Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another Thing Hitler Was Not, a Secularist

Right wingers are notoriously deluded when it comes to history, or facts of any kind. Hitler and the Nazis seem to be a favorite source of ad hominem and guilt by association type attacks. Conservatives, especially the religious right, have for years tried to portray secularism as an invention of Hitler and the Nazis. Below are just two examples of this false idea:

"Next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State ask them why they're Nazis."

"Did it turn out that by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America? I don't think so." Associated Press 11/23/2004
Antonin Scalia 

The problem is that history clearly indicates the exact opposite to be true. Not only does the concept of separation of church and state go back to the founding fathers of our country it also predates even them.
Ironically, the Bible itself contains passages that allude to the basic idea (Matthew 22:21, Matthew 6:5-6, among others). It is also a problem since Hitler actively sought the merger of religion with his government. His own writings and speeches are laced with religious ideas and he states in more than one place in Mein Kampf that no government can be successful or be seen as legitimate without God. Below is a rather telling quotation from Hitler's Germany:

"A state that once again rules in God's name can count not only on our applause but also on enthusiastic and active cooperation from the church. With joy and thanks we see how this new state rejects blasphemy, attacks immorality, promotes discipline and order with a firm hand, demands awe before God, works to keep marriage sacred and our youth spiritually instructed, brings honor back to fathers of families, ensures that love of people and fatherland is no longer mocked, but burns in a thousand hearts. ...We can only plead with our fellow worshipers to do an they can to help these new productive forces in our land reach a complete and unimpeded victory."
Easter Sunday Blessing from Protestant Pastors in Bavaria, April 16, 1933 

Whatever else Hitler may have been he was definitely not an atheist or a secularist.

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