Bryan Fischer and the Nazis: This is what I meant by vilification

On Monday, I wrote about the corrosive effect of the culture war on the real business of Christianity. In that post, I wrote

On the other hand, my great concern is that culture warring lulls people into feeling that that the cause justifies the considerable offense that comes with vilifying those the church yearns to reach.

As if to volunteer to be Exhibit A, Bryan Fischer helps define “vilifying” for us. On his American Family Radio program this week, Fischer, who erroneously believes the New Testament teaches criminalization of homosexuality) made the tired and discredited link between homosexuality and the WWII Nazis. He did not do this as an attempt at a lesson in history but as a part of his opposition to gays serving openly in the military. He did not simply comment on his moral opposition to homosexuality, teaching his view of the matter from the Bible. He vilified an entire group of people based on distortions of fact and the behavior of a few. Listen for yourself, transcript to follow:

So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn’t the Germans, didn’t the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals.

When Fischer says that Hitler could not find straights to be savage enough, he goes beyond even Scott Lively’s imagination. This is one clear example of what I meant by vilifying.

He followed up his radio performance with a column defending his views by quoting books by Lothar Machtan and of course, Scott Lively. Machtan speculates that Hitler was homosexual, although other historians have explored this possibility and most of them are skeptical. I explored the matter in this post and you can get a more objective look at the matter via the documentary Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis. I have a clip here dealing with Machtan’s book on the question of Hitler’s sexuality:

Note that the historians other than Machtan point out that there is no proof, no eye witness account. When Fischer confidently says that Hitler was an active homosexual, he misleads his numerically substantial audience. And he does so make a far more sinister point which he makes explicit in a column out today. In that article, he extensively quotes Lively’s book The Pink Swastika and echoes Lively when he writes:

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.

Regarding the specific claims of the Pink Swastika, I did a series of posts with the help of historian J.D. Wyneken. We found that The Pink Swastika took some historical facts, threw in a lot of wild speculation and simply overlooked disconfirming facts to create a false picture – one which Bryan Fischer summarized over this last week to support his culture war position.

Here are related posts in that series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The other side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO (See this one regarding Fischer’s association of American Nazis with homosexuality)

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

June 29 – The Pink Swastika and The Hidden Holocaust?

July 6 – The Pink Swastika and Hate 2 Hope (See this one regarding Fischer’s association of American Nazis with homosexuality)

Factoid: Fischer is a confirmed speaker at the Values Voter Summit.

  • Mary

    I am disgusted by the Bryan Fischers of the world and those who blindly follow.

  • Mary

    Does his logic also mean that if you like to wear brown shirts and listen to Wagner that you are as sociopathic as Adolf Hitler? No… So even suppose Hitler had homosexual tendencies it does not mean that all people with homosexual desires/orientation/experiences are such as he.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    “Factoid: Fischer is a confirmed speaker at the Values Voter Summit.”

    Fischer is the voice of the AFA on “Government and Public Policy” issues. The Values Voter Summit is the AFA’s primary policy conference.

    It would be accurate to say that while not all speakers share his views, Bryan Fischer’s position is the “official” position of the Values Voter Summit.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Oh, stupid me,

    Values Voters Summit is Family Research Council not AFA. So Fischer’s position is but one of the acceptable positions, not the official position.

  • David Blakeslee

    Regardless,

    when a member of the majority so distorts the members of a minority, and does it in the name of Christian apologetics…it is horrific.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    when a member of the majority so distorts the members of a minority, and does it in the name of Christian apologetics…it is horrific.

    It’s done all the time, with and without invoking Hitler.

  • Teresa

    Warren commented:

    Screwtape encourages his apprentice to foster devotion to a cause. This then takes him further away from the real encounter with God and the faith relationship. Indeed, if Wormwood’s human “patient” can put movements and organizations and crusading ahead of all else then he is of no real threat to Screwtape.

    It’s difficult for all of us wanting to grow in a loving, invitational, non-confrontational Christianity to keep ourselves, ‘right-sized’. How often do all of us play the game of “compare, compete, conflict, conspire, condemn and ultimately crucify the ‘other’”?

    I’ve found myself often ‘taking sides’: at one time being as far, far, far right as Bryan Fischer, only to find myself as far, far, far left as Lenin. Always the cause became my religion … never did I realize until lately that these causes, issues, ideals were destroying my spiritual life.

    Our response to the Bryan Fischer’s of the world should be, imo, one of deep sadness and sorrow. We need not join a ’cause’ that ultimately will have us doing the same thing that we’re condemning Bryan Fischer for … “God is on our side” type of stuff. Our causes and issues should always be subservient to our relationship to Our Lord.

