Saturday, December 15, 2012

"By and large, that 'what' was never the treatment of Jews"

"especially in an area with strong leadership, substantive resistance by clergy (and some laity) could be widespread; but still the issue remains over what was being resisted.  By and large, that 'what' was never the treatment of Jews but the church's own integrity to govern her life without state interference and immune from non-Christian or even anti-Christian state influences."

     Ephraim Radner, citing Kevin Spicer, Resisting the Third Reich:  the Catholic clergy in Hitler's Berlin (DeKalb:  Northern Illinois University Press, 2004).  A brutal unity: the spiritual politics of the Christian church (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012), 97n69.

"the willingness in numerous cases of clergy to oppose encroachments upon, for example, churches' right to independent teaching and decision making provoked a number of martyrdoms and what has traditionally been understood as the suffering of true 'confessors.'  Yet such risks were hardly ever borne by church leaders on behalf of the Jews.  It is not enough to attribute the churches' acquiescence before Jewish persecution to simply incompetent or desultory ecclesial leadership because examples of energy and clarity of vision were not lacking.  What was lacking was a particular focuswhat focus there was generally aimed at the chuches' survival rather than at the Jews as human beingsand the theological and moral imperatives derivative of this focus.  The Christian leadership, that is, paid attention to some things and not to others, a matter that is crucial to all moral and truthful decision making.  Leaders were given formal opportunities to decide on responses to key events and largely chose the path of nonresistance" (97-98).

Nazism was not anti-Christian

"as the researches of someone like Richard Steigmann-Gall seem to have demonstrated (although with not a little push back from some), the notion of Nazism as intrinsically anti-Christian is a gross exaggeration:  the self-consciously 'Christian' apologists within the Nazi Party were consistently strong, until near the end of the war, and were eager and often successful in integrating their Christian commitments, as they saw them, with Nazi policies."

     Ephraim Radner, citing Richard Steigmann-Gall, The holy reich:  Nazi conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2003).  A brutal unity:  the spiritual politics of the Christian church (Waco, TX:  Baylor University Press, 2012), 93.