Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Big Lie about Nazism and Christianity

"The Big Lie" is a phrase we get from the Nazis and their use of propaganda.

There is a Big Lie out there now. This Big Lie is told by *some* capital A Atheists and others who have a problem with Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular. This Big Lie is that, in some way, shape, or form, Nazism = Christianity. The equivalence is rarely stated that starkly. This Big Lie is expressed in various ways.

One way to express this Big Lie is to say that the Nazis were inspired by Christianity. Another way to express this Big Lie is to say that the Nazis owe their success to Christianity. Another way to express this Big Lie is that Christianity is responsible for those killed by the Nazis.

This Big Lie is spoken in lectures delivered by college professors. This Big Lie is typed on internet discussion boards. This Big Lie appears in well-received books written by Atheist superstars.

The Nazis were a great evil. It behooves us to understand them, and to tell the truth about them. They didn't spring up overnight. They had their roots in Western Civilization. We make the world a better place by understanding Nazism, and telling the truth about it.

Nazism's intellectual foundations and inspirations were atheism, scientism, Darwinism, nationalism, and neo-Paganism. All of these movements left explicit documents stating exactly what they believed, and the implications of those beliefs. Before Hitler, authors and movements as diverse as Herder, the Grimms, Wagner, the HAKATA, Kulturkampf, scientific racism, eugenics, Lothrop Stoddard, and Madison Grant left their documentary trail. The Nazis themselves stated what inspired them, what justified their actions, and what their future plans were. You can read more about that here.

The Nazis' goal was to eliminate Christianity. You can read more about that here.

Recently, I had written to Steven Pinker, author of "The Better Angels of Our Nature," about his book's treatment of Friedrich Spee, a heroic Catholic priest who helped to end the unjust persecution of alleged witches in early modern Europe. You can read more about that email here.

Dr. Pinker wrote back promptly and politely. He mentioned that in his book "Better Angels," he talked about Nazism and Christianity.

In "Better Angels," Dr. Pinker wrote "many of the Nazi elite melded Nazism with German Christianity in a syncretic faith…Many Christian clerics and their flocks were all too happy to sign up, finding common cause with the Nazis."

I find this statement to be very misleading, to the point of revisionism. I do appreciate Dr. Pinker's always responding to me with courtesy and promptness. I do totally disagree with what he has written here.

I mentioned my frustrations on Facebook.

Linda, a Facebook friend who is a college professor and an atheist, mentioned a new book, "God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican" by Gerald Posner.

Here's a quote from the most popular review of "God's Bankers" on Amazon: "
The narrative is skillfully knotted with loads of scenes of the times, from little Jewish boys kidnapped by popes, into the shadows of the Vatican alliance with the Third Reich, to Jews loaded onto boxcars under clergy noses…Most of us know the German Concordant allied the Vatican with Nazi Germany."

Peter Sean Bradley, an attorney, blogger, Facebook friend, and prolific Amazon reviewer, joined in the Facebook conversation. Peter mentioned an interesting phenomenon about the Big Lie that Nazism = some version of Christianity. Many people have noticed this same phenomenon.

If you read contemporary documents from the WW II era, you read about Christians, especially Catholics, being persecuted by Nazis, denouncing Nazis, and resisting Nazis.

If you read documents from recent years, suddenly Christianity becomes Nazism's best friend. Peter put it this way, "the understanding of National Socialism has shifted, essentially obliterating the lived experience of people at the time."

Peter also mentioned Kulturkampf, a German, nineteenth century, anti-Catholic movement. In other words, Germany had a history of significant anti-Catholicism. Peter pointed out that that history should be mentioned in histories of the Holocaust.

A brief summary of the impact of Kulturkampf from Wikipedia, "Priests and bishops who resisted the Kulturkampf were arrested or removed from their positions. By the height of anti-Catholic legislation, half of the Prussian bishops were in prison or in exile, a quarter of the parishes had no priest, half the monks and nuns had left Prussia, a third of the monasteries and convents were closed, 1800 parish priests were imprisoned or exiled, and thousands of laypeople were imprisoned for helping the priests."