    I think, from what I can tell, that this is what everyone on this blog attempts to do. It’s really tough to do, though, when you’re being attacked or calumniated … isn’t it?

  • Mary

    T,

    I agree.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Teresa,

    I agree that we need to keep sadness as part of our response to Bryan Fischer. He’s either allowed himself to believe nonsense or to speak what he knows to be untrue. Neither is a very healthy or happy place for one to be.

    There are plenty of folk who disagree with me about social issue or about scriptural interpretation. But those who are full of love never seem to feel the need to make up lies about me.

    I hope and pray that Fischer becomes so filled with God’s love that he just doesn’t have any more room for stuff like this, that his life becomes so meaningful that he can’t waste any of it on vilifying others, and that he is so saturated with the peace of God that culture war seems abhorrent.

  • Tim

    It is noteworthy that he makes claims that cannot even be found in Lively’s book, which is itself a fantasy. This stuff comes from his fevered brain.

    The other noteworthy item is that he is referencing Hitler and Nazi Germany in the context of the debate over allowing young Americans to join the armed forces in 2010. Now, even if one were to concede for the sake of argument that every one of his assertions about Hitler and the Nazis were true, what would that have to do with a discussion of Americans 18-25 years old seeking to serve in the US military 65 years after Hitler and Nazi Germany was erased from the planet?

    The only way it could be relevant is if Hitler’s homosexuality means that all gay people, including these American soldiers, are really potential Hitlers waiting to spring forth. Seven decades and a completely different country and culture don’t matter. The actual beliefs of these soldiers doesn’t matter. What matters is that their homosexuality means that they are either Nazis or potential Nazis. That is really the point of Lively’s book, although he never really comes out and says it, and the AFA makes it explicit here. Imputing to a whole group the attributes of the worst member of that group is the purest form of bigotry. That is the authentic face of Christianity today.

  • Jamie

    Dr Throckmorton, thank you so much for what you write here. Jamie.

  • Mary

    65 years after Hitler and Nazi Germany was erased from the planet

    They have notbeen erased.

  • Mary

    That is the authentic face of Christianity today

    Since I am also the face of christianity, I doubt one man’s voice or even the voice of a few are wholly (or holy) representative of christianity. There are more voices of good strong people out there who are trying to make a difference. Lumping “all of them” into one group is as unreasonable as those who put homosexuals in the Nazi category.

  • Teresa

    Timothy,

    Imputing to a whole group the attributes of the worst member of that group is the purest form of bigotry.

    I think all of us agree with this statement.

    That is the authentic face of Christianity today.

    I think Mary is quite correct in her assessment of your statement here. How are you any different, Timothy, than Bryan Fischer if you think all of us Christians are guilty of the “purest form of bigotry”? Have we misunderstood you?

  • Dave

    I can’ t speak for Timothy but I think it would be accurate to say that for many gay and lesbian people (especially those who do not attend church) .. words such as Bryan’s, along with the anti-gay happenings in Uganda, and the constant political attacks from certain people who name the name of Christ represent the only face of Christianity that these folks see.

    And for those folks who only see this face of Christianity… the message of the gospel is lost.. This is a tragic and sad reality.

    Lord help us to properly represent you… and see your face in our actions..

    Dave

  • Mary

    especially those who do not attend church)

    might be your best clue as to why you only see certain christians.

  • David Blakeslee

    It is an interesting phenomenon that pictures of Fred Phelp’s and his cult members have become the image that many non-churched use to characterize Christians, generally.

    They do not understand that Phelp’s does not submit to any established Christian sect.

    But as long as he exists…and people like Lively and others exist, they will be seen as the face of Christ…and Christianity.

    It is an interesting way to mobilize your base…make the face of your enemy (fundamentalist or evangelical Christianity) as disgusting as possible (Fred Phelps)…

    Merging the two…wins the argument without a discussion of the actual facts (Phelps is a cult leader).

    Lively…and his newly minted disciple, Fischer, however are fundamentalists. Will evangelical and fundamentalist leaders rebuke them?

    I doubt it…keep it coming Warren.

  • Tim

    I wanted to bring to the attention of Warren and other interested readers Scott Lively’s latest and most definitive statement on gays in the military and its relation to Nazi Germany. I think this statement speaks for itself, and I offer it with no comment other than the reminder that Mr. Lively is a respected source of information among conservative Christians in this country and abroad.

    From Mr. Lively:

    “The scenario I see unfolding if we allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military is an initial period of turmoil in which members of the services would attempt to show their opposition through the limited means available to them. This would result in a clamp-down by military authorities in an effort to force acceptance, accompanied by a sensitivity-training regimen. One or more incidents of violence against homosexuals, real or staged by the “gays” themselves, would ensure prioritization of the politically-correct policies, and justify pro-homosexual “affirmative action.”

