***99′,’1′,’2010-09-25 23:34:39′,’2010-09-25 23:34:39′,’

 

From a post at VC, I ended up doing a bit of reading on WWII Germany and analyzing some parallels between Nazis and liberals as it refers to the questions of separation of church and state, or concerning other dynamics of religion and politics. Always nice to read about history. How were Nazis like our modern day liberals? Let us count the ways. It’s very amusing at times.

Aside from Hugo Boss outfits ;-), where is the major parallel? Sexuality, especially before 1934. And then if we compare the endorsed culture of violent sexuality that liberals currently have to the dysfunctionally violent culture the Nazis had, which included enormous elements of getting pleasure from doing violence to others, we find a major parallel.But because this subject would have taken us far off thread, although being most interesting, I was asked to stick to religion and the state.

Here is the  issue that started the thread, from Volokh:

From the Republican candidate for the House of Representatives from Delaware, Glen Urquhart (see Raw Story for the video). Urquhart later said, “I didn’t mean to suggest — and I am not suggesting — that people who are liberals are Nazis”; I take it he means that the quote was hyperbole or humor. But the material before the quote seemed pretty straight-faced; here’s what he said:

Do you know, where does this phrase “separation of church and state” come from? … Actually, that exact phrase was not in Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists. He was reassuring them that the federal government wouldn’t trample on their religion. The exact phrase “separation of Church and State” came out of Adolf Hitler’s mouth. That’s where it comes from, so next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of church and state, ask them why they’re Nazis.

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Urquhart is late to the party. All one needs to do is take one look at violent pornography and the proof is in the pudding about liberals being nazis. As several historians have pointed out, all top Nazis were sexually perverted. Nazi violence and sadism is very much like what you see in violent porn, which so many liberals endorse, and which some consume and others participate in or perpetrate as sexuality crimes. As far as Rohm is concerned, many of his ideas intersect what modern “gay” activism proposes.

Liberals who spend countless hours imagining how they are going to sexually torture people have a lot in common with white supremacists and nazis who all loved to imagine the same thing for their respective targets.

This is quite perverse and perverted, no matter which one of the above contexts we examine.

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The first conflict between the German Evangelical Church occurred in 1933, at a meeting of the regional churches, over who the first Reich Bishop would be. The German Christians nominated Muller as their candidate. His opponent was Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, a popular and respected pastor from Westphalia. Protestant leaders were outraged that the unknown Muller was placed on the ballot, and, after several votes, elected Bodelschwingh Reich Bishop by a vote of 91 to 8.

After the election of Bodelschwingh, Hitler appointed August Jager as his expert of Protestant affairs. Jager mounted a heavy police campaign against the Protestant Church, suspending, firing, and arresting a number of pastors. Nazi leaders also undertook a publicity campaign against Bodelschwingh. One month after taking his post, Bodelschwingh resigned.

For the next election, the Nazis openly supported the German Christians, and in many places only German Christians were placed on the ballot. At the national synod to confirm Muller as Reich bishop, the 75 out of 229 delegates who were not German Christians walked out when the synod passed a measure prohibiting pastors or their wives from having Jewish blood.

It was at this point that serious Protestant opposition to Hitler’s government began. The opposition stemmed not from the anti-semitic views expressed by the German Christians, but the interference in Church matters that the Ayran paragraph and poliece pressure signaled. In 1933, the Pastors’ Emergency League formed to help pastors who were arrested or threatened by the police.

There were three primary ideological issues separating the Nazi state and the German Evangelical Church became apparent. The first two, traditional state supremacy over the church and the the trend toward the separation of church and state conflicted with each other, and were a source of conflict within the Protestant opposition to Nazism. The third issue questioned the very legitimacy of the Nazi state.

As resistance to his policies mounted, Hitler began to separate himself from the German Christians. He emphasized the separation between church and state, and took a less active role in intimidating other church groups.

Muller, however continued to serve as Reich Bishop, even as Hitler’s interest in the German Christians waned. In an effort to forestall the collapse of the German Christian Church, Muller declared that all Evangelical youth groups would be incorporated into the Hitler jugend. This created a furor among the opposition, because the Baldur von Shirach, the jugend’s leader, was a declared atheist who placed the State ahead of all else. Muller also ordered the Gestapo to go to churches and monitor what was said.

By the middle of 1934, Protestant opposition to Hitler was well organized, and the German Christian Church became fraught with internal division. Without support from the government, the German Christians and Muller became totally ineffective.

