In 1933, Nazis took power in Germany. By the end of World War II and the Nazi era, at least six million Jews and at least four million others – including Gypsies, homosexuals, Slavs and others considered racially inferior, and the disabled – had been murdered by the Nazis.
While this was happening, a struggle occurred between Christians and the Nazi regime and among Christian denominations. This has been called Kirchenkampf – church struggle.
When the Nazis took power, about 95% of Germans were Christians. They were, however, divided. Not only between Protestant (about 63%) and Catholic (about 33%), but also among Evangelical Protestants.
The German Christian (Deutsche Christen) Church was a movement within the German Evangelicals which supported the antisemitic and racist principles of Nazism. Their objective was to align the protestant churches within Germany in support of those principles. A schism occurred when Evangelicals who opposed Nazi efforts to create a unified Protestant Reich Church, formed The Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche).
Other struggles occurred between the Nazis and both the Catholic and Protestant (mostly Lutheran) churches. Some denominations were unsuccessful in defying the Nazis. Specifically, during the Nazi regime, the Salvation Army, Christian Saints and Seventh-day Adventist Church all disappeared.
It is easy to draw parallels between some of today’s Evangelicals and the German Christian Church. Ignoring or perverting the teachings of Christianity, many Evangelicals seem to overlook what I see as the immorality, lies, power grabs, intentional cruelty to immigrants (especially children), racism, orders for seriously ill foreign born children to leave the country, broken promises (e.g., to “drain the swamp”), relegation of immigrants to concentration camps (there can be no other name for those facilities) and other illegal, immoral, self-serving, and evil acts of Trump, his family, and his administration.
It is not as easy to see any signs of Kirchenkampf – a recognition and declaration by churches – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and others, and by the un-churched – that the Trump administration is evil, and a clear declaration of opposition to Trump and his coterie of vultures. It may, in fact, be too late. The Evangelicals of the “Trump Christian Church” have allied with the Trump Administration to create a synergy that is amplifying the power of both these Evangelicals and Trump.
Consider recent pronouncements by Franklin Graham in support of two children’s books which in a not-subtle manner, support Trump and denigrate any opposition. The books by Eric Metaxas are “Donald Drains the Swamp” and “Donald Builds the Wall.” They are written and illustrated in the style of children’s books and are, in my opinion, purely propaganda.
My purpose is not to criticize Trump, Graham, or Metaxas for these books. To be fair, I note a book, “If You Give a Pig the White House,” written and illustrated in the style of a children’s book and which denigrates Trump.
I have read these three books. As an author, editor, and reviewer, I have a single word for them all: “puerile.” Nevertheless, they are propaganda, written in a way that evokes children’s books. Are they aimed at children? I cannot know the authors’ intentions, so I cannot answer that. However, given the diction and art, I believe they would be very attractive to children.
A writer for Pathos, Libby Anne, published a commentary on Metaxas’ books on 24 November in which she compares the two books to a clearly antisemitic children’s book published in Germany in the 1930s. I have not read that book; only seen two illustrations Libby Anne published. The illustrations are clearly antisemitic.
On the other hand, one cannot speak of propaganda aimed at children without noting the efforts of this country during World War II when children’s cartoon characters were co-opted into clearly racist anti-German, anti-Italian, and anti- Japanese propaganda pieces.
Like Hitler, Trump must know his ideology is fundamentally (no pun intended) at odds with Christian beliefs. What will he do when he no longer needs their support? The Nazis’ goal for Kirchenkampf was the conscription, then subjugation, then destruction of the church, much as the communists attempted in the Soviet Union, and as the Chinese seem to be successfully accomplishing, today.
Returning to the Kirchenkampf : the Confessing Church was created after a major schism among Evangelicals. The Confessing Church was opposed to the principles of the German Christian Church and the philosophy of the Nazis. We have yet to see such a schism in this country; however, in my opinion, it is long overdue.
Patheos, “Metaxas’ ‘Donald Builds the Wall’ Recalls Nazi Children’s Books” by Libby Anne 2019-11-24
Wikipedia, “Kirchenhampf” and follow the links
Wikipedia “German Christians” and follow the links
Wikipedia, “The Holocaust” and follow the links
“Quantifying the Holocaust…” at ncbi.min.nih.gov [US Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health]
https://www.youtube.com/ [“The Ducktators” video – one example of US World War II propaganda]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy9rGAO-qfc [Another US World War II propaganda film.]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO3lsSxJQ6w [Another such film, from a different perspective, but still propaganda aimed at children. These cartoons and others of their ilk, are as racist as anything the Nazis created.]
Holocaust Remembrance “Frequently Asked Questions” at un.org/en/holocaustrememberance/docs/faq
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.