Nazis frequently assert that Jews are agnostics, materialists and anti-religious, whereas the National Socialists represent the standpoint of a positive Christianity.
No doubt there are some Jews who are agnostics and atheists, but hostility to organized religior crops up in all places and in all ages and is by no means confined to the Jews. In Russia, where a definitely anti-religious policy has been pursued by the Bolsheviks, Judaism has been persecuted cotless bitterly than Christianity, and the teaching of the Jewish religion is as rigorously forbidden as that of any other religious belief. In Germany, in spiritual as well as in economic matters the Jews as a whole are being held responsible for the deeds of those who have long cut themselves off from the community, and even whose ancestors, in many cases, have rejected Jewish teachings and precepts.
As for the positive Christianity put into practice by the Nazi government since its accession to power, the following may be observed:
The Concordat arrived at between the Vatican and the Nazi government and the dissolution of the Center Party has put an end to the assaults perpetrated on Roman Catholic priests and to the savage beatings such as those inflicted on members of the Catholic Apprentices Congress in June at Munich. Yet there is little doubt that many priests, formerly in concentration camps, have only been released in order to be imprisoned elsewhere, and that heavy penalties have be inflicted on those who were rash enougn openly to criticize the government.
As regards the Protestants, the words used by the Arthbishop of Canterbury at the Queen’s Hall protest meeting last June are as true today as when they were uttered. “A Church in political chains is incapable of giving the effect of its inspiration and its power to any political movement.”
Although the German Christian movement has received a setback by the enforced resignation of Bishop Hossenfelder, those who would make membership of the Church dependent upon full acceptance of the Nazi doctrines still remain powerful.
No better description of the methods used to enforce the views of the dominant political party can be given than by a quotation from a protest recently made on behalf of 3,000 Lutheran pastors.
“The life of the Church has for some months been subject to the violent pressure of a group within the Church. Brotherly love must not be denied by the rule of violence. The Church’s ministry is specially endangered in that pastors and the Church officials are being persecuted because they are not able to follow the group which at present rules in the Church. With the tacit approval of the Church authorities, provincial synods have voted and put in force laws which are in conflict with Holy Writ and with the Church’s faith. This is especially true of the ‘Aryan paragraph.’”
How keenly some of the most distinguished German theologians feel on the subject may be illustrated from the recent pamphlet or Karl Barth, “Theological Existence of Today.”
Alluding to the Germany Christian doctrine chat, to the Church of the future, German “Aryans” only should be admitted, he writes:–
“What I have to say on this matter is simple. I say No! without reservation or qualification, to the letter and to the spirit of the doctrine. In my opinion the end of the Evangelical Church would come if this doctrine were to obtain the exclusive preponderance the German-Christians wish it to achieve. In my opinion is would be better if the Evangelical Church were reduced to the smallest handful and were to go into the catacombs, rather than to conclude even a distant peace with this doctrine.”
To this judgment on the “positive Christianity” row being propagated by the Nazis within the Protestant Church it is unnecessary to add anyting.