And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on the fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. -James 3:6
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. -Romans 3:23
But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. -Psalm 81:11-12
There are a couple of things I've seen recently that have greatly troubled me. I've seen both of these things before, but in my recent revisits, they carried a heavier weight. A few days ago I grabbed my copy of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampffrom the shelf, wiped off the dust, and started reading it again. Considering the fact that so many have been so quick to label one another as "Hitler" or "Nazi" over the last several years, I figured I would revisit the book with this in mind. Who really is most ideologically in line with Adolf Hitler and his party? (If anyone is interested, the book can be read for free in its entirety here. I find it important, if we're going to throw his name around, to be familiar with his ideology as he himself described it.)
But before I drop any lengthy passages from that tome, I want to share a couple of passages from other works. I recently saw something from a refugee from Nazi Germany. His name is Fritz Stern and the book quoted from is The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of Germanic Ideology. The following is take from page xx of the Introduction of the book, accessible from the above link.
The ideologists of the conservative revolution superimposed a vision of national redemption upon their dissatisfaction with liberal culture and with the loss of authoritative faith. They posed as the true champions of nationalism, and berated the socialists for their internationalism, and the liberals for their pacifism and their indifference to national greatness.
Another interesting quote comes from Richard J. Evans in the first of his three-volume history of Nazi Germany.
The Nazis moved with the approval of conservatives and Catholics alike to destroy every branch of Weimar Germany's lively and intricately interconnected cogeries of pressure-groups for sexual freedom, the reform of the abortion law, the decriminalization of homosexuality, the public dispensing of contraceptive advice and anything else that they thought was contributing to the continued decline of the German birth rate. -Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, page 376. (I don't believe the quote is accessible from the link, but the book can be previewed.)
These two quotations suggest that the Holocaust may have been less about Jews and more about political ideologies, such as nationalism, purity, anti-communism, etc. Perhaps the Jew became a target because of his liberal political tendencies.
But what did Hitler say about it? What led him to take the stand that he ultimately took? Those who have accepted the not-so-likely story behind The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party may not be interested in what Hitler said. He was a bad guy, which means he must be a pathological liar as well, right? I would tend to disagree with that sentiment. While much of his ideology is horrendous, he comes off in his book as surprisingly honest. Since I've read the book before, I wasn't very surprised when I read the following again in 'Chapter II: Years of Study and Suffering in Vienna':
I gradually became aware that the Social Democratic Press was directed predominantly by Jews; yet I did not attribute any special significance to this circumstance, since conditions were exactly the same in the other papers. Yet one fact seemed conspicuous: there was not one paper with Jews working on it which could have been regarded as truly national according to my education and way of thinking.
I swallowed my disgust and tried to read this type of Marxist press production, but my revulsion became so unlimited in so doing that I endeavored to become more closely acquainted with the men who manufactured these compendiums of knavery.
From the publisher down, they were all Jews.
I took all the Social Democratic pamphlets I could lay hands on and sought the names of their authors: Jews. I noted the names of the leaders; by far the greatest part were likewise members of the 'chosen people,' whether they were representatives in the Reichsrat or trade-union secretaries, the heads of organizations or street agitators. It was always the same gruesome picture. The names of the Austerlitzes, Davids, Adlers, Ellenbogens, etc., will remain forever graven in my memory. One thing had grown dear to me: the party with whose petty representatives I had been carrying on the most violent struggles for months was, as to leadership, almost exclusively in the hands of a foreign people; for, to my deep and joyful satisfaction, I had at last come to the conclusion that the Jew was no German.
Only now did I become thoroughly acquainted with the seducer of our people.
Prior to this "revelation" that Hitler documents, he describes how he was always sympathetic toward the Jews. He was opposed to the hatred thrown at them by the parties and presses of the right. But as his rocky love affair with the Social Democrats faltered, as he became convinced of their political impotence and their insistence upon destroying Germany, he paid closer attention. It would seem that Hitler's hatred of Jews was without cause, however illogical that cause may be. His hatred of the Jews stemmed from a hatred of Marxist ideology and what it was threatening to do to Germany.
In Germany, during the Weimar Republic, there existed intense economic woes (which are also present, albeit to a lesser degree, in America); there was a threat of a very heavy shift toward Marxism (which is also present, albeit to a lesser degree, in America); there was a crushing of national pride (which is also present, albeit to a lesser degree, in America); there was a focus on internationalism (which is also present in America); there were concerns about national and moral purity (which are also present in America); there were concerns about the declining birth rate of a particular demographic (which is also present in America); the Church served a deplorable role in stoking the fears of the nation regarding these things (which is also present in America); there were fingers pointed at shadowy figures, elitists, terrorists, whose hands were red with the blood of the nation (which is also present in America); etc.
