WARNING! HISTORICAL REVISIONISM REVEALED
In my last article I gave a historical review on Holocaust/Shoah Denial. The question in my headline is an interesting one because throughout history we have seen examples on crusades and pogroms against the Jewish people, with a history of forced conversions to Christendom, persecutions, humiliation, defamation, discrimination and lethal violence.
– What it is and why evangelical scholars must categorically reject it.
The Holocaust, the effort of the German Nazis to wipe out the entire Jewish population of Europe, is the greatest tragedy that the Jewish people every faced. It is also a Christian problem because most of the perpetrators of the Holocaust were baptized church members, and the bystanders, those who did nothing to halt it or even to assist their beleaguered Jewish neighbors, as well were members in good standing of Protestant and Catholic churches. Unfortunately, there are people out there who claim the Holocaust never happened. For them to say that the Jews imagined or invented their tragedy is the most vicious and virulent form of anti-Semitism imaginable. It negates the shared experience of the Jewish community today and lays the groundwork for the possibility of another attempt at total destruction. Although Holocaust deniers may try to infiltrate our ranks, we as evangelicals must sound forth a firm and deliberate “NO” to all efforts of deniers to spread their pernicious ideas among us.
[Richard V. Pierard, Jewish-Christian Relations – Insights and Issues in the ongoing Jewish-Christian Dialogue. Read more in link below; “Jewish-Christian Relations.”]
IS THERE A CONCEPT OF A CHRISTIAN HISTORICAL REVISIONISM?
Deniers say there are no historical facts that this ever took place, as is the case of mass murders in an attempt to eradicate an entire people. Historical revisionists present one “proof” after another to demonize the Jewish people. What are the deniers “watertight evidence” that the Holocaust did not happen? It is known that Holocaust denials were common within certain groups in the United States from the end of World War II to present day.
One illustration comes from a feature article in Esquire Magazine, by writer John Sack. He is describing his experiences at an ‘international conference’ of the Institute for Historical Review at a hotel in Orange County, California. There he dined with a man from Alabama, Dr. Robert Countess, a Presbyterian minister and scholar of classical Greek and Hebrew who was a self-proclaimed evangelical. He had taught briefly at Covenant College in Tennessee and is a member in good standing of the Evangelical Theological Society.
“Countess was wearing a shirt that read: NO HOLES? NO HOLOCAUST! (This referred to a claim by the French denier, Robert Faurisson, that he had examined the ruined roofs of the infamous gas chambers at Auschwitz concentration camp and did not find any holes through which the cyanide pellets could have been dropped to kill the people in them. He therefore concluded that the Holocaust was a myth.) Earlier, Countess had declared in a letter to the editor in the March 1988 issue of the Seventh-day Adventist church religious freedom magazine Liberty that ‘current scholarly research’ on the Nazi era revealed ‘the extreme exaggerations’ of Jewish deaths. The number of Jews ‘not accounted for during the war period was at most between 300,000 and 1.5 million’…”
(“Daniel in the Deniers Den,” in Esquire Magazine, February 2001)
“…an article by Herman Otten in his magazine Christian News, dated May 7, 1990. “The outspoken Lutheran fundamentalist proclaimed: ‘The time has come for Christians to stop believing and promoting one of the biggest lies and slanders of the Twentieth Century.’ This was the idea that the Germans exterminated six million Jews during World War II and planned to kill all Jews in Europe. He said he was challenging ‘one of the most sacred doctrines in the world,’ the ‘Holocaust religion.’ Promoting this ‘hoax’ as truth was lying and was a violation of the Commandment not to bear false witness.”
(“Jewish-Christian Relations – Insights and Issues in the ongoing Jewish-Christian Dialogue”)
“The Holocaust is a hoax. The time has come for Christian scholars and pastors to recognize this and to stop perpetrating a hoax as the truth. A Christian is not free to believe and promote a lie about any person or nation. True Christian scholars should at least read what the Revisionists write…”
“…If Christians can accept as historical fact the Holocaust, despite all the powerful evidence that it is a hoax, what does that say about their ability to evaluate evidence? What about their scholarship? Is it any wonder that some Revisionists, who have made a careful study of the Holocaust, question the scholarship of Christians, so many of whom swallow as absolute truth what is clearly a hoax?”
(Herman Otten, “The Journal of Historical Review,” September-October 1993, vol. 13, No. 5. Otten is a Lutheran pastor and editor-publisher of the weekly Christian News of New Haven, Missouri)
Historical revisionists efforts have been supported of an increasing number of European neo-Nazis through the years. I can not help but see the resemblance between Holocaust deniers and the crusades that speakers and self proclaimed “experts” have done in recent years.
