Previous month:
October 2019
Next month:
December 2019

Keeping a religious freedom commission bipartisan

Back in President Bill Clinton's second term, Congress created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, tasked with monitoring religious liberty around the world and, in annual reports, highlighting the progress (or, more likely, lack of progress) various countries are making in this area.

Uscirf-logoI thought it was a good move at the time and believe that over the years it has done good work. If I have a criticism it is that Congress and the executive branch often pay little or no attention to the commission's findings and, therefore, don't place enough emphasis on making sure that it's the policy of the U.S. government to advocate religious liberty as one of the foundational human rights around the world.

In recent weeks and months, however, the bipartisan cooperation that has allowed the USCIRF to do its work effectively appears to be threatened by changes proposed in a bill meant to reauthorize the commission's existence.

You can read about that proposed legislation in this Associated Press story and in this article from The National Review. You can decide whether those reports contain conflicting analyses.

As the AP reports, the reauthorization bill "would ask the commission to review 'the abuse of religion to justify human rights violations' — a responsibility not defined in more detail — and restrict commissioners from using their federal title when they speak as private citizens. Additionally, commissioners would have to report to Congress on international travel paid for by sources outside their families or the government.

"In a capital often dominated by partisan polarization, those proposed changes created a rare division: senators in both parties seeking increased oversight, and commissioners in both parties balking."

What most concerns me about this matter is that the USCIRF, despite the appointment of commissioners who think quite differently from one another about religious liberty, has remained an effective organization because it has remained bipartisan in approach. It hasn't fallen prey to the vicious partisan divisions that have turned much of our federal government malignant.

Whatever the solution is for the reauthorization, the result must not be one more agency dissolving into gridlock because of partisan politics. That would be the worst thing for religious freedom around the globe.

If you agree, let your member of Congress know.

* * *


Does it seem to you as if you're meeting more chaplains nowadays? Why would that be? This RNS story has one answer: ". . .as fewer people identify with a specific religion or attend religious services, Americans may be more likely to meet a chaplain than a local clergy person at a congregation. That’s why the newly formed Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, aims to explore how chaplains are adapting to their changing circumstances." Chaplains often do terrific work. If you know one, say thanks.

Drafting God and Satan into political roles

Now that we're past Thanksgiving, I want to back up a few days and think about some strange ways recently that religion and politics have crossed paths in the U.S.

God-SatanU.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the other day that President Donald J. Trump (and Barack Obama before him) was "ordained by God" to be president.

I'm not sure just what that says about God's political instincts if God wanted both Trump and Obama, but I would say they could be charitably described as confused and/or conflicted.

What Perry actually said was this: "I'm a big believer that the God of our universe is still very active in the details of the day-to-day lives of government. You know, Barack Obama doesn't get to be the President of the United States without being ordained by God. Neither did Donald Trump."

And Perry's far from the only amateur theologian to thus opine. As the CNN story to which I've linked you above reports, "In February, former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that God 'wanted Donald Trump to become president and that's why he's there.' A month later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined the chorus, saying it's possible God raised Donald Trump to be President in order to protect Israel from Iran."

Almost certainly this kind of thinking is drawn from the twelfth chapter of the New Testament book of Romans, authored by the Apostle Paul.

Here's how that chapter begins (in the New International Version): "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."

As scholar Mark D. Nanos has taught me, Paul's words are aimed at Jesus gentile followers who were part of temple or synagogue life in the First Century. Which means he was teaching them to respect temple authorities. He was not telling them that God put the Romans in a position to rule in the Holy Land and that people should acknowledge them as God's deputies.

To use Paul's words as warrant for suggesting that 2,000 years after Paul wrote, whoever the U.S. president is in office because God ordained him to be is a serious misreading of scripture. If Obama and then Trump really were both God's choice to be president, God's got some serious explaining to do.

Similarly, we've been hearing weird theology recently about whether people who criticize Trump are doing it under the influence of Satan.

As this Atlantic story notes, "Franklin Graham and Eric Metaxas, two prominent figures within the American evangelical movement. . .have now decided they must try to demonize his (Trump's) critics.


Paul Wehner, author of the piece, goes on to quote both Graham and Metaxas on what they believe to be demonic influence on Trump's critics.

