The Offensive Bonhoeffer Comparison

Many times I’ve reported about Christian right bigots comparing themselves to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian who was killed after a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Jack Jenkins at Think Progress points out why this comparison is so incredibly offensive.

First, there are obvious historical differences between Bonhoeffer’s context and that of today’s anti-LGBT Christians. Bonhoeffer assisted in an attempt to assassinate Hitler (the subject of a recent film starring Tom Cruise), primarily because the infamous Führer was actively coopting Christian churches in Germany for his own needs, seizing whole sections of Europe using one of the most powerful militaries ever assembled, and waging one of the bloodiest wars in human history with the goal of establishing a new world order based on the supposed genetic supremacy of white Germans. This in addition to Hitler’s overseeing of the Holocaust, the systematic murder of millions of Jews, Romani people, Poles, communists, and yes, LGBT people as a part of his “Final Solution.” This genocide was enacted by requiring Jews and others to wear symbols acknowledging their “non-Aryan” status, siloing them into ghettos, shipping them off to concentration camps, forcing them into gas chambers, and performing perverse, horrific medical experiments on Jewish men, women, and even children.

By contrast, today’s conservative Christians such as Scarborough are invoking Bonhoeffer because LGBT people are being granted the right to marry in the United States.

Regardless of one’s politics or theology, these two situations are not in any way equivalent, and the comparison is offensive on the face of it.

It all goes back to the fact that today’s right wing has Nazi Tourettes and their need to, sometimes quite literally, demonize their opponents. Everyone they oppose is Adolf Hitler. Every policy they don’t like is a precursor to the concentration camps. Allowing gay people to get married? Hitler! Giving poor people access to affordable health care? Hitler! Making such a ridiculous and obnoxious comparison should be a matter of deep embarrassment. The fact that it isn’t speaks volumes.

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  • raven

    Making such a ridiculous and obnoxious comparison should be a matter of deep embarrassment. The fact that it isn’t speaks volumes.

    To put it another way, fundie xianity is intellectually and morally bankrupt. They never miss a chance to prove it over and over.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    If fundies decided that they should murder all the Jews, they’d accuse those who would stop them of being just like Hitler.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    US fundies aren’t like Bonhoeffer – not when compared to Ted Nugent when Obama pulled Nugent’s rifle out of his cold, dead fingers!

  • wreck

    “By contrast, today’s conservative Christians such as Scarborough are invoking Bonhoeffer because LGBT people are being granted the right to marry in the United States.”

    But forcing a florist to sell flowers, or a baker to bake a cake, well that’s Just Like Hitler!!!

  • John Pieret

    today’s conservative Christians such as Scarborough are invoking Bonhoeffer because LGBT people are being granted the right to marry in the United State

    s

    Heck, even the creationists are jumping on the bandwagon. I bet you didn’t know that Darwin, along with engendering Nazism, Communism and just about every other political evil in the world, also is responsible for same-sex marriage! Fortunately, we have Nancy Pearcey, Discovery Institute fellow, to set us straight:

    Secularists claim that their view of same-sex marriage is an expression of respect. But surprisingly, the underlying worldview is actually a disrespectful view of the human body.

    In an earlier age, nature was recognized as God’s creation, expressing God’s purposes. Because our bodies are part of nature, the human body has a purpose too. The biological correspondence between male and female in reproduction is part of the original creation that God pronounced “very good” — morally good — which means it provides a reference point for morality.

    What changed this purpose-driven view of nature? Darwin’s theory of evolution: It was proposed expressly to eliminate the concept of purpose or design in nature. …

    As a consequence, engaging in homosexual practice requires individuals to contradict their own anatomy — to override the obvious design of their physiology, to act in opposition to their own biology.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/same-sex-marriage-is-disrespectful-of-the-human-body-christian-philosopher-nancy-pearcey-says-cp-interview-2-2-137422/

    So, if your biology dictates you are shortsighted, take off those glasses as you are “disrespecting” your anatomy! Got cancer, stop taking chemotherapy! If you’re sterile, don’t try to use technology to have children! But, most of all, if God, for his own “purposes,” made you attracted to members of your own sex, don’t dare to be “disrespectful” by loving the people you love!

  • Alverant

    Have they forgotten that Hitler was also anti-abortion and anti-gay, just like they are now?

  • Chiroptera

    I bet that there are still some living, very elderly European Jews who wish that Hitler had limited himself to just forcing them to baking gay wedding cakes.

  • raven

    same-sex-marriage-is-disrespectful-of-the-human-body-christian-philosopher-nancy-pearcey-says-cp-interview-2-2-137422/

    Natural law again.

    Natural law doesn’t exist. It’s just a Rorschach blot that means everything and nothing.

  • StevoR

    @3. Pierce R. Butler : “US fundies aren’t like Bonhoeffer – not when compared to Ted Nugent when Obama pulled Nugent’s rifle out of his cold, dead fingers!”

    Fingers? I thought that was outta Nugent’s cold baldy soiled stinking underwear?

  • abb3w

    Hm. They feel that the government recognizing gay marriage is an exceeding of its “just” authority; thus, the comparison to Hitler as the definitive example of government action exceeding authority and taking evil actions.

    The demonizing seems more to be a by-product of their inability to handle shades of nuance.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Place today’s gay-hating right in the context of Nazi Germany, and there’s zero doubt who’d they be supporting. And it wouldn’t be the July 20th conspirators.

  • sugarfrosted

    @2

    If fundies decided that they should murder all the Jews, they’d accuse those who would stop them of being just like Hitler.

    If you replace Jews with Muslims almost surely. They’re too eager to use Jews as a token religious minority.