Now it seems that the old historical revisionism has been given a new Renaissance period, this time supported by the Evangelical Christian movement in the Western world. How do we explain this phenomenon? How is it that these Christian leaders have taken on the task of demonizing a group of people in society? The same arguments, rhetorics and tactics are here repeated as we know so well from anti-Semitism and racism.
Lively and his anti-gay law support, a clip from New York Times
“KAMPALA, Uganda — Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about ‘curing’ homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda’s capital to give a series of talks.
The three Americans who spoke at the conference – Scott Lively, a missionary who has written several books against homosexuality, including ‘7 Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child;’ Caleb Lee Brundidge, a self-described former gay man who leads ‘healing seminars’ and Don Schmierer, a board member of Exodus International, whose mission is ‘mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality – are now trying to distance themselves from the bill’.”
(Jeffrey Gettleman, The New York Times, January 3, 2010)
Scott Lively is an author, attorney and anti-gay activist. President of “Abiding Truth Ministries,” a conservative Christian organization located in Temecula, California. Along with Kevin E. Abrams he co-authored the book “The Pink Swastika” (2005), which states that “homosexuals are the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.” During his travels to Uganda and other countries between 2009 and 2010 he promoted his book in an attempt to encourgage countries to rewrite their criminal laws or to reinforce their laws in order to criminalize homosexuality. Death penalty for homosexual conduct was originally mentioned in the Ugandan legislative proposals.
Scott Lively is one of the most influential among Evangelical Christians who have sat as his holy crusade to declare war against gay people. He does not even hesitate to go abroad to promote his book “Pink Swastika” in which he enumerates lie after lie about the Shoah/Holocaust and about gay people and their alleged involvement in the Nazi war machine. He goes so far as to even deny that homosexuals were ever imprisoned in the concentration camps. His book bears clear evident traces of historical revisionism/holocaust denial!
THE CHRISTIAN POINT
In addition, we have the general view among Evangelical Christians, saying that the Constitution of the United States is based on Christian values, and should thus be included in contemporary national legislation. This would transform the United States into a theocracy and in turn reinforce the racist and discriminatory forces that is prevalent around the world.
A theocratic political system was already opposed by Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declarations of Independence, who “opposed orthodox Christianity and all things supernatural:”
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free excercize thereof; thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
(Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Danbury Baptists 1802)
“The Supreme Court and lower courts have used Jefferson’s ‘wall of separation’ phrase in major decisions upholding neutrality in matters of religion.”
(“Manhattan Declaration: A call of Christian Conscience”)
Excerpts from the Declaration;
“After the barbarian tribes overran Europe, Christian monasteries preserved not only the Bible but also the literature and art of Western culture. It was Christians who combated the evil of slavery: Papal edicts in the 16th and 17th centuries decried the practice of slavery and first excommunicated anyone involved in the slave trade; evangelical Christians in England, led by John Wesley and William Wilberforce, put an end to the slave trade in that country. Christians under Wilberforce’s leadership also formed hundreds of societies for helping the poor, the imprisoned, and child laborers chained to machines.”
Hm, we know that slavery was reinforced by the Christian church, that is a fact, not conspiracy. Still, it seems to be a huge interest maintaining Christian ideals within legislation. We know that even pastor Rick Warren visited Uganda in 2008 and has compared homosexuality to pedophilia. Rick Warren sent a video greeting to his Christian brethren in Uganda in December 2009, a video message explaining that he did not visit Uganda in order to defend the anti-homosexuality Bill (“Kill the gays bill.”) But we know what his and others intentions were back then! We are here already seeing these different attempts to distort historical facts, a kind of historical revisionism.
See the clip “Letter to the Pastors of Uganda” by Rick Warren
(uploaded by saddlebackchurch Dec. 9, 2009, YouTube)
“…homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right… “We shall not tolerate this aspect at all.”
(Rick Warren, Conference of Ugandan Anglican Bishops, March 29, 2008)
Also watch “Scott Lively misleading Ugandans on sexual orientation”
(uploaded by exgaywatch Dec. 22, 2009, YouTube)
“Nobody has been able to stop them [homosexuals] so far, I’m hoping Uganda can.”
(Scott Lively after attending a conference in Kampala, Uganda in March, 2009)
From history revisionism to oppression of certain individuals and groups of individuals (gays, Jews among others) bear clear marks of this discriminating attitude. As we have also seen in history, revisionists have clearly made connections between distorted “facts” on homosexuality and history revisionism as we see in the few examples in my article. All in an attempt to discredit a group of people, the gays this time. Here is more American support to Uganda anti-homosexuality Bill:
“Congressmen Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts have a lot more in common than just working together to strip reproductive rights out of U.S. health care reform. The two are also tied through an evangelical network known as “The Family,” which has dubious ties to at least two Ugandan leaders who are championing draconian legislation in the country that would institute the death penalty for homosexuality.”
