf Hitler, in his New Year Message on 1 Jan. 1934
"This Winter Help Work is also in the deepest sense a Christian work. When I see, as I so often do, poorly clad girls collecting with such infinite patience in order to care for those who are suffering from the cold while they themselves are shivering with cold, then I have the feeling that they are all apostles of a Christianity-- and in truth of a Christianity which can say with greater right than any other: This is the Christianity of an honest confession, for behind it stand not words but deeds."
-Adolf Hitler, speaking of the Winter Help Campaign on 5 Oct. 1937
Who cares what lies he spewed? He was insane. Surely you understand that a madman seeking power will say anything if he thinks he can obtain his objective. Hillary claims she has a strong interest in the welfare of children. Do you believe her too? The simple fact is that tyrants tell lies. Hitler was very good at that. (Clinton too.)
Hitler had a stronger interest in (and knowledge of) art and architecture than biology (of which he obviously knew nothing). Would you condemn architecture because Hitler fancied himself to be an amateur architect? Mein Kampf is full of endless blather about hygene and excercise for the youth. You want to condemn that too?
No, you don't pick on his concern for hygene, or his architecture, or his vegetarianism, or even his astrology. Only evolution. I understand that you're a creationist. Fine with me. But the study of biology doesn't make anyone a follower of Hitler.
A very skewed and shallow understanding of Christ's actions to say the least. In driving out the moneychangers, Christ fashioned a "scourge of small cords" and ran some of the most unruly of them out, probably along with the barnyard of animals they had brought right onto the porches. There was nothing in this against the Jewish people, only in those who had violated the dignity of His Father's house. What is it like today, but all the hucksterism, if that's a word, that gets associated with religion.
It is good versus evil, Esau and his spiritual kind against Jacob and his spiritual kin. You are one or the other, no matter what guise you assume to fool people. The Jewish people know this, and consider the Nazis spiritual Esau. Those of us who follow Jesus Christ are spiritually Jacob.
The theory of evolution is utter absurd. There is no fossil record that supports evolution. It's based on the idea that mutations are beneficial (virtually all are detrimental). Creatures like the duckbilled platypus could not possible have evolved nor could the human eye. Michael Behe in Darwin's Black Box showed the complex organisms have too many interdependent organs to have evolved step-by-step.
Why would any Christian want to believe in a theory that has massive holes, no evidence and was made up by those that hate the idea of a God? It's a fairy tale of God-haters.
Doesn't this sound just like terrorists such as like Bin Laden?!? (or Hillery/Bill Clinton against the "Religous Right"...) So, is it true that anyone claiming that they are acting on God's behalf actually are? Don't think so...
One of the most important yet least-known aspects of Darwin is his racism: Darwin regarded white Europeans as more "advanced" than other human races. While Darwin presumed that man evolved from ape-like creatures, he surmised that some races developed more than others and that the latter still bore simian features. In his book, The Descent of Man, which he published after The Origin of Species, he boldly commented on "the greater differences between men of distinct races".(1) In his book, Darwin held blacks and Australian Aborigines to be equal to gorillas and then inferred that these would be "done away with" by the "civilised races" in time. He said:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes... will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.(2)
Killing the weaker (the elderly and handicapped) is also very consistent with the idea of survival of the fitest and Hitler did that before he started trying to create the master race.
Further, Hitler is not the only tryant influenced by Darwin. Darwinism is a foundation of atheism and a foundation of tryannical atheist nations.
Soviet communist leaders like Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin. Trotsky said he was "intoxicated by Darwin's ideas. Stalin rejected Christianity at 19 after reading the works of Darwin.
But it is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic, and to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.
And you have to understand this, that a prince, especially a new one, cannot observe all those things for which men are esteemed, being often forced, in order to maintain the state, to act contrary to faith, friendship, humanity, and religion. Therefore it is necessary for him to have a mind ready to turn itself accordingly as the winds and variations of fortune force it, yet, as I have said above, not to diverge from the good if he can avoid doing so, but, if compelled, then to know how to set about it. For this reason a prince ought to take care that he never lets anything slip from his lips that is not replete with the above-named five qualities, that he may appear to him who sees and hears him altogether merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious. There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality, inasmuch as men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, because it belongs to everybody to see you, to few to come in touch with you. Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result."
Machiavelli, The Prince CHAPTER XVIII "Concerning The Way In Which Princes Should Keep Faith"
Hitler knew Machiavelli's teachings well.
