Facing Tomorrow Like Yesterday - Part III
Nazi Germany worked its propaganda with the Roman Catholic and Protestant church as its bait to secure patriotic unity and loyalty. Hitler’s aspirations to rule Germany, and then the world, would necessitate cooperation and participation from the religious community. He gained the favor of the people through a multi-step plan that included faith based social services that were funded by taxation.
How did Hitler succeed in gaining acceptance by the church? How can a treaty be made with a religious organization? Treaties can be made with German churches because they are public corporations, not private ones. Being a public corporation allows the church, as Cardinal Lehman puts it, to “be outside the private sphere” without being integrated into government. Put less tactfully, this status means public money without public accountability.
EXCERPT FROM PROF. FRANCIS MESSNER’S “ÉTAT ET RELIGIONS EN EUROPE”, 2004.
“The practice of dealing with religious groups by means of treaties, (Vertragskirchenrecht) began after World War I when the abdication of the last Kaiser ushered in the Weimar Republic. The new Weimar Constitution separated church and state on the one hand , and made the churches self-governing on the other.  In order to bridge this gap between a religiously neutral state and religious groups which ran their own affairs [and many of Germany’s social services, as well], the government resorted to treaties. The power of the German churches was such that the state was obliged to negotiate with the churches over the laws that would govern them.”
“The treaty law which governs religious matters in Germany necessarily leads to different kinds of accords. When treaty law is applied to concordats or to other conventions concluded with the Vatican and its Pope, these are raised to the level of international law. By contrast, the accords with the traditional German Protestant churches, with Catholic dioceses or with other religious communities (Jews, Old Catholics, Orthodox, Methodists and even an occasional group of freethinkers) are merely accords under national public law.” This may sound a little confusing at first but now we can make sense of it. In Nazi Germany the churches were in charge of all the social programs offered by the state. This gave them power to discriminate.
AN INSIDE LOOK AT “FAITH-BASED” SOCIAL SERVICES IN GERMANY
“Having a religious organization become a state contractor, in essence becoming an arm of the state, creates an untenable situation on all sides. The lines of church and state become not just blurred, but erased.”
The lay people looked to the church for their help and guidance. The authority of the church supplied the direction and faith system the people should follow. Because of the power and influence the state and church wielded over its people, and controlled many aspects of the people’s lives, such as their jobs and family relationships tied to the church, the church could manipulate and then champion any cause they say is a worthwhile cause. An example of this can be seen in the Concordant signed by the Roman Catholic Church and Hitler’s Third Reich in 1933. Here are some excerpts of the Reichkonkordat explained:
“Put yourself in the position of a 1933 German Catholic as you read the text of the Concordat between Nazi Germany and the Vatican, the Reichskonkordat.
“The German Catholic Church has rescinded its ban on joining the Nazi Party. The Catholic Centre party has dissolved itself. [And Articles 31 and 32 prevent any revival of this democratic Catholic party which had opposed the Nazis.] In the Reichskonkordat, the Vatican has promised that German Bishops and their subordinates will be obedient to and honour the Nazi state (Article 16). It has promised that German Catholic educators will teach children patriotic love for the Nazi state (Article 21). It has requested and received the Nazi dictatorship’s promise to enforce internal Church decisions (Article 10). Cardinal Bertram of Breslau has called on Catholics to avoid all subversive or illegal (by Nazi definition) activities.
“How should you respond to the Nazi’s new nightmare state? Doesn’t the Catholic Church teach you to view Church officials as exemplary? Shouldn’t they be emulated? Isn’t the Pope’s word law, and didn’t the Pope sign the Reichskonkordat, an agreement with the Nazi dictatorship, that [in Article 16 contains this pledge for new bishops]:
“In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interests of the German Reich, I will endeavour to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it.”
The soul of the Roman Catholic Church was sold to the highest bidder, Adolph Hitler, to avoid losing its prestige and recognition. Cardinal Pacelli negotiated the concordant with Germany to protect the Roman Catholic institution. Later he became Pope Pious XII, a longtime friend of Hitler, and one who remained silent during the Holocaust as millions of Jews were slaughtered. In testimonies from Germans and others that lived in Europe, coupled with extensive historical information of WWII, there wasn’t a condemnatory whisper from the Vatican about the atrocities carried out by Hitler against the Jews. Franz Baron von Papen, negotiated the concordat on behalf of Germany. He faithfully served both Hitler and the pope, but escaped punishment at Nuremberg because his crimes were political.
TODAY IS LIKE YESTERDAY
Right here in America a recent development began in 2001 with an Executive Order by President George W. Bush. He created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, formerly the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI). The initiative sought to strengthen faith-based and community organizations and expand their capacity to provide federally-funded social services, with the idea having been that these groups were well-situated to meet the needs of local individuals. Many organizations leaped to join forces with the Government to draw from its financial well. In so doing many had to take the initial step towards compromise. Faith-based organizations are eligible to participate in federally administered social service programs to the same degree as any other group, although certain restrictions on FBOs that accept government funding have been created by the White House to protect separation of church and state, they claim.
• They may not use direct government funds to support inherently religious activities such as prayer, worship, religious instruction, or proselytization.
• Any inherently religious activities that the organizations may offer must be offered separately in time or location from services that receive federal assistance.
• FBOs cannot discriminate on the basis of religion when providing services.
For example, if a Church group desires to counsel alcoholics and receive government funds they must submit to a governmental recognized treatment as the only means to secure federal funding. Therefore, in order for an organization that embraces Jesus Christ as the solution to man’s problem of sin and means of deliverance, they must be willing to teach and instruct addicts to use a 10 step program, or something similar. Here’s my point, the government sets the policy and only supply’s funds to those who promote the government’s solutions. The door opened and the camel’s nose is now in the tent. Next month we’ll show you more of the camel, with the modern church on its back.