Thursday, June 18, 2009

"No Christ do we follow..."

There continue to be those who profess to believe that Christianity was primarily responsible for the crimes of the Nazis. Many German Christians were complicit, adapting to the ideology, but Nazis were no more sympathetic with Christianity than were Communists. Although Hitler wrote and made public statements seemingly affirming Christianity, his actual beliefs expressed to his colleagues, as well as the behavior of the Nazi regime, demonstrate hostility. Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism provides this description made available at NRO:
...[T]he Nazis worked relentlessly to replace the nuts and bolts of traditional Christianity with a new political religion. .... The German historian Götz Aly explains how Hitler purchased popularity with lavish social welfare programs and middle-class perks, often paid for with stolen Jewish wealth and high taxes on the rich. Hitler banned religious charity, crippling the churches’ role as a counterweight to the state. Clergy were put on government salary, hence subjected to state authority. “The parsons will be made to dig their own graves,” Hitler cackled. “They will betray their God to us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable little jobs and incomes.” ...[T]he Nazis replaced the traditional Christian calendar. The new year began on January 30 with the Day of the Seizure of Power. Each November the streets of central Munich were dedicated to a Nazi Passion play depicting Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch. The martyrdom of Horst Wessel and his “old fighters” replaced Jesus and the apostles. Plays and official histories were rewritten to glorify pagan Aryans bravely fighting against Christianizing foreign armies. Anticipating some feminist pseudo history, witches became martyrs to the bloodthirsty oppression of Christianity.

.... The so-called German Christian pastors preached that “just as Jesus liberated mankind from sin and hell, so Hitler saves the German Volk from decay.” In April 1933 the Nazi Congress of German Christians pronounced that all churches should catechize that “God has created me a German; Germanism is a gift of God. God wills that I fight for Germany. War service in no way injures the Christian conscience, but is obedience to God.” When some Protestant bishops visited the Fuhrer to register complaints, Hitler’s rage got the better of him. “Christianity will disappear from Germany just as it has done in Russia . . . The German race has existed without Christianity for thousands of years . . . and will continue after Christianity has disappeared . . . We must get used to the teachings of blood and race.” When the bishops objected that they supported Nazism’s secular aims, just not its religious innovations, Hitler exploded: “You are traitors to the Volk. Enemies of the Vaterland and destroyers of Germany.”

In 1935 mandatory prayer in school was abolished, and in 1938 carols and Nativity plays were banned entirely. By 1941 religious instruction for children fourteen years and up had been abolished altogether, and Jacobinism reigned supreme. A Hitler Youth song rang out from the campfires:
We are the happy Hitler Youth;
We have no need for Christian virtue;
For Adolf Hitler is our intercessor
And our redeemer.
No priest, no evil one
Can keep us
From feeling like Hitler’s children.
No Christ do we follow, but Horst Wessel!
Away with incense and holy water pots.
Meanwhile, the orphans were given new lyrics to “Silent Night”:
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright,
Only the Chancellor steadfast in fight,
Watches o’er Germany
Liberal Fascism on National Review Online

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