Sunday, April 20, 2008

A tale of two stories: Nazis and The Church edition

First, the current Pope (h/t Intermittent Bystander):

The Pope told the crowd his own years as a teenager had been “marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers”.

“Its influence grew, infiltrating schools and civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion, before it was fully recognised for the monster it was,” he said.

“It banished God and thus became impervious to anything true and good.

Except, it didn't (h/t Madman in the Marketplace)

Many American books, television documentaries, and Sunday sermons that preach of Hitler’s “evil” have eliminated Hitler’s god for their Christian audiences, but one only has to read from his own writings to appreciate that Hitler’s God equals the same God of the Christian Bible. Hitler held many hysterical beliefs which not only include, God and Providence but also Fate, Social Darwinism, and ideological politics. He spoke, unashamedly, about God, fanaticism, idealism, dogma, and the power of propaganda. Hitler held strong faith in all his convictions. He justified his fight for the German people and against Jews by using Godly and Biblical reasoning. Indeed, one of his most revealing statements makes this quite clear:

“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

Although Hitler did not practice religion in a churchly sense, he certainly believed in the Bible’s God. Raised as Catholic he went to a monastery school and, interestingly, walked everyday past a stone arch which was carved the monastery’s coat of arms which included a swastika. As a young boy, Hitler’s most ardent goal was to become a priest. Much of his philosophy came from the Bible, and more influentially, from the Christian Social movement. (The German Christian Social movement, remarkably, resembles the Christian Right movement in America today.) Many have questioned Hitler’s stand on Christianity. Although he fought against certain Catholic priests who opposed him for political reasons, his belief in God and country never left him. Many Christians throughout history have opposed Christian priests for various reasons; this does not necessarily make one against one’s own Christian beliefs. Nor did the Vatican’s Pope & bishops ever disown him; in fact they blessed him!

And now you have the rest of the story. Here are a couple pictures from that particularly nasty era (found at Marisacat's place:

Those are priests giving the old Nazi salute in 1933 during a Catholic youth rally.

That picture is from the Concordat between the Vatican and the Nazis, signed in 1933.

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