There's no better way to stir up the hornet's nest than to write about the Holocaust, Nazis, and religion in a political forum. I am compelled to write this, knowing it's probably going to end up with me being painfully stung over and over. As I was told by my oral surgeon when I was fifteen, just before he jammed a stick tipped with silver nitrate into a surgical wound in my palette, "life's a b**ch."
Over 80 years ago, the Nazi regime perpetrated the greatest frame-up in history. They conspired to, and nearly succeeded in, eliminating all the Jews in the world, and blamed the crime on Christianity. Christianity has repeatedly been charged, convicted, and sentenced for this crime, even today.
Last night began Israel's observance of "Yom HaShoah", the day of remembrance of the Holocaust. Today Israel sounded its air raid sirens nationwide, stopping, literally, everything. Cars pull over to the side of the road. Pedestrians stop. Busses stop. Everyone gets out, into the streets, and bows their heads for two minutes. There's nothing like it in the USA. It's a yearly reminder of Israel's deeply ingrained national identity and intimate connection to the Holocaust. Israel supports the largest concentration of living Holocaust survivors, roughly 50% of the half-million or so remaining. About 127,000 live in the United States.
This is likely the last generation who will have these first-hand witnesses with us. Even a baby born in 1945 who was interred at a ghetto would be turning 69 this year. Most survivors are in their 80's and 90's.
In Israel, it is taught that the Holocaust was the logical working out of Christian anti-semitism. Yad Vashem, the Israeli national Holocaust remembrance organization, publishes on its website:
Hatred of the Jews had long been entrenched in Europe. The image of the Jew as the murderer of Jesus and the fact that Jews had rejected Christianity’s embrace led to widespread hatred and suspicion. Jews in Christendom were humiliated, banished from their places of residence, forced to wear identifying marks, and confined to separate residential quarters. They were portrayed as offspring of the Devil and accused of the ritual murder of Christian children, yet the Church prevented their destruction.
Although this is historically true, it doesn't recognize the Satanic roots of Jew-hatred and the hijacking of Germany as a Christian country by progressive ideas which denuded Christianity into a purely social Gospel. The Berlin Declaration of 1909 denounced Pentecostalism and moves of the Holy Spirit, killing that movement in Germany, which in the United States became the Assemblies of God (along with the Church of God and other Pentecostal denominations). The era of enlightened philosophical and intellectual freedom present in Germany, along with the devastation of the loss of WWI, and the rejection of the ruling aristocracy, was fertile soil for pagan ideology.
Hitler was, above all, a pragmatist. He determined what his audience (whichever audience he was addressing) wanted to hear, and spoke those words. He rarely spoke his real intentions publicly, unless he was addressing his closest circle. In fact, the 1920 NSDAP Party Program (their platform) centered around such lofty ideas as self-determination, equal rights and obligations, welfare, profit and wealth distribution, access to education, and freedom of religion, with a viewpoint of "positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any denomination."
This intentional ambiguity allowed the Nazis to cherry-pick the ministers and clergy with whom they agreed, and label the rest as troublemakers, who oppose progress. They were thereby able to effectively silence those elements of the Church who disagreed with the draconian anti-immigration, suppressive press restrictions, and elevation of the "German people" as a race above all other citizens.
It also planted the seeds of the massive frame-up in history's garden. Germany was historically a Christian nation, and the people were a hard working, church-going, moral society. But that society was based on a group of presuppositions which were snatched by the pagan Nazi leaders and used to lead that nation into collective savagery.
The Nazi party was formed, led, and guided by pagan principles, starting with Guido Von List and his List Society (known as the HAO), of which Himmler was a devotee, to Sebottendorff and his worship of runic gods*:
In the place of our princes of Germanic blood rules our deadly enemy: Judah.. . . As long as I hold the iron hammer [a reference to his Master's hammer], I am determined to pledge the Thule to this struggle. Our Order is a Germanic Order, loyalty is also Germanic. Our god is Walvater, his rune is the Ar-rune. And the trinity: Wotan, Wili, We is the unity of the trinity. The Ar-rune signifies Aryan, primal fire, the sun and the eagle. And the eagle is the symbol of the Aryans. In order to depict the eagle's capacity for selfimmolation by fire, it is coloured red. From today on our symbol is the red eagle, which warns us that we must die in order to live.]
Ever the pragmatist, Hitler publicly renounced these pagan beliefs, and used Christianity as his lever to move the German people to his will. Granted, he had plenty of ammunition in the anti-Semitic ravings of Martin Luther written from his deathbed. These were selected over Luther's work to befriend the Jews and show them the love of Christ earlier in his ministry. Of course, the Jews were suspicious of him, and eventually rejected him, leading him to his bitter rants.
The suspicious nature of Jews regarding the aims and goals of Christians is well earned. The church has, over the millennia, stained its hands with Jewish blood**. This was true 75 years ago and it's true today.
Christians, especially conservative, evangelical, American Christians, must repent of treating the Jews like a tool of the liberals. Even against their own best interests and the interests of Israel, American Jews feel a deep distrust of all things Christian, even those who extend the hand of friendship. This continually drives them into the less strident, progressive liberal camp, where they are welcomed without the fear of being proselytized. One day, Jews will accept the truth about the Holocaust, but that will require time and healing.
While we wait and pray for this reconciliation, we must realize that the Nazis framed Christianity, and we are still doing time for the crime.
The lesson is that we cannot, and must not allow, Christianity to be stripped into a purely social Gospel. Hillary Clinton's keynote address to her denomination, the United Methodist Church, stepped into this exact trap. Following President Obama, arguably the least religious president in history, Clinton's viewpoint is dangerous, even catastrophic, for our culture, which is dangerously far from Biblical truth. Nature abhors a vacuum, and will fill the vacuum with any idea that takes hold.
As Malcolm Muggeridge famously wrote:
One of the peculiar sins of the twentieth century which we've developed to a very high level is the sin of credulity. It has been said that when human beings stop believing in God they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse: they believe in anything.
The Nazis used this sin to perpetrate the greatest evil in the 20th century, and blame it on Christianity.
[Disclosure: I am a Jew who follows Messiah. I have experienced both the deep suspicion, the blaming of Christians for calling Jews "Christ-killers", and also the redemptive awakening as I repented of those biases. It is possible, one soul at a time]
*I recommend a short book "The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and their influence on Nazi ideology" (2005) by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, and I quoted from that work.
**Please read Dr. Michael Brown's book "Our Hands are Stained With Blood" as an excellent source about the church's oppression of Jews.