Thursday, February 11, 2010

Religious Bigotry and Nazi Nonsense

To score easy debating points by hitting below the belt, just compare your opponents to Nazis.  Transform the folks you disagree with into goose-stepping personifications of evil.

That’s the strategy of right wing religious leaders that include four Roman Catholic Bishops and evangelical hotheads like James Dobson of “Focus on the Family,” who are now circulating a petition called the Manhattan Declaration, comparing those who support gay marriage and women’s reproductive freedom to Nazis.

The manifesto equates “those who today assert a right to kill the unborn, aged and disabled” with the ideologues of the Third Reich who advocated eugenics to build a master race.

The Catholic signers include Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville—all very reverend, no doubt.

But wouldn’t it have been more appropriate for the Roman Catholic hierarchy to denounce the Nazis when Adolph Hitler was actually in power?  During World War II, our current pontiff, Benedict XVI, was a member of the Hitler Youth.  And according to Shira Shoenberg of the American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, “For much of the war,” Pius XII, the reigning pope at the time, “maintained a public front of indifference and remained silent while German atrocities were committed.”

So when actual Jews were being gassed, the Church was silent.  When homosexuals were being rounded up and put in Dachau, the Church was silent.  But when gay marriage is has become a viable prospect on the political landscape, the Church has finally found its moral voice.

All in all, not one of Christianity’s finer moments.

1 comment:

Holly Jones said...

There is a popular internet law, called "Godwin's Law", which notes that the longer a discussion grows, the more the probability of someone being compared to Hitler approaches 1. There's also a cheeky form of logical fallacy known as, "reductio ad Hitlerum". Both to be frowned upon. :D