Then Wehner concludes this of Graham and Metaxas: ".  . .they felt compelled to portray those with whom they disagree politically as under demonic influences, which for a Christian is about as serious an accusation as there is. It means their opponents are the embodiment of evil, the 'enemy,' anti-God, a kind of anti-Christ.

"There is no biblical or theological case to support the claim that critics of Donald Trump are under the spell of Satan. It is invented out of thin air, a shallow, wild and reckless charge meant to be a conversation stopper."

How about if we all agree to judge politicians by their actions and policies and not by scriptural misreadings or by the language of spiritual warfare? Maybe even God would ordain that more rational approach.

(I found the image here today at this site.)

* * *


If you had a Thanksgiving meal yesterday, my guess is that it didn't match the very first Thanksgiving meal, as described in this RNS story. And if it did you heard such phrases yesterday as "Please pass the sobaheg stew." Somehow my family missed that yesterday, too.

Thanks, Merci, Gracias, תודה, Ευχαριστώ, Tack, Vielen Dank


For Thanksgiving today, I simply want to say thanks to all of you who have read my words over the years. I'm grateful to each one of you, whether you liked those words or not.

May your day be filled with gratitude, one of the true signs of what makes the world go around, love.








* * *


What is the author of this RNS blog post talking about when he refers to "the legacy of colonialism in religious studies" and how does it affect the study of religion today? Good questions. And the Sikh author of the post provides some interesting answers.

Can sacred texts be rescued from fundamentalism? 11-27-19

This past weekend here on the blog, I wrote about the Dead Sea Scrolls as a way of celebrating the importance of the written word, especially as that word has become sacred writ.

Lost-art-scriptureTo continue that theme, today I am linking you to this review of Karen Armstrong's new book on scripture. Armstrong, as you may know, has written lots of intriguing books about religion. I haven't read her new book yet, but I can almost guarantee you that it will challenge some of what you think you know.

The new Armstrong book is called The Lost Art of Scripture: Rescuing the Sacred Texts. The review to which I've linked you calls the book "a tour de force of the history of religions."

And adds this: "Throughout this 'history of the world' (limited by not covering Africa, North and South America), Ms. Armstrong emphasizes that the sacred texts do not simply provide a list of 'do’s' and 'don’ts' that are most often directed to reward and punishment in the afterlife. She specifically details and analyzes sacred texts that also call for a 'radical transformation of mind and heart' of the individual. This is what she means by 'the lost art of scripture.' The increased fundamentalist readings of sacred texts to validate bigotry and violence against others (the left side of the brain) demonstrates this tragic loss."

One of the theological disasters of our time is mentioned there: "The increased fundamentalist readings of sacred texts. . ."

No sacred text was meant to be read in a completely literal way. Such texts contain poetry, metaphor, allegory, myth as well as sometimes real history. They are stories told for a larger purpose. If you never get past a literalistic reading, you really never get to the meaning.

But such straight-line thinking is what drove the 9/11 terrorists, the bombers of abortion clinics, the people who murdered Jews in synagogues and black Christians in a South Carolina church. That's the kind of thinking we must find ways to turn around. Maybe books like Armstrong's new one and even my last one, The Value of Doubt, can help.

* * *


Some Sikhs in a small town in India are raising funds to help Muslims there build a mosque. It's a great and welcome example of interfaith cooperation in a nation with a history of that but a nation that in recent times has often degenerated into needless religious rivalry spurred on by Hindu nationalism. Maybe in return, Kansas City area Muslims might want to help the local Sikh community build its new temple in Johnson County -- a project I wrote about here earlier this year.

How not to miss the context of the New Testament

Well, Tom Wright is at it again -- speaking truth in fresh and interesting ways. Or, at any rate, truth as he sees it. And the fact that I often (not always) agree with Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright makes it easier for me to think of his way of putting this as truth.

New-Testament-WorldWright has just co-authored a new book (he does that, it seems, about twice a week) that looks at the context of First Century Israel and the life of Jesus in that time.

It's called  The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians, and is co-authored by scholar Michael F. Bird.

RNS did this piece that described the heart of the book (I haven't had a chance to read its 1,000 pages yet) as he presented it recently to a church in Chicago.

The focus of the piece is on Wright's understanding of what Jesus meant when he began his ministry by announcing that the "kingdom of heaven is at hand."