There have been more people murdered in the name of God, than for any other reason, when the reality is money, power, and greed. Joshua, David, and Gideon, all killed in the name of God, because He said so. The Anti-Christ will murder in the name of God and the world will once again follow. We must know the Heart of God to know the difference.
Okay, okay. Hitler, Stalin ... I get it. Probably Idi Amin too. There is no evil in the world you won't attribute to poor ol' Darwin. This is one of those times when I just have to recognize that further debate is truly hopeless. I withdraw from our little dialogue. Not intellectually beaten, just stunned by the utter hopelessness of conversing with you. Go in peace.
Oh, so there were no Atheists prior to Darwin's Theory of Evolution?
You might want to replace those batteries in your "fact checker".....
Why didn't you know, Darwin is responsible for the eruption of Krakatoa, the Johnstown Flood, the Influenza outbreak of 1919, and the Curse of the Bambino on the Reds Sox. Darwin's evil theory made the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse, allowed the Japs to bomb Pearl Harbor, and is suspected of being the underlying cause of a multitude of horrible diseases, including mumps, stuttering, vericose veins, youthful errors, hernia, tuberculosis, halitosis, and falling down the stairs or your money back....
It's all so very simple, when you strive to be very simple.
Uh, dude, did hatred of the Jews start in Europe with the Church? Like, maybe, pagan Rome, (& the Egyptians before)want some credit, too?
And for posterity's sake, as I haven't found it archived in a thread here yet, I will include it here:
Dave Shiflett on NRO
You Mean Hitler Wasnt A Priest?
Dave Shiflett is coauthor of Christianity on Trial.
shocking story has been revealed: Adolf Hitler was not a Christian after all. Instead, he hoped to destroy Christianity. This news flash comes courtesy of a group of students at Rutgers University School of Law at Camden, who have posted papers on a website detailing Hitler's desire to eradicate Christianity. The documents are from the archives of Gen. William J. Donovan and were originally prepared for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, so we can safely assume they are authentic.
To be sure, Hitler's antagonism toward Christianity will not be news to everyone. That its central figure hails from a Jewish family did not set well with him, and its teachings of universal love ran contrary to his violent precepts. Yet one could easily get the impression, these days, that Hitler believed himself to be something of an altar boy on a mission for God.
The Rutgers project's editor, for example, seems to have been taken a bit by surprise. Julie Seltzer Mandel told the Philadelphia Enquirer that "When people think about the Holocaust, they think about the crimes against Jews, but here's a different perspective." The Nazis, she says, "wanted to eliminate the Jews altogether, but they were also looking to eliminate Christianity."
That film was altered after protests by, among others, conservative Jewish writers. But the same message crops up elsewhere. Soon after the September 11 attacks, a spokeswoman for the Freedom From Religion organization pronounced Hitler a Catholic. In 1999, Maureen Dowd included Hitler as yet another Christian zealot. According to Dowd, "History teaches that when religion is injected into politics the Crusades, Henry VIII, Salem, Father Coughlin, Hitler, Kosovo disaster follows."
Hitler was indeed a baptized Catholic, but his rejection of the faith was profound. "My pedagogy is strict," he once explained. "I want a powerful, masterly, cruel and fearless youth... There must be nothing weak or tender about them. The freedom and dignity of the wild beast must shine from their eyes... That is how I will root out a thousand years of human domestication."
That domestication, of course, was in large part due to the influence of Christianity. Hitler was blunter still on other occasions. "It is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity," he said in 1933, "because there is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood." His countrymen would have to choose: "One is either a Christian or a German. You can't be both."
That promise was to come true in a frightful number of cases. Polish Christians felt the full force of the persecution, as historian John Morley reminds us. "In Poland, both Jews and Christians were objects of Nazi oppression and manipulation." The clergy were a chief target: "In West Prussia, out of 690 parish priests, at least two-thirds were arrested, and the remainder escaped only by fleeing from their parishes. After a month's imprisonment, no less than 214 of these priests were executed... by the end of 1940 only twenty priests were left in their parishes about three percent of the number of parish priests in the pre-war era." The toll of murdered Polish priests would rise into the thousands; their Protestant counterparts (though a much smaller group) fared no better, with many members of the clergy perishing in the camps.
None of which is to suggest that Christians were uniformly opposed to Hitler, or that some did not actually embrace the Reich. The lesson from Rutgers, however, is that Hitler was no altar boy, acting on behalf of the Christian faith. Indeed, his hope was to be its undertaker which was another of his profound miscalculations, and should not be forgotten today.