Last night I started reading Dr. Susannah Heschel’s The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany. Having not gotten any further than the introduction there are eerie parallels between the support the German church gave to Nazism and the support the American evangelical church is giving to the MAGA movement. A few samples:
The German Christian movement was faction within the Protestant church of Germany, not a separate sect, and eventually attracted between a quarter and a third of Protestant church members. Enthusiastically pro-Nazi, the movement sought to demonstrate its support for Hitler by organizing itself after the model of the Nazi Party, placing a swastika on the altar next to the cross, giving the Nazi salute at its rallies, and celebrating Hitler as sent by God.
The three ideological prongs of the German Christian movement within the Protestant church, as Doris Bergen has delineated, were its opposition to church doctrine, its antisemitism, and its effort to craft a “manly” church…
German Christians appropriated Nazi rhetoric and symbols into the church to give its Christianity a contemporary resonance.
Theological conclusions regarding Jesus’s teachings and his interactions with the Jews of his day were shaped into a rhetoric that endorsed Nazi ideology, making Nazism appear to be realizing in the political sphere what Christians taught in the religious sphere.
On to chapter 1….