by Herman Bernstein Contributing Editor
The Rev. Dr. Martin Niemoeller, in his Berlin church, branded Reichsbishop Mueller and Dr. August Jaeger, his Nazi civil administrator, as “tools of Satan.” In a fiery sermon he denounced the Nazi brand of Christianity as follows:
“It is ghastly and shocking how persons calling themselves Protestants and Christians are persecuting a Christian community. We have come to another Gethsemane. Now as then Christians are being persecuted. Now as then mobs and violence are being employed against them.”
In Munich Bishop Hans Meisser of Bavaria and his Church Council issued a manifesto which was read from the pulpits of Protestant Churches in Germany last Sunday. After a description of the brutal manner in which the Nazi church officials had treated the members of the Church Council, and of the protests lodged with the government by representatives of the humiliated and assaulted Christian clergy, the manifesto declares, in part, as follows:
“The majority officials were coerced into submission by the strongest pressure and an unheard-of violation of the freedom of conscience…. A regime of might, against which we have complained to the Reich government in frequent petitions, has been illegally erected in Bavaria as well. The offensive of the civil administrator against the State Church Council can be compared only with war-like action. All protests against the arbitrary rule and the unspiritual regime of the Reich church government have now found their devastating confirmation. This has no longer anything to do with the church of Christ, but other dark powers are here doing their worst….
“The connection between Franconia and Swabia and old Bavaria cultivated in the State church with blessed results for more than a century, has been destroyed and the hitherto united State church torn apart. Much worse is the destruction of peace in our communities and in our clergy. The flaming torch of war has been thrown into the house.
“Therefore we know ourselves to be separated from many who, in spite of their clerical office, have lent their hands to devastate the House of God. They share before God the responsibility for the confusion in our community, the discord within our people and the shame of the German Evangelical Church before world Christendom.”
Thus an overwhelming majority of the pastors of the Bavarian Protestant Church defied the “spiritual” and civil authorities of the Nazi regime. It is thus for the most revolutionary act against the Hitler leadership ###nsed by the indignities heaped upon Bishop Meisser by the Nazi church authorities, the Protestant clergy denounced Reichsbishop Mueller and Dr. Jaeger, to the accompaniment of loud and repeated pfuis, and also jeered Adolf Hitler, who was in Munich at the time. A demonstration was staged in front of the Bishop’s house, a service was held in the courtyard, and Bishop Meisser appeared at a window and thanked his followers for their loyalty, exhorting them to trust in God.
Pastor Deisenhofer, preaching in St. Matthew’s Church, declared that “lions and wild beasts have come into the vineyards” and that the German Christians headed by Dr. Mueller “have completed the profanation of the church.”
The courageous stand taken by the Protestant clergy under the leadership of Bishop Meisser, and of the Catholics, under the leadership of Cardinal Faulhaber, has revealed to the world the hypocrisy of the Nazi brand of Christianityâ€””the tools of Satan” devastating the German people and attempting to exterminate every vestige of culture and civilization.
To divert the attention of the people from the rising tide of indignation within Germany, Hitler and his comrade, Julius Streicher, the madman of Nuremberg, the arch-anti-Semite of Naziland, are trying to hoodwink the German people by blaming the Jews for all the economic ills that have befallen Germany, and by concocting stories of Jewish attempts on the life of the Nazi leader.
The disseminator of the blood libel against the Jews now declares:
“We have proofs that at the last party conclave here, in Nuremberg, a man had been hired for 50,000 marks to perpetrate a deed which would make you shudder.”
Streicher intimated that the Jews had plotted to destroy National Socialist Germany.
The truth is that Germany is being destroyed by the National Socialists, by Hitler, by Goebbels, by Goering, by Rosenberg, by Hesse and by Reichsbishop Mueller. The awakening of the true Christians in Germany is the most hopeful and encouraging sign of the approaching end of Hitlerism. The doom of Nazism is nearer than most people believe.