Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Are Progressive Christians Nazis?

Such appears to be the conclusion of Viola Larson of Voices of Orthodox Women who blogs here. Viola is a newly knighted member of "the consistory" (check her links) which includes a bunch of right-winged Presbyterians many of whom have graced the presence of Shuck and Jive. I do enjoy my little spats with them.

Viola is a curious one. She spends her time mostly hassling the Presbyterian Women regarding their publications which are not fundamentalist enough for her taste. The National Network of Presbyterian College Women is also problematic for Viola as they use the "F" word, feminism.

Remember my post about the day the Layman tried to shut down the college women? Well, the Voices of Orthodox Women were some of the main players. They are still at it, these matronly looking ladies who enjoy employing the motherly shame technique.

"Oh shame on you, you mock the faithful, you, you...Nazi you!"

Viola is on a new kick. Every click of the computer gets published on the LayMAN. Her thesis is that progressive Christianity leads to Nazism. You can mock her nonsense here. She writes:

Religiously speaking, two important aspects of the liberalism of the German Churches in Nazi Germany correspond to Progressive Protestantism today, that is, a rejection of much of the Old Testament and a rejection of the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. In fact both groups, the ‘German Christians’ of Nazi Germany and contemporary Progressives, reject Jesus Christ as he is found in both the Old Testament and the New.

As this particular heresy evolved in Nazi Germany it could not help but emerge as a form of paganism. Theologians insisted that theology must meet the needs of the German people; it must be seen, interpreted and formed in the context of their culture. Since all are sinners always turning toward themselves, the German people glorified the ‘volk’ that is the people. The people were glorified as was their leader, therefore Jesus Christ could only be understood as a heroic figure set beside Hitler.

There were those both inside the Church and out who went much further in their Paganism. There were many who wished to destroy Christianity as it had been known for almost two thousand years. Those outside tormented and mocked the Confessing Church. By 1937 many pastors of the Confessing Church were imprisoned....

The progressive theology of today will evolve also since it has no foundation in the revealed Word of God. Only God, however, knows that future. That some progressives in the Church care to mock the Lord of the Church and those who belong to the Lord of the Church is a telling sign of their evolving direction.

She links to me! What joy! It is difficult to know where to start with this. Here we have a writer for a fundamentalist group, VOW, who is allied with the IRD, the Layman, and every right wing group you can think of in the PCUSA, who routinely condemns gays, loves everything GW Bush does, and attempts to silence any type of theological exploration (college women reading books) that is contrary to her own fundamentalist ideology. Then she calls progressives the Nazis.

It is interesting that the Layman provided the energy and publicity for an organization in the church called the--get this--"Confessing Church Movement"--which was the name of the movement in the 30s with Karl Barth and all that went against Hitler and the patriotic German church.

Here is the modern Confessing Church Movement's beliefs:

1) Our religion is right and the only.
2) The Bible is the infallible Word of God (which to them gives divine and absolute authority for positions #1 and #3).
3) Homosexuality (which is what it is all about) is wrong, sinful, and no clergy who are gay and happy with that should be ministers.

You can read my post about this exclusive club here, Turning Over In Their Graves. They have the gall to name their idolatry after Karl Barth's movement. It blows the mind to contemplate how the right-wing distorts history.

Oh, by the way, since we are on the topic, you might check out this post about the IRD.

Wake up, folks! Secular liberals, you think this is just about church politics? Unless you get involved your Bill of Rights will be the Book of Leviticus!


  1. I have noticed that Viola has made this absolutely moronic accusation about progressive Christianity and Nazis in the past, in this blog and elsewhere.

    (Interesting how she doesn't bother to note that in countries like Austria and Spain during the 1930s, national fascist movements were intimately tied with conservative Catholicism. But hey.)

    These people who are busy identifying "heretics" and engaging in witch hunts against them are, in essence, theological fascists, who seek to control which forms of theological thought are acceptable and which are not. Hence the irony of this amusing and bizarre Nazi kick.

    Never underestimate the lows that the religious right will sink to when they attack those who don't conform to their version of the truth.

  2. Conservative Catholicism and liberal protestantism both of whom put human agency over the biblical witness. Hence the German Christian assertian they were the master race.

    Why with all the personal superiority on display by John this week we can all see the superiority of his Gospel.

    John your assertion of Viola as a fundamentalist shows what a wing nut you really are. oops was that less than nice?

  3. Mr. Bill!

    Hey, I am a wing nut for Jesus. So what is the conclusion for all this, Bill? That the United States should adopt your version of Christian orthodoxy rather than say, the constitution?

