Mailvox: More Hitler and Christianity

JF finally begins to get more reasonable:

My opinion is that Hitler exploited Christianity, which is why there are many positive references to both God and Christ in Mein Kompf. But the book certainly doesn’t support atheism.

As I’ve written about George Bush, statements about God or even Christ do not necessarily refer to the Christian God, God the Father who sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die at Calvary. I agree, however, that MEIN KAMPF cannot be read as support for atheism nor should it be. Hitler was manifestly not an atheist, he was definitely a pagan and most likely a pagan occultist.

Nor did the German Army with their ” God Is With Us ” belt buckles.

Again, which God? Furthermore, one hardly expects that even a popular totalitarian demagogue can completely transform the religious faith of a nation that had been Christian for eleven centuries in only six years. It’s also worth noting that the elite troops in the Waffen SS, who took oaths of loyalty to the Fuhrer personally, were strongly dissuaded from holding Christian faith and practiced pagan rituals of the sort described in the program for the National Reich Church.

Nor the fact that the Nazis celebrated Christmas.

Given that atheist Americans also celebrate Christmas, this proves nothing. The National Socialist’s religious program had already begun attacking the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth at Easter, no doubt had they had more than twelve years at their disposal, they would have gone after Christmas as well. The ACLU has taken more than twelve years to eliminate it from America, after all. Finally, Europe is today considered to be post-Christian and yet every European nation still celebrates Christmas.

Nor Hitler’s comment that he thought of himself as a Catholic.

So does Teddy Kennedy. And John Kerry. Are they both members of the Religious Right too? Anyhow, public statements by politicians are seldom very reliable in manners of faith, especially when it is an obviously noncommital remark that is generally favorable towards a sizeable potential constituency.

Cedarford adds:

The 30-pt anti-Christian program Vox describes was nothing more than a proposal augured by the Atheist Jew Alfred Rosenburg in 1942. It did not overturn the 1933 Concordat with the Catholics or the other arrangements with Protestants that religion was OK as long as it didn’t trammel on Hitler’s powers.

Cedarford conveniently ignores that Rosenborg was a very early National Socialist, briefly the leader of the party in 1923, and author of the book considered second in importance to MEIN KAMPF, THE MYTH OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. In addition to being the party’s chief ideologue, he was director of the National Socialist Cultural Community and of the Reich Centre for the Advancement of German Literature, with 1,400 editors at his disposal. He became increasingly irrelevant during the course of the war, but that has little impact on the present discussion since Hitler put his religious program on the backburner after its failure to win over the German churches became obvious subsequent to the Barmen Declaration in May, 1934.

The constitution for the National Reich Church program was approved by the Reichstag on July 14, 1933, hence the establishment of Ludwig Mueller as Reich Bishop that September. However, Hitler overstepped himself – a continuing theme in his career – as despite heavy party pressure, the disguised NRC program won over less than 20 percent of Germany’s 17,000 Protestant pastors, two-thirds of whom abandoned the program after it was publicly announced in a mass ceremony in November, 1993, that the Old Testament and the Apostle Paul were to be officially abjured from the new “German Christianity”.

The “German Christian” program inspired the creation of the Pastor’s Emergency League in September, 1933, which quickly grew into the Confessing Church movement in explicit opposition to Hitler and the NRC program. 700 Confessing Church pastors were arrested in 1935 alone.

Hitler later concluded: “In my youth, I took the view: dynamite. Later I realized that one can’t break the Church over one’s knee. It has to be left to rot like a gangrenous limb . . . . But the healthy youth belongs to us.”

Cedarford’s mention of the Catholic Concordat is particularly amusing as Hitler also signed a concordat with Stalin six years later. If we follow his logic, Operation Barbarossa and the war on the eastern front never occurred, since it is indisputable that there was a non-agression pact made between the Third Reich and the USSR on August 23, 1939.

“The Germans treated the Church most harshly in the annexed regions, as they systematically closed churches there; most priests were either killed, imprisoned, or deported to the General Government. The Germans also closed seminaries and convents, persecuting monks and nuns. Between 1939 and 1945, an estimated 3,000 members of the Polish clergy were killed; of these, 1,992 died in concentration camps, 787 of them at Dachau.”

Apparently that never happened either. It wasn’t possible, because there was a Catholic Concordat six years before, you know.

The truth is that Hitler tried to seduce and transform the Christian churches into a single pagan institution in service to the State, but he failed. After that failure, he was content to leave them alone so long as they remained sufficiently intimidated by arrests, executions and public pressure. And that is the shame of the Christian church in National Socialist Germany; although it was never conquered or coopted, it was cowed.

Karl Barth, one of the leaders of the Confessing Church who was forced to flee to Switzerland in 1935, stated after the war:

“The Confessing Church stands condemned by the message of its own Barmen Confession. And for this, it has been properly and improperly reproached. Properly insofar as a strong Christian Church . . . should not have remained on the defensive and should not have fought on its own narrow front alone;

Improperly insofar as on this admittedly all too narrow front a serious battle was waged …. In proportion to its task, the Church has sufficient reason to be ashamed that it did not do more; yet in comparison with those other groups and institutions (the German universities and schools, the legal profession, business, theatre and art, the army and the trade unions) it has no reason to be ashamed; it accomplished far more than all the rest.”