Berlin (Jun. 5)
The official organs of the Protestant Federation, the “Nachrichten fuer Evangeliche Gemeinde und Sonntagsblaetter,” and the “Deutsch Evangeliche Korrespondenz” publish a declaration made by the Bishop of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Dr. Rendtorff, in reply to numerous enquiries made regarding the attitude of the Protestant Church to the National-Socialist (Hitlerist) movement”. in which the Hitlerist movement is declared to be acceptable to the Protestant Church. This declaration clears up the attitude of the Protestant Church towards the National Socialist movement, the papers point out.
Many members of the Evangelical Church are heart and soul with the National Socialist movement, the Bishop’s statement says, and the Evangelical Church, being obliged by its mission to go to the people and to serve them, must seek them in those circles where they live, that is to say, inside the National Socialist movement. For that reason, the Evangelical Church must by its very mission recognise the National Socialist movement. While other political movements declare themselves openly against Christianity or are indifferent to it, National Socialism takes its stand on the basis of positive Christianity. The Church is in duty bound by its mission to take the National Socialist movement seriously. The National Socialist movement stands passionately for social justice and fraternity, and thereby stands also for the cause which is that of the Evangelical Church. The Evangelical Church must, therefore, welcome gratefully the National Socialist movement, while at the same time proclaiming it as only a human and consequently only imperfect and broken reflection of the sacred will of God.
The “Vossische Zeitung” complained recently (reported in the J.T.A. Bulletin of May 28th.) that the Protestant Church in Germany is not following the example of the Catholic Church, which is conducting a relentless war against Hitlerism as an anti-religious movement, and that in some places the Protestant Church is showing considerable favour to Hitlerist propaganda. At the same time, however, a Bavarian Protestant Teachers’ organ, “Die Freie Deutsche Schule”, wrote that “a party which stands on the principle of race, blood, power and violence, can have nothing in common with Christianity,” and that “Hitlerism means the destruction of the Protestant Church”.