As the RNS report notes, "Both progressive and conservative Christians misunderstand what Jesus meant when he said the 'kingdom of God is at hand,' he said.

“'Actually, the kingdom of God at hand means God’s kingdom coming in unexpected ways on earth as in heaven — not away somewhere else and not destroying earth, but transforming it.'”

I  sometimes explain it this way: Jesus meant that the reign of God is breaking in today and we can experience at least a taste of what that reign will look like when it comes in full flower. How? By living lives of justice, mercy, compassion and love and teaching others to live that way, too.

So the idea of the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God does not refer (at least exclusively) to the sweet by and by of the afterlife. It applies to this very day and of our duties, if we're followers of Jesus, to demonstrate what the kingdom will be like when it's finally and fully here.

Which is one more reason Christianity is such a difficult religion to follow faithfully and well. It requires something of its adherents every day, something that's not easy to do.

If you run into people who normally give me a gift for Christmas and want to mention Tom Wright's new book, I won't object.

Oh: And if you want a recommendation for another book that helps you understand the context of Jesus, here's one I have read (more than once), The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, by Amy-Jill Levine.

* * *


On his trip to Japan, Pope Francis declared that owning or using nuclear weapons is "immoral." I wish the calculus were that simple. It's true that the U.S. is the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons in war. But the evidence is overwhelming that use of them saved more lives than it cost, though there you have to factor in the reality that the lives saved were mostly American while the lives lost were mostly Japanese. And then you have to remember that it was the Japanese who were the original aggressors. See how complicated all this gets? In a perfect world, everyone would agree that nuclear weapons are immoral. The problem is that, so far at least, we don't live in a perfect world. I like the pope's instincts but let's all recognize that he's aiming for perfection.

More bad news in the Catholic abuse scandal

Nearly the whole world is aware of the priest sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

Priest scandalIt's been appalling not just because children's lives have been severely damaged but also because bishops who covered up the abuse have damaged the credibility of the church itself.

Because the basic story now is decades old -- though most Americans didn't become aware of it until The Boston Globe brought it to light in 2002 (earlier work was done by The National Catholic Reporter) -- people not affected by it may not realize that it is far from over.

But just as good journalism brought the story to public light, good journalism is revealing what's happening now. And it's not a pretty picture.

In October, the Associated Press reported that almost "1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement. . ."

There's worse in the AP report: "These priests, deacons, monks and lay people now teach middle-school math. They counsel survivors of sexual assault. They work as nurses and volunteer at nonprofits aimed at helping at-risk kids. They live next to playgrounds and daycare centers. They foster and care for children.

"And in their time since leaving the church, dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography, the AP’s analysis found."

Then just a few days ago, a special AP investigative team reported this:

"Facing thousands of cases of clergy sex abuse, U.S. Catholic leaders addressed their greatest crisis in the modern era with a promised reform: Mandatory review boards.

"These independent panels with lay people in each diocese would review allegations fairly and kindly. And they would help bishops ensure that no abusive priests stayed in ministry.

"But almost two decades later, an Associated Press investigation of review boards across the country shows they have broadly failed to uphold these commitments. Instead, review boards appointed by bishops and operating in secrecy have routinely undermined sex abuse claims from victims, shielded accused priests and helped the church avoid payouts."

(The Catholic dioceses in Kansas City and St. Louis both get criticized in this report.)

It's shocking and inexcusable.

Which is not to say that the church hasn't done some things right in the scandal. Indeed, many local parishes now have training and other programs designed to help members spot possible abuse and report it. And some priests have been yanked out of their jobs and prevented from being alone around children.

But the AP reports are clearly disturbing and require a vigorous response from all levels of Catholic leadership, to say nothing of demands from people in the pews for an explanation of what has gone wrong.

The reality is that the irresponsible behavior the AP describes injures not just the Catholic Church but, rather, Christianity more broadly and religion itself. Who could blame people with an interest in finding a spiritual path if they turned away from institutional religion if this is how things work?

The church clearly has much recovery work to do. And each day it delays doing it puts more children at risk.

* * *


Although the news about declining church attendance in America and declining numbers of church members is old, this story gives a good and interesting picture of that in Alabama. What does it look like where you live?