This did not stop Jager from brutally oppressing pastors in Wurttemberg (although the strength of the resistance in Prussia handicapped Jager’s ability to interfere with church operations), and continuing to spread propaganda denouncing the Protestant opposition. A Protestant Kulturkampf was instituted, and throughout Germany, with the exception of Westphalia, opposition was brutally repressed. Pastors were fired, arrested, and jailed.

In October of 1934 Jager was dismissed by Hitler, and all measures against dissenting bishops were annulled. Opposition leaders were summoned to Berlin, and Frick assured them that neutrality was now the official government policy towards the German Evangelical Church. 

http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/hist/jpetropoulos/church/keithpage/protesta.htm

 

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On the separation of church and state — from wiki:

For centuries, monarchs ruled by the idea of divine right, which said the king ruled both Crown and Church, a theory known as caesaropapism. On the other side was the belief that the Pope, as representative of God on earth, should have the ultimate authority over the state.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, there emerged no single powerful secular government in the West, but there was a central ecclesiastical power in Rome, the Christian Church. In this power vacuum, the Church rose to become the dominant power in the West. As the Church expanded beginning in the 10th century, and as secular kingdoms rose in power at the same time, there naturally arose the conditions for a power struggle between Church and Kingdom over ultimate authority.

The conflict between Church and state was in many ways a uniquely Western phenomenon originating in Late Antiquity (see Saint Augustine’s masterpiece City of God (417)). Contrary to Augustinian theology, the Papal States in Italy, today downsized to the State of Vatican, were ruled directly by the Holy See. Moreover, throughout the Middle Ages the Pope claimed the right to depose the Catholic kings of Western Europe and tried to exercise it, sometimes successfully (see the investiture controversy, below), sometimes not, such as was the case with Henry VIII of England and Henry III of Navarre[1]. 

However, in the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as Byzantine, Church and state were separate and collaborated in a “symphony”, with some exceptions (see Iconoclasm). This was unlike the Islamic world, where the two were one and the same. The concept of Church and state at odds would have been very foreign in Islamic society.

The concept of separation of church and state only makes sense in a society that has a church and a state. As I have been remarking for a long time, a secular society is an Islamic society, that is, one where church and state are the same.

Four legs good, two legs better!

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This is also very interesting, concerning religion and Nazi Germany (wiki):

Altogether more Protestants than Catholics left their church, however, overall Protestants and Catholics decided similarly.[16] 

An analysis of this data for the time of the Nazi rule is available in a paper by Sven Granzow et al., published in a collection edited by Götz Aly. 

The number of Kirchenaustritte reached its “historical high”[17] in 1939 when it peaked at 480 000. Granzow et al. see the numbers not only in relation to the Nazi policy towards the churches,[18] (which changed drastically from 1935 onwards) but also as indicator of the trust in the Führer and the Nazi leadership. The decline in the number of people who left the church after 1942 is explained as resulting from a loss of confidence in the future of Nazi Germany. People tended to keep their ties to the church, because they feared an uncertain future

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from a review on Steigmann-Gall’s book:

The “positive Christianity” of such leaders as Goering continued to stress the advantages of a national non-denominational Christianity in such areas as education or social welfare. And even strident anti-clericals such as Goebbels or Streicher supported the idea of an Aryan Christianity as an admirable moral system. The fact that the churches were the only major institutions which did not suffer Gleichschaltung (the enforcement of standardization and the elimination of all opposition within the political, economic, and cultural institutions of a state ) shows, in Steigmann-Gall’s view, “the fundamentally positive attitude of the Nazi state toward at least the Protestant Church as a whole.” For this reason, in 1934 Hitler refused to back the radicals and in 1935 appointed an old crony and primitive Protestant, Hanns Kerrl, to be Minister of Church Affairs. The kind of Christianity Kerrl affirmed was proclaimed in his speeches: “Adolf Hitler has hammered the faith and fact of Jesus into the hearts of the German Volk…. True Christianity and National Socialism are identical.” But Kerrl, who was appointed to co-ordinate the rival Protestant factions, failed. Thereupon, Steigmann-Gall notes, Hitler turned against the churches and abandoned institutional Protestantism once and for all. But even so, according to one source, he still adhered to his original ideas and was of the opinion that “Church and Christianity are not identical” (p. 188). 

Steigmann-Gall is perfectly right to point out that there never was a consensus among the leading Nazis about the relationship between the Party and Christianity. As Baldur von Schirach later commented: “Of all the leading men in the Party whom I knew, everyone interpreted the party program differently […] Rosenberg mystically, Goering and some others in a certain sense Christian” (p. 232). Ambiguities and contradictions were numerous.[1] Over the years hostility grew despite a lingering desire to uphold an ongoing Christian element, combining antisemitism and nationalism in some kind of positive assessment.

