From Zero to Hitler …
28 July 2021 Hits:1638
It’s a trend I’ve observed over the past year or more, basically since the pandemic began. I’ll tell you what this trend is in a moment.
Sadly, conspiracy theories are one of the symptoms of global pandemics. I am particularly saddened by the number of Christians that have bought into these conspiracies. It appears that those who hold to a futurist view of Revelation and Bible prophecy are most vulnerable. After all, they are looking for an antichrist, a one-world government, and the mark of the beast. They then read current events in light of this, and hey presto, the global “plandemic” is the insidious work of the world’s elite forcing their agenda on unsuspecting peoples. History is littered with such claims, and they’ve ALL been wrong!
An Ongoing Trend
But back to the trend, I’ve observed. Very quickly, in a discussion about lockdown restrictions, the second or third comment will often reference Hitler’s Germany. They literally go from zero to Hitler in 8 seconds. It’s like bringing out the big guns first. “I’m going to blow this argument out of the water.” “I’ve got you now, Buckingham.” “Just think of Hitler’s Germany; what if Christians had failed to speak out then, huh?” And I wonder if they know anything about history!
Comparing government action to protect its citizens during a global pandemic to the atrocities committed by the Nazis is appalling. But let’s visit a little bit of history here and consider what really happened almost a century ago.
In the 1930s, Germany was a Christian nation. Two-thirds were protestant and one-third Catholic. Jews accounted for less than 1% of the population. And yet, the Christian community was by and large complicit with Hitler. Most church leaders were persuaded by the Nazi Party’s statement on “positive Christianity:” “We demand the freedom of all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not jeopardize the state’s existence or conflict with the manners and moral sentiments of the Germanic race.” ***
In July 1933, Hitler’s first year in power, a German pastor, Joachim Hossenfelder, preached a sermon in Berlin’s most important church – the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Speaking on Romans 13:1-7, he reminded the congregation of the importance of obedience to authorities because “The authorities that exist have been established by God.” This appeal to the Bible led much of the Christian church to either support Hitler or not resist him. This same appeal to Romans 13 was used to back the slave trade and apartheid. It is still used to support capital punishment and was quoted by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to justify the Trump Administration’s immigration policy of separating children from their families.
A few verses later in Romans chapter 13, Paul wrote, “The commandments…are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:9-10). Love does not condone torture and murder, it doesn’t imprison and starve, and it doesn’t separate children from their parents. True Christian love does no harm to anyone.
Understanding Romans 13
So, what is Romans 13 all about? The apostle was speaking directly into the political climate of his day. Emperor Claudius ordered all Jews to leave Rome around 51 CE. According to the Roman historian Suetonius, Claudius expelled the Jews because they were rioting on account of Chrestus (Christ) – apparently referring to disputes between Christian and non-Christian Jews. Luke mentions this historical fact in Acts 18:2, “Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome.” The Jews returned around January 53, and four years later, Paul wrote his letter to the Roman church while he was spending three months in Corinth.
With this historical backdrop, we can understand what Paul meant in Romans 13. Nero was now in power, and Paul encouraged the church not to unnerve the political authorities with any more disputes with non-Christian Jews in case they were all ousted once more from Rome. If this happened, it would have an adverse outcome for the church and the Gospel in the City of Rome, and so Paul encouraged the Roman Christians to do the right thing and not rebel. He also taught them to pay their taxes and live lives of respect and honour.
What Does This Mean Today?
So, let’s apply this to the current pandemic. In general, are the State and Federal governments of Australia trying to harm or kill people? Answer: No. The public health measures guiding Australia’s response to COVID-19 are attempting to protect as many people as possible from a virus that is at least 30 times deadlier than the seasonal flu and four times more infectious. COVID-19 is a new virus in the human population, so scientists are constantly discovering more about it.
While most people will recover from COVID within a few weeks, between 10% and 30% of people will still be suffering long-term effects three months later. This is called Long COVID. Symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, brain fog (similar to Alzheimer’s), aching joints, depression, and damage to the heart, lungs, and brain.
Much has been made of the blood clots associated with the Astra Zeneca Vaccine (causing one death in a million). For those who get COVID-19, 165,000 in a million cases develop blood clots. I’m taking my chances with Astra Zeneca, and so far, so good. I’m due for my second dose in September.
The question remains, is our government trying to harm its citizens? No. Then is the Hitler argument valid when applied to the current pandemic? No. Hitler’s reign of terror included the well-known Holocaust of six million Jews. In addition, Hitler was directly responsible for the murder of more than five million non-Jews. Gypsies, homosexuals, blacks, the physically and mentally disabled, political opponents, dissenting clergy, and resistance fighters were slaughtered by Hitler’s regime.
Notice the reference to dissenting clergy. We’ve seen a small number in Australia ~ pastors who have opened their churches while lockdown orders are in place. Some have called on Christians to defy the government and join protests. The dissenting clergy of Hitler’s day lost their lives. These guys are just losing their credibility.
In Nazi Germany, most clergy, and Christians, did not dissent and were thus complicit in the slaughter of millions. Let us not be complicit today in spreading false information that leads to people getting seriously ill and losing their lives. And please, stop appealing to Hitler to support your unchristian actions!
*** The Nazi Party’s statement on “positive Christianity” Article 24 of the 1920 Nazi Party Platform: “We demand the freedom of all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not jeopardize the state’s existence or conflict with the manners and moral sentiments of the Germanic race. The Party as such upholds the point of view of a positive Christianity without tying itself confessionally to any one confession. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit at home and abroad and is convinced that a permanent recovery of our people can only be achieved from within on the basis of the common good before individual good.”