* * *

P.S.: My latest Flatland column -- about how a Kansas City man has adjusted to life after his wife was murdered by a neo-Nazi -- now is online here.

Scroll down (or up) for a celebration of words


Depending on who is reporting the story, either Nov. 23 or Nov. 24 of 1947 was the date on which E.L. Sukenik of Hebrew University in Jerusalem first saw small pieces of the newly found Dead Sea Scrolls and recognized their great significance.

You can read about the scrolls and Sukenik at the links I've just given you, and I urge you to do that because the story of the discovery of them and how they made it into the hands of reputable authorities is fascinating.

But I want to use this subject this weekend to say just a few words about the centrality of words -- especially written words -- to faith traditions.

The first creation story in the Hebrew Bible describes how God used words to speak the whole cosmos into existence, starting with "Let there be light."

Eventually accounts of the people of Israel and their prophets were written down and came to be thought of as sacred scripture, sometimes called the word of God.

Similarly, the Gospel of John in the New Testament describes Jesus Christ as "the Word," a relatively weak but intriguing translation of the richer Greek word "logos." And, of course, the gospels and the rest of the New Testament eventually were recognized as sacred scripture by followers of this Jesus.

In Islam, some centuries after Christianity had divorced itself from Judaism, the beginning of the story also involves words -- ones said to have been dictated to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel over more than two decades. Those words became the Qur'an, Islam's sacred scripture.

Words matter in almost all faith traditions, sometimes a great deal, and not just in written form. In a traditional Catholic Mass, for instance, what are called the words of epiclesis (or epiklesis), are spoken aloud to ask God to turn the substance of the elements of bread and wine in the Eucharist into the substance of the body and blood of Christ.

And yet the truth is that ultimately words fail us. Words cannot fully capture the divine reality, cannot say all about everything having to do with faith. But it takes words even to acknowledge that words fail us.

One of my greatest joys as a writer is to find exactly the right word to use in exactly the right place for exactly the right reason. I just wish it happened more often.

But as a commemoration of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, let's do what we can to honor sacred words this weekend. You'll be glad you did. I give you my word.

* * *


A collection of Jewish organizations has accused White House senior adviser Stephen Miller of being a "white nationalist" and have demanded he be fired or that he resign. President Trump has hired a lot of incompetent people, but Miller may be among the worst  -- not for those reasons but for his repugnant ideas.

* * *

P.S.: I thought this article about the current troublesome state of religion in India might interest some of you. It's by my childhood friend Markandey Katju, a former justice on India's Supreme Court.

* * *

ANOTHER P.S.: My latest Flatland column now is online here.

Considering hate, 56 years after JFK's murder


Today, the 56th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, seems like a good time to explore the subject of hate crimes, which that murder surely was, even if it didn't then or doesn't now meet some specific legal definition.

JfkOne reason to get into this subject is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released its annual report on hate crime statistics, based on data from the year 2018. As this Religion News Service piece notes, "the FBI’s numbers paint a damning picture of hate in America: Anti-Semitic homicides in the United States reached their highest level ever; racially motivated hate against Latinos went up by 13 percent since the year before, and 48 percent over the past five years; anti-transgender hate crimes rose nearly 34 percent; and anti-Sikh attacks increased 300 percent over the past year.

"While reported hate crimes decreased slightly overall, from 7,175 in 2017 to 7,120 in 2018, the statistics show that the incidents had become more violent. Hate crimes targeting individuals (as opposed to property) rose to 4,571 — an 11.8 percent increase since 2017."

I'm at work on a project exploring how straight-line, monochromatic thinking -- whether about religious doctrine, race, politics or something else -- can and sometimes does lead to violence. We have seen example and example of what hatred can do to rip up families as well as societies.

The JFK murder forever altered American history in ways we'll never fully understand. For instance, there was some evidence that at the time of his assassination Kennedy was starting to question the nation's involvement in the civil war in Vietnam. If he had lived, would Vietnam have become the terrible dividing line it became in American culture and would it have cost us so much in blood and treasure?

We don't know. His murder has prevented us from knowing, but it's almost impossible not to suppose that the later distrust of what our government tells us might not have developed had post-Kennedy officials not lied to us about how we were winning the war in Vietnam.