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“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State”

On the other hand, there is the whole question of belief and behavior. If one is prohibited from living out their beliefs, even though their are “allowed” to have the beliefs themselves, the exercise of religion is stifled, and no different that Jews having to outwardly convert to Christianity during the Middle Ages.

And given that people’s lives are ruled by many more institutions than only the governmental ones, this partial separation of church and state stipulated by the First Amendment can become totally and increasingly meaningless in a secular state.

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This is also interesting:

In Nazi Germany, all known political dissenters were imprisoned, and some German priests were sent to the concentration camps for their opposition, including the pastor of Berlin’s Catholic Cathedral Bernhard Lichtenberg and the seminarian Karl Leisner. Hitler was never excommunicated by the Catholic Church and several Catholic bishops in Germany or Austria are recorded as encouraging prayers of support for “The Führer”; this despite the fact the original Reichskonkordat (1933) of Germany with the Holy See proscribed any active political participation by the priesthood.

Criticism also arose in that the Vatican pontificate headed by Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII had remained circumspect about the national-scale race hatred before 1937 (Mit brennender Sorge). In 1937, just before the publishing of the anti-Nazi encyclical, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli in Lourdes, France condemned discrimination against Jews and the neopaganism of the Nazi régime. A statement by Pius XI on 8 September 1938 spoke of the “inadmissibility” of anti-semitism, but Pius XII is criticised by people like John Cornwell for being unspecific. Pius XI may have underestimated the degree that Hitler’s ideas influenced the laity in light of hopes the Concordat would preserve Catholic influences among them. The evolution of the Vatican’s understanding has faced criticism of weakness, slowness, or even culpability. On culpability this is perhaps clearest with regards to the German hierarchy as after the Concordat there was a radical reversal of the former episcopal condemnation of Nazism, according to Daniel Goldhagen and others. It is less certain in other cases. From the other extreme the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the Netherlands officially and formally condemned Nazism in 1941 and therefore faced violence and deportation of its priests, along with attacks upon monasteries and Catholic hospitals, and, the deportation of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz, who were hiding in the Catholic institutions, among them the famous Saint Edith Stein. Likewise, the Polish Roman Catholic hierarchy was violently attacked by the Nazis and saw thousands of its clerics sent to concentration camps or simply killed, a famous example of this being Father Maksymilian Kolbe. Most nations’ hierarchy took a mixture of the two positions, oscillating between collaboration and active resistance.

Tangential to the more extreme of collaborationist accusations is the characterisation that Nazism actively based itself on a similar pontifical structure and corps of functionaries. For example the special clothing, ghettoization, and badges demanded of Jews were once common or even began in the Papal States. Also that the Nazis saw themselves as an effective replacement of Catholicism that would co-opt its unity and respect for hierarchy. Hence attempts were made to unite other religions, as in the earlier example of the Protestant Reich Church.

In 1941 the Nazi authorities decreed the dissolution of all monasteries and abbeys in the German Reich, many of them effectively being occupied and secularized by the Allgemeine SS under Himmler. However, on July 30, 1941 the Aktion Klostersturm (Operation Monastery) was put to an end by a decree of Hitler, who feared the increasing protests by the Catholic part of German population might result in passive rebellions and thereby harm the Nazi war effort at the eastern front.

First comment: one of the most glaring practices in popular discourse today when naming the persecuted victims of the Nazis, especially when pointing out those who were sent to concentration camps, is to name: Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals. I can’t recall any example in my experience where a liberal (who was not an academic talking about this subject) said that Hitler was horrible because he sent Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and priests to the camps. It’s clear that the priest victims as targets of Nazi persecution have been largely erased from popular discourse, especially as symbols of victimhood. 

Second comment: one non-sexuality related similarity between Nazism and liberalism, as pointed out above, is that both see each other as an effective replacement of Catholicism, although the issue of authority and hierarchy presents more differences. Liberals obviously are not a dictatorship, but evidently function through a variety of strict hierarchies where institutions are concerned. This is not to mean that they shouldn’t, but just that they do.

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In 1941, Martin Bormann, a close associate of Hitler said publicly “National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable”.[51] In 1942 he also declared in a confidential memo to Gauleiters that the Christian Churches ‘must absolutely and finally be broken.’ Thus it is evident that he believed Nazism, based as it was on a ‘scientific’ world-view, to be completely incompatible with Christianity.[52]

When we [National Socialists] speak of belief in God, we do not mean, like the naive Christians and their spiritual exploiters, a man-like being sitting around somewhere in the universe. The force governed by natural law by which all these countless planets move in the universe, we call omnipotence or God. The assertion that this universal force can trouble itself about the destiny of each individual being, every smallest earthly bacillus, can be influenced by so-called prayers or other surprising things, depends upon a requisite dose of naivety or else upon shameless professional self-interest 

And this is even more clearly on target concerning another similarity between liberals and Nazis. How funny.

