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The War on God and Thanksgiving

November 26, 2007

The War on God was a book written in the 1930s describing the state of religious faith in Germany. The book not only describes the hatred which the still young Nazi government and party had for Christianity, but more importantly it described how Christianity had declined in Germany before the Nazis came to power. This opinion was reflected in many other books written during this period by other observers from free democracies writing about the condition of Germany before and after the Nazi rise to power.

Why does that matter to us today? Because what we are witnessing in America is very much like what the world witnessed in pre-Nazi Germany during the 1920s and 1930s. There have been several theories put forth about how Hitler came to power. The Germans were angry over the unfairness of the Versailles Treaty (true). The Depression greatly disrupted German life (true). The Nazis proposed a "soak the rich" radical socialism which appealed to other extreme Leftists (true). Hitler and Goebbels were brilliant propagandists who would say anything to get votes (true).

All this explains why a discontented party gained power in Germany, but it does not explain the moral horror of Nazism. Second only to Bolshevism, Nazism was the most immoral political system that the world had ever seen. Tyrants had grabbed power before in times of despair, but their excesses were trite compared to Nazi evil. Why?

Consider the condition of Germany before the Nazis came to power. Music was considered to be atonal, ugly and strange. Art and entertainment were decried as "sickening" by outside observers. Abortion was commonplace. Sex was not just casual but vicious. Entire high school graduating classes of German girls demanded, upon graduation, that the school principal supply them with birth control devices. Weird cults flourished. How did Germany get into this sad state?

The culture had turned sharply against God. In Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, only five percent of the population went to church. In Prussia, the largest state in Germany, that figure was only twenty percent. Millions of Protestants and hundreds of thousands of Catholics formally renounced their Christianity in the years between Versailles and Hitler gaining being chosen as Chancellor. Writers at the time said that in Weimar Germany churches had become "spiritual cemeteries" and that even rural areas were full of empty churches. Was this something prompted by the Great War? No. Price Collier, in his 1913 book, Germany and the Germans, notes that before the First World War began, Germans had lost all living faith and considered themselves little gods.

Does this sound familiar? Abortion? Sick entertainment? Adolescent promiscuity? Music that is anything but music? Vicious and impersonal sexuality? The dying or silencing of faith? If this does not sound familiar, then you must be living on the moon. The war on truth, on values, and on faith is the most conspicuous fact of modern culture. And underlying that war now and then in Weimar Germany is a profound sense of thanklessness.

Germany in 1930 had excellent health care and advanced science and technology. It had social safety nets (indeed, it invented the social safety net.) Its economy was the largest in Europe. And, although defeated in the Great War, Germany had recovered from that defeat by 1930.

America today is comfortable, safe, sophisticated and prosperous. What any American ought to feel is what the Germans of 1930 ought to have felt: thankfulness - thanksgiving to God, to those who preceded us and through whose blood and sweat we have America, and thankfulness that we have been born here, instead of having to trek through deserts like millions of Mexicans to get here.

But Thanksgiving, almost by definition, requires a sense of humility and inferiority. None of us "deserve" our good lives: it has been given to us by God or, if you are not theistically inclined, it has been earned for us by men like Washington and Jefferson. The sense of how good life is for us is a powerful tonic to the bile of leftist whining, pontificating on minutia, lying and destroying.

A radical Leftist like Hitler could never have come to power if the German people had been thankful for all that they had. A radical Leftist like Hillary can never come to power if the American people are thankful for all that they have. So this Thanksgiving, yell from the rooftops how thankful we are to be here, right now, where we are, in America.

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Copyright ©2007 Bruce Walker

Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.