Last week, during some of the race-related protests, President Trump famously held up a Bible in one hand outside of an historic D.C. church that rioters had set afire.
Actress Debra Messing (Will and Grace) then sent out a tweet, in which she showed Trump with the Bible and next to it she juxtaposed a picture of Hitler supposedly holding a Bible. She had the caption: “A dog whistle to white nationalists and Nazis.” She also declared, “This is no accident!”
Of course, the picture of Hitler holding a Bible is a total fake. Furthermore, putting a Bible in Hitler’s hands is totally incorrect on every front.
I realize that actors and actresses are not necessarily well-read when it comes to history. But it’s important to be clear about this. If there is any book that Hitler did not approve of, it was the Bible.
The leader of the Nazi Party rued the day that Christian missionaries ever set foot in his beloved Germany.
One of the best books on Adolf Hitler was written by the history professor and author, Dr. Richard Weikart. He is perhaps best known for his book From Darwin to Hitler. He also wrote an important book a few years ago called Hitler’s Religion: The Twisted Beliefs That Drove the Third Reich. What was Hitler’s religion? Short answer: Nature red with tooth and claw—not the Christian God by a long shot.
Just a few quotes from Weikart’s book on Hitler and the Bible show how ignorant Messing’s tweet was, not to mention deceptive.
- “Since Hitler was a radical anti-Semite, his characterization of Christianity as a Jewish plot was about as harsh an indictment as he could bring against Christianity.”
- “He saw the Old Testament as the antithesis of everything he stood for.”
- “He regretted that Finnish people’s religiosity was based on the Bible because it was permeated with Jewishness. According to Hitler, religious people like the Finns, who during long winters seek their religion in the Bible ‘must become mentally crippled’ and fall into ‘religious delusion.’”
- “Hitler lamented that the Bible had been translated into German, because this made Jewish doctrines readily available to the German people. It would have been better, he stated, if the Bible had remained only in Latin, rather than causing mental disorders and delusions.”
- The “Fuhrer” declared, “The idiocy of the Christian doctrine of salvation is for our time completely unusable….That even today one views the Christian doctrine of salvation as giving direction through a difficult life is completely incomprehensible.”
- “Many SS members followed [Heinrich] Himmler’s example and encouragement to withdraw from the churches, and Hitler lauded them for their anti-church attitude.”
- “Hitler harshly castigated Christianity for not supporting his eugenics and racial ideology.”
This is just a smattering of anti-Bible examples found in Weikart’s book, showing that Hitler had no tolerance for Christianity (although he sometimes hid that antipathy for political purposes).
Hitler denied that Jesus did miracles, that He was divine, that His death was anything but martyrdom, and that He rose from the dead. Hitler even denied that Jesus was Jewish.
I shared the article about Debra Messing’s ignorant tweet with Dr. Weikart (who has also written on the tendentious Trump-Hitler comparisons) and asked him if he would provide me a statement or two for this column.
Weikart told me, “Hitler rejected the Old Testament as a book of Jewish provenance, and he scorned the apostle Paul, who wrote about half the New Testament, as a sneaky Jewish rabbi who corrupted Christianity from its earliest phases. He liked a few Bible stories that corresponded with his worldview, such as Jesus driving the Jews out of the temple because of their greed, or Jesus saying that he had come not to bring peace, but a sword. However, he forthrightly criticized Jesus’ teaching about turning the other cheek. He also once stated, ‘The New Testament is full of contradictions.’ Clearly Hitler did not have much respect for the Bible.”
Furthermore, I asked Weikart if the German people prior to the rise of Hitler were steeped in the Bible—as many of them had been in previous centuries.
He answered, “Most German Protestants (and Protestantism was in the majority in Germany) by the twentieth century did not view the Bible as historically (or doctrinally) accurate, because they had embraced liberal theology, which denied that the biblical text was accurate.”
Of course, Messing’s silly tweet overlooks the fact that numerous U.S. presidents have been photographed holding Bibles. In fact, a photograph of Bill Clinton holding a Bible in front of the exact same church resurfaced recently.
It’s not surprising that the photo of Hitler holding a Bible in Messing’s tweet was fake. Hitler and his ardent followers had no use for that book.© Jerry Newcombe
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.