Adolf Hitler seems to be making a political comeback of sorts: in the past several years, conservative politicians, media personalities and Baptists have increasingly invoked the Führer’s name in denouncing their opponents.
In 2009, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, caused an uproar when he denounced Health Care reform by accusing President Barack Obama and congressional Democratic leaders of attempting to do "precisely what the Nazis did."
In 2010, Delaware Republican Glen Urquhart blamed Hitler for church state separation: "Do you know, where does this phrase 'separation of church and state' come from? It was not in
Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich (current Republican presidential candidate) in 2010 declared Obama, Democrats and liberalism (lumped together as the “secular socialist machine”) "as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did." In addition, media superstars Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have repeatedly equated Obama to Hitler.
This month, Timothy George, dean of
Also this month, popular conservative evangelical author Andy Andrews released a new volume entitled, How do You Kill 11 Million People? Andrews equates the current political climate in
Historically, the growing conservative rage against perceived Hitler-like opponents is a bit strange. During the 1930s and early 1940s, many political conservatives in
Strange also is the argument that the 1934 Barmen Declaration, authored by a theologian whom modern Christian conservative consider to be a liberal, is a reflection of the 21st century agenda of the Religious Right. The Barmen declaration was a statement against church state entanglement, a position that
In a 1933 radio speech, Adolf Hitler publicly stated his intention to elevate “Christianity as the basis of our [
Hitler’s view of the family was that women must be subject to their husbands. In a 1934 speech to the National Socialist Women’s League he declared, "If the man's world is said to be the State . . . her world is her husband, her family, her children and her home . . . What the man gives in courage on the battlefield, the woman gives in eternal self-sacrifice, in eternal pain and suffering. Every child that a woman brings into the world is a battle, a battle waged for the existence of her people.... It is not true ... that respect depends on the overlapping of the spheres of activity of the sexes; this respect demands that neither sex should try to do that which belongs to the sphere of the other."
Of abortion, Adolf Hitler declared: "Nazi ideals demand that the practice of abortion ... shall be exterminated with a strong hand. Women inflamed by Marxist propaganda claim the right to bear children only when they desire.” He also insisted that "the use of contraceptives [by Aryan women] means a violation of nature, a degradation of womanhood, motherhood, and love." In the 1930s, the Nazis outlawed contraceptives and closed all birth control clinics. In 1943, as the Nazis were seeking to conquer
As to homosexuality, in the early 1930s the Nazi Party began a systematic campaign of imprisoning and/or killing all homosexuals in
The Nazi Party’s status as
In short, not only did America’s early Religious Right applaud Hitler and Nazism, but today’s Religious Right seems (albeit not intentionally) to be following the same playbook that the Nazi Party utilized in order to establish (in Hitler’s words) “Christianity as the basis of our morality”: force women to be subjugated to men, criminalize abortion providers and eradicate the practice of abortion, and persecute homosexuals.
Fortunately, today’s rhetoric is not as strident as the Religious Right agenda of