  4. You hit the nail on the head, Reverend Shuck. The Bill of Rights, Amendment One: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. This is what is so great about our Nation.
    But I am worried too...

    The current Administration has trampled all over the Bill of Rights with the Patriot Act and the government's warrantless domestic spying, detainee policy permitting torture and removing habeas corpus, and post-9/11 laws and policies that undermine our basic civil rights and liberties. The Senate is currently voting on The Violent Radicalization Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, which would further undermine our civil liberties. The Supreme Court meets in the Spring to decide whether we have a right to bear handguns.

    I believe there is a Storm happening in America and the people need to wake up before it is too late to save what was once so great about this Nation.

    As for which version of Christian Orthodoxy should we accept, I would prefer to choose my own.

  5. I am left whomperjawed, if not deeply offended. I agree, it's a huge slap in the face to those who risked their lives and those who indeed did die in concentration camps to compare the theology they brilliantly set forth in the Barmen Declaration to the theology of their oppressors. Never mind that the surest way to show the world you're losing an argument is to call someone Hitler.

    It is equally offensive to compare those who want to allow gay and lesbian Christians a place at table to the Nazi regime that did, after all, torture and murder gay people and Jews with equal zeal.

    It's not just woefully ignorant of history. It's disgusting.

  6. Have you heard of Godwin's Law? Basically it says that as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1. According to Godwin's Law, a person that invokes such comparisons has instantly lost whatever argument he or she is making.

    Apparently it works in the real world too, or whatever "reality" the fundies live in. ;)

  7. I am not against making analogies with Hitler when they are appropriate, but in Viola's case it is the height of absurdity. To equate a theological movement that might be characterized by free inquiry, a commitment to social justice, or an opposition to ecclesiastical tyranny with a political movement that is rooted in dogmatism, social injustice, and oppression--it's more than beyond the pale. It is just plain bizarre. And it suggests the desperation that some theological conservatives will go to in trying to smear those they would suppress.

    When they resort to smear tactics, you know that they have nothing reasonable in their arsenal.

  8. Rachel--I find you very interesting! Glad you are here. You are messing with my whole understanding of left and right!

    Whomperjawed--Did we ever really think GWB would get away with the WMD lies or the connection with Saddam and 9/11? The SOB did get away with it and still does! Funny thing is, I was immersed in Barth at Princeton. His theology more precisely was crisis theology not neo-orthodoxy. He was an anti-war socialist, too!

    Alan--welcome! I have enjoyed your comments on other blogs and glad you stopped by. I have not heard of Godwin's Law, but from your description, I am a believer. Thanks!

    Mystical--You are right, of course. It is the ridiculous that can sway the credible. Say it enough and say it with a somewhat measured tone and you can convince the people of damn near anything.

    Back now to Heather's original question? Should we ignore it and hope this crap goes away or address it and spoof it or what?

  9. I'm just going to echo what others have already said: I find it horrific that the insult of Nazis/Hitler/Holocaust is thrown about so casually. It demonstrates a huge ... callousness to those who actually suffered under Hitler.

    As to Heather's question ... I'm not sure it can be ignored. Maybe if it were on the fringes, but you see this a lot. Look at the term feminazis, or comparing abortion to the Holocaust. It's almost become socially acceptable to do that, and it's robbing those two words, Nazi and Holocaust, of their true meaning, and dismissing the actual atrocity.

  10. John,

    I know this post has been overcome by events but I wanted to say I am glad you posted it. I was out of the country when you did so I missed it. Viola excommunicated me (Don’t know why, but I think Will Spotts put her up to it) or else I’d say something on her blog as well.

    Hitler quoted Martin Luther’s late life diatribe against the Jews to convince the Lutherans that he was right in persecuting the Jews. Of course he didn’t believe anything Luther believed in. It was just cynical propaganda.

    So it is when the right wing Laymanites and Skinners tell us who to hate and hide behind Barth and Barmen to accuse devout Christians of being Nazis. They don’t believe anything Barth has to say, but they know their opponents do, so they hope to score points by quoting him.

    And considering how right wing Hitler was, and the fact that most of the signators of the Barmen were Christian Socialists, it is postmodern to boot.

    Barth may be rolling over in his grave, but Joseph Goebbels would have been proud.

    It is true that many German Christians had watered down their faith to the point of not caring, but it was their fascination with messianic rock star authority figures telling them what to think and who to hate that led them into Hitler's hands.

    Not a liberal attribute.