"RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION MUST DISAPPEAR FROM THE SCHOOLS…. The man who is tied to the dogmas of the Churches need look for nothing from us in the future.”
Thus declared the Nazi inspector of Munich city schools in Germany, June 1939. His words appear in the July 1945 U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) study “The Nazi Master Plan,” available online in pdf format in four parts from the “Nuremberg Project” at Rutgers University and the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion.
“Implementation of this objective started with the curtailment of religious instruction in the primary and secondary schools,” the OSS (forerunner of today’s Central Intelligence Agency) document continues, “with the squeezing of the religious periods into inconvenient hours, with Nazi propaganda among the teachers in order to induce them to refuse the teaching of religion, with vetoing of…religious text books, and finally with substituting Nazi Weltanschauung and ‘German Faith’ for Christian religious denominational instruction…. At the time of the outbreak of the war…religious instruction had practically disappeared from Germany’s primary schools.”
Adolf Hitler’s evil attempt to carry out genocide and his mass murder of six million Jews is recognized as one of history’s greatest crimes against humanity.
Less well known, but revealed clearly in this OSS document, was Hitler’s master plan to destroy Christianity and replace it with his own “German Faith” concocted from a mixture of occultism, pre-Christian paganism, racism and National Socialism (whose German words for his political party contracted into “Nazi”).
Hitler’s regime was bent on “eliminating all political organizations other than the Nazi party,” the OSS analysis says. It was a jealous religion that allowed no other gods but Hitler and no rival institution that might explicitly or implicitly challenge its totalitarian authority.
Such hatred and fear of other religions is a hallmark of socialism. Karl Marx denounced religion as the “opiate of the masses,” preventing them from martyring themselves to the cause of Marxist revolution. The late Soviet Union promoted atheism, then watched its empire start unraveling in Poland because the Roman Catholic Church and its Polish Pope commanded vastly more love and loyalty from the people than the Church of Marx.
In the Peoples Republic of China the Marxist rulers fearfully persecute a sect whose simple meditation undermines government control over peoples’ minds. Communist China days ago imprisoned yet more peasants in labor camps for the subversive crime of merely possessing Bibles.
Socialists in the United States, including those who behind the scenes control one of America’s two biggest political parties, have not yet attained the degree of power held by their comrades Hitler, Stalin and Mao. But here, too, their aim is to purge all other religions from the public square – from public school classrooms to holiday displays – so that their socialist faith can have a monopoly as our official government-imposed religion.
“Religion,” as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, can be “A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.”
Humanism, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary and embraced by socialists from Adolf Hitler to Hillary Clinton, can be “the Religion of Humanity.” In this nominally-secular Humanist religion man replaces God as, in the Greek philosopher Protagoras’ phrase, “the measure of all things.”
The Western idea of God is not necessarily essential in defining religion. Buddhism, e.g., has no deity, but few would insist on calling it a philosophy instead of a religion.
The United States Federal Government is prohibited by our Constitution’s First Amendment from making any law “respecting an Establishment of Religion [i.e., a state church like the Church of England], or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
This had the effect, wrote the author of our Declaration of Independence and third President Thomas Jefferson in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists, of “building a wall of separation between Church and State.”
What did Jefferson mean by this? Part of the answer appears in his preface to one of the only three things for which he wished to be remembered on his tombstone, his 1779 Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom.
“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors,” wrote Jefferson, “is sinful and tyrannical.” (I think of this each time I witness National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) using my coerced taxes to broadcast Bill Moyers, an ultra-Leftist who thus has pocketed far more than $20 million taxpayer dollars.)
A man should not even be forced to support a particular preacher of his own religious persuasion, Jefferson continued, for to do so would deprive him “of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness….”
Jefferson believed that religion should be something between a person and his or her God and that government should not interfere here. “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god,” wrote Jefferson in 1785. “It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
For most of two centuries this separation of church and state helped America avoid the religious wars that killed millions in Europe and elsewhere.
But the Left has broken that peace. It has done so by violating another key tenant of the Jeffersonian ideal – that government should remain very, very small, thereby leaving almost the entire public square open to each person’s free exercise of religion.
The Left has invoked a new syllogism – that church and state must be separate, that the state must intrude and exert control everywhere and over every aspect of our lives, and therefore that the church must vanish.
As such reasoning makes clear, today’s Leftists are morally unfit to lick Jefferson’s boots, much less to quote this founding father of our liberties to advance a socialist agenda that Jefferson would despise and oppose with every fiber of his being. Jefferson’s and Ben Franklin’s motto, after all, was “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God,” a phrase that almost became part of America’s Great Seal.
Today’s religious war, launched by the Left, masquerades as a struggle to preserve religious liberty by exorcising religion from every government building, budget expenditure, public school commencement speech and other activity. This is a lie.
We in truth are caught in a crossfire – oops, delete the word “cross” with its Christian implications – between two religions. The Judeo-Christian faith of the Bible is under attack by the Humanist “religion” of the Left that aims to uproot and replace it, just as was attempted by Hitler’s National Socialist Germany, by the late Marxist Soviet Union, and today by Communist China.
The central point of this column is that secular socialism in America inherently violates the First Amendment. It does so by relentlessly enlarging government. Because every new inch of cultural and social ground invaded by government is thereafter purged of religion, every incremental expansion of government violates the religious “free exercise” right of those whose lives it invades.
All secular socialism is therefore by its very nature a rolling juggernaut of genocide against the worshippers of every other religion.
And all socialism is therefore evil and an enemy of human rights, whether it is the socialism of Hitler or of Hillary.
In recent decades the courts (most of whose current judges have been appointed by Leftists) have tended to rule that where government advances religion must retreat in the name of separation of church and state.
What the courts should rule, instead, is that, because of the inherent supremacy of the First Amendment, government should be prohibited from advancing its own Establishment of Socialist Religion, its sphere of power and influence, any further. Wherever government advances, it creates a de facto “Establishment of Religion,” a humanist state “church” from which all other faiths are forcibly excluded.
Non-statist religions should not be required to retreat or yield in the face of expanding government. The state religion that worships ever-larger government should be prohibited by the courts from such expansion in the name of religious liberty.
Okay, I confess. I’m a utopian idealist. As wrote the poet Robert Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”