Of course Poles are and were majority Catholic. Poles were a special target of the Kulturkampf. They were also a special target of the Nazis. This history is often ignored.

This looks like historical revisionism.

One could argue that new material has come to light since the war proving the friendly relationship between Nazism and Christianity. That doesn't seem to be the case, though. Rather, this revisionism appears to be ideologically motivated.

Don't like Christianity? Don't want to debate it on its own terms? Then equate Christianity with the worst monsters you can – Nazis.

Peter and I posted several screen shots of news reports contemporary with the Nazi era. In these news reports, one reads of Nazis persecuting Christians, one reads of Christian leaders denouncing Nazism, and one reads of observers noting the hostility Nazism expressed for Christianity.

Some of these documents are below.

I also mentioned the Jehovah's Witness, AKA Watch Tower Society, letter of June 25, 1933, written by Watch Tower president Joseph F. Rutherford. In this "Declaration of Facts," Rutherford identified Jews and Catholics as the primary critics of Nazi Germany.

The Declaration of Facts is noteworthy for this reason. The Jehovah's Witnesses were not Catholic and they identified Catholics as Nazi Germany's major critics, alongside Jews.

Neither Peter nor I are professionals historians. We haven't dedicated our lives to righting the Big Lie about Nazism and Christianity. The clips below are merely some clips we found during a Facebook discussion.

I can't cause truth to triumph. I can chip away, in however small a manner that I can, at the Big Lie.

Read more about Father Piotr Sosnowski here

A Nazi propaganda poster depicting Nazism eradicating the black international -- Catholicism -- and the red international -- communism. 

taken from longer article, below

I have just stumbled across a bibliography on the web that purports to list thousands of such articles. I have not read this entire page. Please examine it for yourself. You can find it under the title "Thus Spoke Pius XII" here.
Further, Peter dipped into the Posner book. Peter posted excerpts with commentary on what Posner got wrong or misrepresented. For example, Peter wrote,

"This is from the Posner book:

'Heir’s charge kicked off a frenzy of reporting about the long-forgotten alliance between the church and the Nazi-puppet government in Croatia. Some commentators used it to reevaluate Pope John Paul’s controversial decision the previous year to be the first Pontiff to pray at the tomb of Alojzije Stepinac, Zagreb’s wartime cardinal. Stepinac had led the Croatian church during the war and was later convicted of war crimes.'

This is a major reveal. [Peter is speaking sarcastically here.]

Stepinac has been slandered for years without justification. I've posted the NYT article where Stepinac condemned anti-semitism. Stepinac also condemned force conversions. He was convicted by Tito in what everyone knows was a travesty of justice as part of Tito's efforts to destroy Catholicism in Yugoslavia. What kind of judgment is demonstrated by someone who would so casually pass off a conviction by totalitarian Communists as if it represented a just and truthful decision?"


  1. Hi, Danusha, I just want to make clear again that I agree with most of your points in this blog post and in your posts on Facebook about this topic. What you say about me I have to respectfully correct, though. I did not (and never will) equate Christianity or Catholicism with Nazism! I cited the Posner book in the context of your critique of Pinker's contentions about the Catholic Church as an institution that had a relationship with the Nazi government because Posner's book is a study of the Vatican bank's financial activities with the Nazis. Posner (who is a Catholic himself, by the way) believes that some of these financial connections were very regrettable, in light of the Church's opposition to Nazism in so many other contexts. Do you think that Posner's claim that these activities happened is false? And do you think that Posner is lying about these activities in a way that contributes to the "Big Lie"? Your friend, Linda

    1. Hi, Linda, as I mentioned to you in a previous message, I changed the blog to reflect your comment here. I hope it is more representational of your contribution to the conversation we had earlier.

  2. The equation of Catholicism and Nazism is hardly limited to anti-Catholics and atheists.

    I have read and reviewed many books dealing with the Holocaust, and find the juxtaposition of Catholicism and Nazism, in some form, almost a standard occurrence.

  3. Darwinism is one of the causes of Nazism and the enemy of Catholicism? You didn't mention that the Catholic Church changed its attitude towards the proven evidence of evolution a long time ago. You make Catholics seem ignorant and backward about science. Not something the church needs right now.


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