If I had omitted who the quote was by and who the “we” referred to above (national socialists), anyone today would have sworn this was a liberal speaking. 

“From the mid 1930s, anti-Christian elements within the Nazi party became more prominent — they were restrained by Hitler, who thought religion would die by itself as science advanced”

In some ways he was right, especially if we consider certain religions in certain countries. But science is only a partial factor in the demise of religion in the last 50 or 100 years. 

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The bonds between Hitler and his ‘following’ (at different levels of regime
and society) are vital [to be examined] here. A constant theme of my writing on Hitler and National Socialism has been to suggest that they are best grasped through Max Weber’s quasi-religious concept of ‘charismatic authority’, in which irrational hopes and expectations of salvation are projected onto an individual, who is thereby invested with heroic qualities. Hitler’s ‘charismatic leadership’ offered the prospect of national salvation

Another interesting parallel relates to what is pointed out above by Ian Kershaw, in his article, “Hitler and the Uniqueness of Nazism.” I think this feature described by Kershaw has been salient in a few American presidential elections, starting with Clinton, and certainly being repeated with Obama. And here I am speaking of the expectation of national salvation, not individual or spiritual salvation. 

More recently, with Obama, evidently because so many hopes and expectations by liberal voters were exaggerated in nature or even completely irrational, the disillusionment set in quickly when reality started to bite, and this is partially occurring now in the US. What’s interesting with Germany though, is that the momentum for the growth of these exaggerated and irrational expectations of national salvation, and subsequently world domination, only intensified as time went by.

In any case, as so many people have pointed out, the construction and continuous cult-like promotion of a presidential charismatic leader has a religious dynamics to it. So one more parallel between modern US liberals and Germany, intersecting politics, the state, and religion.

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Another parallel between the Nazis and current liberals can also be seen here, when we analyze this speech from Hitler in 1933, compared to the actions he took shortly afterwards towards churches and religion. This speech was given before the Reichstag on March 23, 1933, just before the Enabling Act was passed. The latter was the second major step, after the Reichstag Fire Decree, through which Chancellor Adolf Hitler legally obtained plenary powers and established his dictatorship.

The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society. It will observe the agreements drawn up between the Churches and the provinces; their rights will not be touched. The Government, however, hopes and expects that the task of national and ethical renewal of our people, which it has set itself, will receive the same respect by the other side. The Government will treat all other denominations with objective and impartial justice. It cannot, however, tolerate allowing membership of a certain denomination or of a certain race being used as a release from all common legal obligations, or as a blank cheque for unpunishable behavior, or for the toleration of crimes. [The national Government will allow and confirm to the Christian denominations the enjoyment of their due influence in schools and education.] And it will be concerned for the sincere cooperation between Church and State. The struggle against the materialistic ideology and for the erection of a true people’s community (Volksgemeinschaft) serves as much the interests of the German nation as of our Christian faith. …The national Government, seeing in Christianity the unshakable foundation of the moral and ethical life of our people, attaches utmost importance to the cultivation and maintenance of the friendliest relations with the Holy See. …The rights of the churches will not be curtailed; their position in relation to the State will not be changed

Heh. And only a few years later they basically launched a vicious blitz attack on religious institutions, with the objective of practically annihilating them as institutions, and persecuting thousands of their institutional members.

Obviously liberals have not yet started sending clergy to concentration camps 😉 But they are increasingly moving to destroy the right to religion in any institution which is not specifically religious. Thus we can effectively speak of a ghettoization of religion, more than separation. And as usual, liberals have been stating that they respect the freedom and the rights of others, only to turn around a little while later and savagely usurp these very rights or deny non-liberals their most basic civil and moral rights, in cases where someone does not follow liberal dictatorial ideological views. Furthermore, another parallel exists between liberals and Nazis, since it is not that liberals are only opposed to religious lifestyle paradigms, any non-religious ideology that does not conform to their liberal views must be preferably stamped out, especially in an institutional context. 

Thus, by reading about Germany, we can learn that one can trust Nazis as much as one can trust liberals when either speak of civil rights and their “commitment” to upholding equal rights for all.

And we can also observe that even in religious institutions and their affiliated or derived organizations, liberals have imposed their liberal dogmas and practices concerning a variety of issues, simultaneously stifling the exercise of non-liberal paradigms.

 

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