I’m conflicted how to cast my vote in our upcoming primary. I thought I had until Tuesday to decide but we need to vote early, so I need to make a decision. On one hand I feel like Hillary is the inevitable nominee and I’ll have to vote for her later anyway, and so I’ve intended to vote for Bernie #FeelTheBern in the primaries, because ideology – and to register a protest vote against the two-sides-same-coin choice Hillary represents. But with half the Republicans falling all over themselves to avoid nominating Trump, with a Kasich win in Ohio being their best bet and the polls being close, I feel like I should go vote for The Donald, because it’s a chance to help screw establishment GOP and Gov. Kasich at the same time (who is a moderate, reasonable choice only in comparison to his radical and dangerous competition). Also how hilarious and fun to go vote for Donald Trump (!) for president, for pretend. On the other hand, Trump might be regrettable #understatement if he goes on to win and really is ‘Mussolini with nukes’, so there’s that… #decisions
Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with a couple I love very much and it was great to get to see them and chat and all that. These two also have chosen to be fundamentalist Christians. As with many (most?) fundamentalists, this association is very important to them and defines their identity. During our conversation, the subject of marriage and divorce came up. Excuses were made for divorce that are just nagging at me. It’s another case where folks like these use the Bible however they see fit. On one hand, homosexuality is condemned unequivocally as wrong on its face. But Jesus never said one word about homosexuality. Jesus had as much to say about The Gay as he did about The Who. The same evangelicals march in lockstep and wring their hands over the evils of abortion. They spend their lives petitioning the government to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies and forego their own right to life and pursuit of happiness, while the other side of their mouths decry government intrusion and overreach. And the list goes on.
But something Jesus did specifically express disdain for is divorce. Jesus (or words later authors ascribed to the character) specifically said not to get divorced. Jesus didn’t say “don’t be gay”, but he did say “don’t get divorced”. He didn’t say “well, unless it’s inconvenient to stay married”. Related and in case it’s not totally clear, “don’t commit adultery” is one of the Ten Commandments. They want to engrave one of the versions of these Commandments on massive granite blocks and embed them in front of public buildings so everyone will turn from their wickedness, but they don’t care as much about actually living it themselves unless it’s convenient. A clerk who has been married many times won’t give out a marriage license to a gay couple, and the modern-day Pharisees flock to her defense. This is yet another reason why the Founding Fathers specified religion can’t form the basis of our laws, freeing us from the worries of Sharia Law, be it from Muslims or Christians. People don’t obey even the most basic precepts of their religion, yet they often want everyone else to obey. Christians make up more of a majority in the U.S. than most other “Christian” countries, yet half of all marriages end in divorce, which is literally forbidden by God and their savior. If religious people spent less time moralizing to others (and brainwashing their children and rejecting science) and instead just lived what they ostensibly believe and held themselves to their alleged standards, atheists like me would spend less time bothering them for their hypocrisy. But as history has and always will continue to exhibit, that’s just not going to happen.
OMG I finally finished the book…the last bit seemed like a bit of a slog and I thought I’d never finish but the last 40% of the book was all footnotes. I figured this book would be a slow read because it focuses like a laser on Munich from 1900-1935. The volume of footnotes speaks to the extensive research by the author, who details myriad players in the area at the time: Adolf Hitler, priests, pastors, and what seemed like hundreds of other völkisch leaders and participants along with the general sentiment of the time.
“in contrast to the NSDAP which, unlike secular non-Marxist parties, served as the most uncompromising defender of the Christian faith”
In times like we live in today when Know-Nothings paint Hitler as a leftist, Nazism as anti-religious or exclusively anti-Christian, and revisionist hacks proposing the Nazis were homosexuals, and on-and-on, it’s always preferable to read something rooted in harsh reality. I’m a history buff and often a student of totalitarianism, fascism, and the like, because history repeats. I’m also an atheist so admittedly some of the reasons I chose to read this book were scurrilous. But I was surprised to find the eventual climax to be very even-handed. I even finished the book thinking Nazi-related critiques of Pope Benedict XVI were unfounded and that the Catholic church by-and-large did repudiate the Nazi movement (more so than their fellow Christian Protestants). So while I did not find what I was expecting, I did find a very detailed review of the Christian (and anti-Christian) influences in Bavaria and Munich specifically in the early formative years of the NSDAP, and that was worth the read.
A few excerpts:
“the fact that such an elaborate völkisch-eugenics model was already laid out among Reform Catholic nationalists in Munich in 1914 is significant”
“to accelerate and radicalize anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist attitudes among Munich’s overwhelmingly Catholic population. The perceived linkages between Bolshevism, atheism, and the Jews”
“the most pressing threat being the issue that so consumed Faulhaber and others, the Jewish-socialist separation of church and state and the impending removal of mandatory religious instruction from Bavarian schools.”
“This speech is significant on at least two levels. First, it pledges Hitler’s personal devotion to his “Lord and Savior” in no uncertain terms and embodies the type of activist warrior Christianity that the Nazi movement would utilize to great effect over the course of the following year”
“In a well-publicized speech to the Ortsgruppe Augsburg on 13 June 1923, Haeuser emphasized the virtues of warrior Christianity, proclaiming, “We need men of action. If only there were more men like Hitler… who would put the words of Christ into practice: ‘I have not come to bring peace, but rather the sword.’”
“Once held up as paragons of the Nazi spirit of Positive Christianity, Catholic students were now forced to strip themselves of their overt Catholic identities in order to comply with the imperatives of the Third Reich.”
“It is possible, indeed necessary, to deplore the tragic and errant nature of inquisitorial zeal in thirteenth-century southern France while also recognizing its problematic, yet nonetheless real, contextual Christian legitimacy”