(Change.org, Nov. 25, 2009)
As Political Research Associates puts it:
“For two days in early March 2009, Ugandans flocked to the Kampala Triangle Hotel for the Family Life Network’s ‘Seminar on Exposing the Homosexuals’ Agenda.’ The seminar’s very title revealed its claim: LGBT people and activists are engaged in a well thought-out plan to take over the world. The U.S. culture wars had come to Africa with a vengeance.
…teamed with two U.S. hatemongers from the Christian Right, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Dan Schmierer of the ex-gay group Exodus International.”
The article continues to say that Lively even tarred abortion rights as “a product of the gay philosophy” meant to promote sexual promiscuity in order to “destroy the family.” In sum, he warned: “U.S. homosexuals are out to recruit young people into homosexual lifestyles so they must be stopped.”
“Warren is especially influential on the continent, enjoying close ties to African religious and political leaders. They quote him to justify discrimination against LGBT people, and to support their challenge to U.S. mainline Protestants liberalizing their policies around gay ordination. ‘Homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right,’ Warren said during a March-April 2008 visit with African religious and political leaders in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya. That quote has reverberated ever since.”
(All Africa.com, The Monitor, “Gay Row – U.S. Pastor Supports Country On Boycott,” by Evelyn Lirri, March 29, 2008)
Here we see how a new type of historical revisionism is evolving. A thought experiment: if we replace the word “Jews” with “gays,” we will see a frightening example of the same old discrimination and abusive treatment of people considered less valuable in society. This is a rhetoric we are well acquainted with from the history. What is so typical is that this view of human beings have had such a huge impact within religions. History repeats itself, when will we ever learn…?
MORE OR LESS FAMOUS ANTI-SEMITIC QUOTES
“I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
“The homosexual lobby has been extremely effective in aligning itself with minority groups. It is ever present at the service each year for the Holocaust memorial, as if to create for themselves the image of a group of people under persecution.”
(Joseph Devine, b. August 7, 1937; Bishop of Motherwell and president of the Catholic Education Commission, Scotland, 2008)
“Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.”
(Bryan J. Fischer, b. 1951; Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association (AFA). Host of the talk radio program Focal Point on American Family Radio. Blog post, May 27, 2010)
“The Final Dictator will be a blasphemer and a homosexual …There’s a phrase in Scripture used solely to identify the Jewish people. It suggests that this man [the Antichrist] is at least going to be partially Jewish, as was Adolph Hitler, as was Karl Marx. …slaugher one-third of the Earth’s population and make Adolph Hitler look like a choirboy.”
(Pastor John Hagee, b. April 12, 1940; Founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas and founder and President of John Hagee Ministries. Sermon March 16, 2003)
“F**king Jews…the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?”
(Mel Gibson, American actor, to a policeman after being pulled over for DUI in 2006)
“When lawlessness is abroad in the land, the same thing will happen here that happened in Nazi Germany. Many of those people involved in Adolph Hitler were Satanists. Many of them were homosexuals. The two things seem to go together.”
(Pat Robertson, quote from “700 Club,” January 21, 1993)
“The only true Nazis in this world are fags. They want to force you by law to support their filth, and they want to shut you up by law when they hate what you say. They would be perfectly happy to make it a crime to preach that ‘God hates fags’ under the guise of hate speech legislation.”
(Westboro Baptist Church, ‘News Release’; November 24, 1996, “A black dyke! An abomination! Clinton & the Senate made her a U.S. Judge!”)
“[The Bible’s representation of the Jew:] The Jews were descended neither from God (like Jesus and the Christians), nor from Abraham but from the devil (John 8:44), and, as the children of the devil, the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning, they were bound to seek Jesus’ life.”
(“The Misery of Christianity – a Plea for Humanity without God” by Joachin Kahl, 1968)
Regardless of the origin of racism, discrimination and oppression, we must strongly oppose this inhuman trend in society. What is so striking is the similarities that we see between religion and revisionism, and how these two groups have embraced these historical revisionist ideas. What separates pastors and other evangelicals from people such as Faurisson, Irving, Farrakhan, Zündel, Weber and Rami? Regardless of whether these thoughts emanate from religion, politics or from criminal groups in society, we must continue to fight for all human beings equal value! One way is education!
• My article “Racism and Xenophobia”
• Southern Powerty Law Center: List of organizations designated as Holocaust denial groups
• Amnesty International
• Anti Defamation League
• Holocaust Research Project
• Jewish-Christian Relations
• Jewish Virtual Library on Holocaust Denial
• Southern Poverty Law Center: Essay The Holocaust Denial Movement
• The Nizkor Project: Are “Revisionists” Holocaust-deniers?
• The Vidal Sasson International Center for the Study of Antisemitism
© 2012 Jonathan Axelsson
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