In any case, the point is that crimes and other violence rooted in hatred inevitably violate the teachings of the great world religions. And at least in part it's up to those religions to continue working against any kind of hatred. The new statistics tell us there's much more to accomplish. And the JFK assassination anniversary (I was a freshman in college at the time) reminds us of the consequences if we don't manage to disarm hate.

(The photos above of Arlington National Cemetery and John F. Kennedy's burial site are ones I took many years ago and have kept because they spoke to me of final things.)

* * *


Faith communities sometimes are put in a position of needing to respond to catastrophes in their area. Which is what happened to a Baptist church not far from the recent school shooting in California, as this RNS story reports. It's a way houses of worship can be good community members, important parts of the social fabric. If they fail at that task, why do they exist?

* * *



The late Rev. Eugene Peterson, most famous for his paraphrase of the Bible called The Message, was also a really engaging Presbyterian preacher. Penguin Random House has just published a lovely little collection of parts of his sermons called A Month of Sundays: Thirty-one Days of Wrestling with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It's a daily devotional full of insight after insight. Why does John the Baptist preach in the wilderness, the desert? Peterson: "The desert is a sign of our poverty and the world's emptiness. It's a symbol of our nakedness before God and our willingness to leave all and follow him." And is Peterson a detached pastor or someone with real problems and emotions? Peterson: "I need to admit to you that I still get angry with the world and still become fearful in it. I get fits of righteous indignation in which I judge and condemn. I descend into moods of fear when all I want to do is escape. But I have learned not to make a religion out of my fear." The upcoming Advent season would be an excellent time to use this book as a source of daily meditation.

Sometimes religious beliefs are, well, just strange

One of the things that has long fascinated me about religion is the many -- and sometimes quite bizarre -- shapes that it's taken across history.

Strange-religionAnd, yes, I know there's an argument to be made that many worldwide traditional religions tell stories that seem bizarre to outsiders (and sometimes even to insiders). A parting of the Reed (or Red) Sea. A resurrection from the dead. A night journey to Jerusalem on the back of a winged mule-like white beast. And on and on.

But many odd religious stories turn out to be essentially harmless and even quaint and almost charming.

Such as: This BBC story tells of a faith community that formed in the United Kingdom based on a woman's belief that when Jesus returned to Earth he would come to Bedford in south-central England, just under 50 miles from London.

"Two centuries ago," the story says, "a 64-year-old woman called Joanna Southcott announced she was pregnant with the Messiah. She died in December 1814, months after making this bold claim. Inevitably, a post-mortem examination revealed there was no child."

Yes, but that wasn't the end of it.

In 1919, the story reports, one Mabel Barltrop, intrigued by the Southcott story, formed what was called the Community of the Holy Ghost (in 1926 renamed the Panacea Society). It "was a group of mostly women who believed Barltrop was a prophet and the daughter of God, and whose aim was to set up their own Garden of Eden in Bedford."

Barltrop, the story says, had learned about "the life of Southcott, who had predicted a messiah would spark 'the millennium' or the Second Coming in England. Southcott's various prophesies were kept in a sealed box, which she instructed must only be opened by a gathering of 24 Church of England bishops."

Well, the bishops never gathered to see what was in the box and the Panacea Society eventually died out a few years ago. But it left a good chunk of money. Today a charitable trust in its name uses that money for various good purposes and now also operates a museum that tells the Southcott-Barltrop-Panacea story.

Kansas City area residents also may know that three different faith communities believe the Second Coming of Jesus will happen not in Bedford, England, but, rather, in Harry Truman's hometown of Independence, Mo. So there's competition for the end-of-time event.

People seem to need to believe things that are supernatural or almost beyond belief. And often such beliefs lead the believers to live valuable, healthy and productive lives because their beliefs issue in moral behavior, in generosity, love, compassion, mercy. But sometimes, as in this Bedford case, it's hard to know why people believe what they believe and what difference it makes in their lives.

For instance, in the late Stephen Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time, there's the no-doubt apocryphal story of strange faith that goes this way:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"

Maybe it's turtles all the way down not to bedrock but to Bedford. Or maybe not.

* * *


Pope Francis is on a trip to the far east, including Japan. If I knew that he once dreamed of being a missionary in Japan, I  had forgotten that fact until I read this RNS story about the trip. Sometimes dreams take a long, long time to be realized, even if only in part.