There are many that wonder how the Church could have possibly been on board with the agenda of the Nazi Party and its slaughter of millions of human beings. It's simple, really. He invoked the religious spirits that attach so easily to those in the Church to spark extreme indignation about the state of the nation. He couched his language in terms of defense: the Nazis weren't actually slaughtering or murdering Jews or Communists or Gypsies or homosexuals--they were merelydefending themselves against them. And, most importantly, he invoked God as the stamp of approval upon his agenda.
Also from chapter two of his book:
As I delved more deeply into the teachings of Marxism and thus in tranquil clarity submitted the deeds of the Jewish people to contemplation, Fate itself gave me its answer.
The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the aristocratic principle of Nature and replaces the eternal privilege of power and strength by the mass of numbers and their dead weight. Thus it denies the personality in man, contests the significance of nationality and race, and thereby withdraws from humanity the premise of its existence and culture. As a foundation of the universe, this doctrine would bring about the end of any order intellectually conceivable to man. And as, in this greatest of all intellectual organisms, the result of an application of such a law could only be chaos, on earth it could only be destruction for the inhabitants of this planet.
If, with the help of the Marxist creed, the Jew is victorious over the other peoples of the world, his crown will be the funeral wreath of humanity and this planet will, as it did thousands of years ago, move through the ether devoid of men.
Eternal nature inexorably avenges the infringement of her commands.
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. -emphasis mine
Prior to the rise of the Third Reich, Germany was crumbling. It was a powerful nation in its last throes. Many were desperate to keep it from falling, even though such is what history has proven of nations and their power: they rise and fall. They blamed Marxism for the various aspects of this destruction; and they blamed Jews for being the manipulators behind this doctrine--thus Jews were guilty for the fall of Germany. They found a movement generally and a people specifically to blame. In so doing, they found their enemies, Germany's aggressors. They decided to defend themselves against the enemies within their own borders.
Today in America, it is quite possible that our nation is in its last throes when it comes to being the primary world power. We've found a source of the blame: pacifistic, internationalist, morally corrupt Marxism. The Marxists in our country have enabled another enemy to infiltrate. It seems the two are bedfellows: Marxists and Muslims. Ideologically, they make strange and contradictory bedfellows, but they aren't really in it together. That's not the point. The Marxists want to push their internationalist agenda of acceptance and the Muslims are more than happy to take advantage. We've found our enemies, America's aggressors. And there is much talk of defending ourselves against the enemies within our own borders.
Much of our rhetoric is frighteningly similar to that of the parties of the right in the buildup to the powergrab by the Nazis in Germany. The Church was a colossal failure then; how can we be so sure that Church can't be a colossal failure now?
I hope this isn't too foreign. I hope I don't have to spell out the connections in more detail. They are very striking, but I hope we can be honest enough with ourselves to say that our rhetoric is getting dangerous.
It doesn't take long for seemingly innocent and concerned "observations" to escape our control. I doubt that the Church in Germany realized that its expressed approval of Hitler's agenda was wrong because, after all, it was right. The Church had to defend itself against the enemy of the Lord, right? Of course they believed that what they were doing was the right thing to do. It all blew up so quickly that no one really had time to contemplate whether what they were doing may have been wrong. They believed the rhetoric, they believed they knew their enemy, and they did as they were told in accord with their beliefs. (There is an interesting study that is sobering in its implications of what otherwise good people are willing to do each other.)
I pray that God will grant us grace, that he will open our eyes to the power of our tongues. I pray he will stop our rhetoric in its tracks. I pray that he will reintroduce us to our first love. I pray our words would shine the light of Christ. I pray that we would pray for our perceived enemies instead of hate them. (We can say we don't hate all we want, but the hatred is very clear to see if we are honest with ourselves.) I pray that God would show us others as he sees them. After all, at worst, they are merely wayward brothers and sisters. Even if they do destory America, even if they do kill us, at worst they are merely wayward brothers and sisters.
Alas, it may just be that the words of psalmist are just now catching up with America. Perhaps we've been given up to our own lusts. Perhaps we're just walking in our own counsels when it comes to this. Is the Church in America going to repeat the mistake of the Church in Germany?
I'm not very hopeful, but I continue to pray for hope.
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