Hitler & Christianity II

by Jonah Goldberg

From pages 364-365 of my book:

Like the engineers of that proverbial railway bridge, the Nazis
worked relentlessly to replace the nuts and bolts of traditional
Christianity with a new political religion. The shrewdest way to accomplish
this was to co-opt Christianity via the Gleichschaltung
while at the same time shrinking traditional religion’s role in civil society.
To this end, Hitler was downright Bismarckian. The German
historian Götz Aly explains how Hitler purchased popularity with
lavish social welfare programs and middle-class perks, often paid for
with stolen Jewish wealth and high taxes on the rich. Hitler banned
religious charity, crippling the churches’ role as a counterweight to
the state. Clergy were put on government salary, hence subjected to
state authority. “The parsons will be made to dig their own graves,”
Hitler cackled. “They will betray their God to us. They will betray
anything for the sake of their miserable little jobs and incomes.”5
Following the Jacobin example, the Nazis replaced the traditional
Christian calendar. The new year began on January 30 with the Day
of the Seizure of Power.6 Each November the streets of central
Munich were dedicated to a Nazi Passion play depicting Hitler’s
Beer Hall Putsch. The martyrdom of Horst Wessel and his “old fighters”
replaced Jesus and the apostles. Plays and official histories
were rewritten to glorify pagan Aryans bravely fighting against
Christianizing foreign armies. Anticipating some feminist pseudo
history, witches became martyrs to the bloodthirsty oppression of

Under the progressives, the Christian God had been transformed
into the God of lower food prices. Under the Nazis, the Christian
God would be transformed into an Aryan SS officer with Hitler his
right hand. The so-called German Christian pastors preached that
“just as Jesus liberated mankind from sin and hell, so Hitler saves the
German Volk from decay.” In April 1933 the Nazi Congress of
German Christians pronounced that all churches should catechize
that “God has created me a German; Germanism is a gift of God.
God wills that I fight for Germany. War service in no way injures the
Christian conscience, but is obedience to God.”7
When some Protestant bishops visited the Fuhrer to register complaints,
Hitler’s rage got the better of him. “Christianity will disappear from Germany just as it has done in Russia . . . The Germanrace has existed without Christianity for thousands of years . . . and
will continue after Christianity has disappeared . . . We must get
used to the teachings of blood and race.” When the bishops objected
that they supported Nazism’s secular aims, just not its religious innovations,
Hitler exploded: “You are traitors to the Volk. Enemies of
the Vaterland and destroyers of Germany.”8

In 1935 mandatory prayer in school was abolished, and in 1938
carols and Nativity plays were banned entirely. By 1941 religious instruction
for children fourteen years and up had been abolished altogether,
and Jacobinism reigned supreme. A Hitler Youth song rang
out from the campfires:

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.
No Christ do we follow, but Horst Wessel!
Away with incense and holy water pots.9
Meanwhile, the orphans were given new lyrics to “Silent Night”:
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright,
Only the Chancellor steadfast in fight,
Watches o’er Germany

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