* * *

P.S.: The people of Turkey under their current leader have endured a great deal -- and the oppression continues. I've written about that here in 2017 and, earlier this year, here. On Tuesday, Dec. 10,  which is International Human Rights Day, the Dialogue Institute will hold a Kansas City gathering to talk about what's happening in Turkey now and what people can do to respond to the outrages there. Details you need to attend this free event are here.

Why we need to remember the Nuremberg trials

On this date in 1945 (I was all of 10 months old at the time), the Nuremberg trials of 22 Nazi war leaders (and later of many more lower-ranking German authorities) began in Germany.

NurembergIf you think about the timing, it's shocking that the trials began just over six months after the end of the war in Europe. Compare that to the still-not-started military tribunal trials of the people charged with the 9/11 terrorist attacks 18-plus years ago who still are being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Six months vs. 18 years. What's wrong with that picture?

As this online entry by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum notes, "The Nazis' highest authority, the person most to blame for the Holocaust, was missing at the trials. Adolf Hitler had committed suicide in the final days of the war, as had several of his closest aides. Many more criminals were never tried. Some fled Germany to live abroad, including hundreds who came to the United States."

One of the things I have learned in not just reading about the Holocaust but also in doing research for the book that Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn and I wrote (They Were Just People: Stories of Rescue in Poland During the Holocaust) is that many survivors of the Nazi evil didn't want to talk about what they went through and often hid their story from their children and grandchildren until much later in life.

Indeed, it really wasn't until Raul Hilberg published The Destruction of the European Jews in 1961 that the world began to pay much attention to the Holocaust, at least after the Nuremberg Trials ended.

And in some ways it took the movie "Schindler's List" in the early 1990s to kick-start Holocaust interest and scholarship into its current state.

The scope of the malevolence was so massive, so unexpected, so incredible that it took time for the world to acknowledge that a modern European nation could orchestrate such an intentional catastrophe.

The question remains of how the German people could have been led to support a government that had as its goal the elimination of European Jewry. One of the answers is that Adolf Hitler outlined his thinking about this matter in his repugnant book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in the early 1920s and that most people ignored what was his clear goal. Here is some of what he said in that book malignant and pernicious book:

  • All human culture, all the results of art, science, and technology that we see before us today, are almost exclusively the creative product of the Aryan. This very fact admits of the not unfounded inference that he alone was the founder of all higher humanity, therefore representing the prototype of all that we understand by the word “man.” He is the Prometheus of mankind from whose bright forehead the divine spark of genius has sprung at all times, forever kindling anew that fire of knowledge which illumined the night of silent mysteries and thus caused man to climb the path to mastery over the other beings of this earth. Exclude him — and perhaps after a few thousand years darkness will again descend on earth, human culture will pass, and the world turn to a desert.
  • The mightiest counterpart to the Aryan is represented by the Jew.
  • Blood mixture and the resultant drop in the racial level is the sole cause of the dying out of old cultures; for men do not perish as a result of lost wars, but by the loss of that force of resistance which is contained only in pure blood. All who are not of good race in this world are chaff.
  • If the Jews were alone in this world, they would stifle in filth and offal; they would try to get ahead of one another in hate-filled struggle and exterminate one another, in so far as the absolute absence of all sense of self-sacrifice, expressing itself in their cowardice, did not turn battle into comedy here too.
  • It was and it is Jews who bring the Negroes into the Rhineland, always with the same secret thought and clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily resulting bastardization, throwing it down from its cultural and political height, and himself rising to be its master. For a racially pure people which is conscious of its blood can never be enslaved by the Jews. In this world he will forever be master over bastards and bastards alone.

I feel almost as if I should apologize for inflicting those words on you, but I hope you already know about them. Besides, we're in terrible trouble if we forget that a man who became the leader of a supposedly civilized and free nation wrote them.

The world had no choice to but behave in a rational, lawful way and convict the Nazi leaders in a fair trial as a way of demonstrating that this kind of putrid straight-line thinking could not stand. The sad reality is that today antisemitism is resurgent. But if we continue to try to teach our children about all of this, through such agencies as the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, we have a chance of unplugging this deadly anti-Jewish thinking.

* * *


A new report says the mainline Anglican Church of Canada won't exist in 20 more years if current trends continue. Does someone offer palliative or hospice care for faith communities?