• The FFRF is wrong

    I finally have some time to comment on this.  Bias declared: I have been unimpressed by the FFRF ever since I saw this vid, but please bear with me.

    Let me start with where the FFRF is strongest: it is a standing disgrace that the other victims of the Holocaust are ignored.  That, however, makes the opposite point to the one that the FFRF thinks it is making.

    The error that the FFRF is making is in assuming that the star of david is solely a religious symbol.  They have a stack of court cases saying this, but those do not impress me.  The simple fact is that the Star is also the symbol, not just of the Jewish religion, but of the Jewish race, or people.  The Nazis did not ‘just’ persecute believing Jews, they hunted down anyone with Jewish ancestry.  This is because anti-Semitism is not a hatred of the Jewish religion, but of the people as the source of all evil in the world.  This is what makes it different from common, vulgar racism.  Anti-semitism doesn’t just want to murder jews, it wants to kill anyone and destroy anything that is supposedly part of the ‘Jewish plot’ (meaning capitalism, communism, and all liberal civilisation in the eyes of the Nazis).  So all the unnamed victims of the Holocaust were every bit as much victims of anti-Semitism as the Jews were.  I would also include in that the very many decent anti-fascist Germans who resisted the Nazis and ended up in concentration camps, or, in one of the twisted ironies of history, being blown to pieces by the RAF (Hamburg, whose working class quarters were solidly red and democratic, got completely hammered by the firebombing).

    So it is quite wrong or the FFRF to object to the symbol that was the special focus of hatred, and the raison d’etre of the Nazis.  Here’s where I think I can convict the FFRF of sloppy scholarship cheap point scoring.

    “They and we are aware that ‘Gott mit uns’ (“God [is] with us”) was the Nazi motto emblazoned on the buckle of the Nazi German soldiers’ uniform – clearly showing the Holocaust was a religiously-motivated genocide.”

    Okay, first of all Gott Mit Uns is not a Nazi motto; its origins are far older, and was the standard slogan of the German army, and before it, the Prussian army.  It was not used by the ‘Nazi German soldiers’; in point of fact, the slogan of the SS, the real Nazi soldiers, the ones who actually committed the Holocaust was, Meine Ehre Heisst Treue.  My Honour Is Loyalty.  So, you could argue that the Holocaust was explicitly non-religious or anti-religious, as the SS, the true believers, took Hitler as a higher authority than God Almighty.

    Yes, FFRF copies out that quote from Hitler that he was doing God’s work; however, things are just not that simple.  Hitler ended up despising Christianity, thought it unworthy of what he called the ‘Aryan’ race, and would have loved to replace it with neo-Paganism (and deeply envied the violence and militarism of Imperial Shinto and Islam).  Here is a Hitler Youth song:

    We are the happy Hitler Youth;
    We have no need for Christian virtue;
    For Adolf Hitler is our intercessor
    And our redeemer.
    No priest, no evil one
    Can keep us
    From feeling like Hitler’s children.
    Not Christ do we follow, but Horst Wessel!
    Away with incense and holy water pots…

    This does not make the Catholic Church’s record on the Holocaust any less disgraceful.  It does, however, make the FFRF look extremely foolish and flippant.  If they are opposed to any flippant exploitation of the Holocaust for sectarian ends, well touche.

    On the other hand, there have been quite a few religiously inspired genocides in recent times, though for some reason, the FFRF seems to keep stumm about those…


    Category: atheismFascism

    Article by: The Prussian

    • Coel

      Can you give a proper cite for that supposed Hitler Youth song? There is a lot of dubious information around on this topic (mainly through Christians trying to disassociate themselves from the Nazis). As far as I can make out, this song traces back to a complaint made by a Catholic church that the Hitler Youth were singing it, and the Nazi party were then suing the church, saying that this accusation was libelous. If anyone knows more or better (or can trace this song back to a definitive Nazi sources with official approval) please let me know.

      Also, the idea that the SS regarded Hitler as a “higher authority than God Almighty” is highly dubious. Yes, they might have seen Hitler as an agent of God, but not as higher than God. E.g.

      “God gave the savior to the German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he [Hitler] was sent to us by God to save Germany.” — Goering

      “We believe that the Fuhrer is fulfilling a divine mission to German destiny! This belief is beyond challenge” — Hess

      “He who serves our Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, serves Germany and he who serves Germany, serves God.” — Baldur von Schirach, Head of the Hitler Youth

      More at http://coelsblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/nazi-racial-ideology-was-religious-creationist-and-opposed-to-darwinism/

      • ThePrussian

        By all means; I have traced one reference to it in The German Churches Under Hitler”, and also in “Seduced by Hitler”.

        You must remember that the Nazis were profoundly pragmatist – they were capable of picking up beliefs and dropping them depending on whether they ‘worked’, i.e. had demagogic power. The Nazis paganism was one of the few of their solid principles; this also synchs with what I know about modern day fascist and neo-fascist movements like GRECE and the Nouvelle Droit. They are willing to support Christianity to the extent that it is pagan.

        This is pretty good:


        This is a really good queston, and will probably make for an excellent post later on when I have some time. So: thanks and stay in touch.

        • Coel

          OK, but where do those books derive it from? That’s the crucial thing (given the amount of misinformation on this topic). Can it be linked back to an actual Nazi source? The only link-back I’ve seen ends up with a *claim* by Catholic churches of the Hitler Youth, and the Nazi authorities disputing it, saying the Catholics were inventing the story, and suing them for libel.

          I don’t think it’s fair to regard the Nazis as having “paganism” as a “solid principle” and that they supported “Christianity to the extent that it is pagan”, rather, the leading Nazis had a range of opinions on such issues, from mainstream Christianity to paganism. A couple (Rosenberg, Bormann) had more or less rejected Christianity, but many others regarded themselves as mainstream Christian. (Stiegmann-Gall’s “The Holy Reich, Nazi conceptions of Christianity”, is a good work on this.)

          • ThePrussian

            Again, this takes rather more space to answer than I have here, so I will return to this point later.

    • Brive1987

      I would tend to agree, but hesitate to use the term ‘Jewish Race’ in any way other than to demonstrate similar usage by bigots. The Jews are probably better understood as a culturally interconnected group of religo-ethnic peoples.

      I think the real problem here, as discussed on “Background Probability”, is that the FFRF et al
      are overly focussed on minimizing potential fallout that may impact ongoing American church/state debates. If this means compromising a bit in this instance to stop precedent being set and (irrational) offense … then so be it.

      However the monument is a secular memorial to genocide against a ‘racial’ group symbolized (here) by their cultural iconographic star. Any politicking and comprise on this issue is morally unacceptable – even if pragmatically beneficial. So boo FFRF and any consequentialist who won’t acknowledge the moral imperative at play here.

      Moreover anyone who says the holocaust was a religious war against a faith symbolised by the SoD is either woefully under informed or disingenuous. Hitler’s religious beliefs, while interesting, are only a small piece in understanding the puzzle of how 19C Blut und Boden radicalised into Treblinka and Rumbula.