    Next would come a severe drop in enlistments and re-enlistments, triggering the reinstatement of the draft. This would in turn begin a degeneration of the moral and ethical culture of the services as those with the highest personal values would be most likely to leave, being replaced, in many cases, by men whose motivation is to share a male-dominated environment with others of similar sexual proclivities.

    Whether or not a segregated service was initiated, a homosexual subculture of servicemen would form, characterized by intense internal loyalty and political ambition. Eventually, this “army within an army,” buoyed by pro-homosexual “affirmative action,” and the ability to act covertly (due to the fact that some would remain “closeted”) would come to dominate the services. What would they do with such power? ”

    http://www.defendthefamily.com/pfrc/archives.php?id=5535331

  • Tim

    Just a few quick follow-ups to my post above on Lively and to respond to Mary and Teresa.

    - On the Lively quote above, it comes from a longer piece that Lively wrote for Accuracy in Media, an organization that is well known and quite popular among conservatives, and conservative Christians in particular. This can’t be written off as fringe. The piece itself is entitled “The Nazi Model for Gays In the Military” and there is more Christian insight from Mr. Lively in the full piece.

    - To Mary and Teresa, I didn’t say that all Christians believe what Lively believes, although many do. I said that he is the authentic face of Christianity today. By that, I don’t mean that he has won a popular vote among Christians. I mean that his views most accurately reflect Christian principles as set forth in the Bible, which are fundamentally grounded in eliminationism. Lively is pretty close to the genuine article, although he cops out (at least publicly) when it comes to mass application of the death penalty. Given time, that mask will slip as well.

  • Mary

    By that, I don’t mean that he has won a popular vote among Christians. I mean that his views most accurately reflect Christian principles as set forth in the Bible, which are fundamentally grounded in eliminationism

    If that is your interpretation of the bible then so be it. The face of christianity as I know it to be founded in strict christianity is NOT about eliminating people. It is about grace and being welcomed into the family and body of Christ, sins and all.

  • Mary

    I think this statement speaks for itself, and I offer it with no comment other than the reminder that Mr. Lively is a respected source of information among conservative Christians in this country and abroad

    I know that the members of my bible study do not respect this man. To sustain a radio show, you need very little money, very little folks to follow you. Lively has lost a lot of his credibility in the last few years. He has a rope, he is “hanging” himself – albeit very slowly.

  • Teresa

    I mean that his views most accurately reflect Christian principles as set forth in the Bible, which are fundamentally grounded in eliminationism.

    Timothy, perhaps you could expand on this a little more, if you will. I don’t find Christian principles at all eliminationist, but rather invitational. I suspect your life choices have made you, in a sense, an eliminationist. Anyone who disagrees with your view, you would prefer to disregard … perhaps, eliminate.

    Are you talking about moral choices? All of us, no matter what source we use, make life choices based on what we view as right or true. We often don’t take to kindly with those that oppose our view. In that sense, we compare, compete, etc.; ultimately to eliminate. It’s quite difficult to get past that. Sometimes we shouldn’t.

  • Tim

    Eliminationism is not making moral choices or disregarding unpleasant ideas. Eliminationism entails the separation, removal, and eradication or extermination of those with whom one is in political, ideological, or moral conflict. It is can be a means to solve a problem or an end, or both. The term was coined in 1996 by historian Daniel Goldhagen, who was writing – appropriately enough – about Nazi Germany.

    Mary and Teresa, I am glad to hear that you are not eliminationist, but to the extent you are not, then that makes you less authentically Christian than Scott Lively. Eliminationism is at the heart of Christianity. Ultimately, the reason one needs to be “saved” by Christ is because the default outcome is separation, followed by removal either to permanent eradication or eternal torture. The gospel or “good news” is that you can be cleansed of sin and escape hell. But that only underscores that in the Christian moral universe, human beings are separated into camps, the saved and the unsaved. The former go to heaven where they, for some reason, spend eternity praising God (even though God is omniscient and thus already has perfect knowledge of how wonderful He is). The latter burn in hell. Matthew Ch. 24:

    ” 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

    It is ironic indeed that Lively tries to portray gay people as Nazis regardless of their actual political or moral views, when he worships a God who explicitly promises a Dr. Mengele-style selection process (“You to the right, you to the left”) followed by the burning of those on the “left hand,” i.e., the vast majority of humans who ever lived.

  • Mary

    Tim,

    No doubt studying the bible is a practice in interpretation and etymology. However, for me, the separating process is left up to God. It really is not my place to judge who is more closer to understanding God. I think we all miss the mark. And yet, we all try to pursue understanding everyday. every moment. I won’t argue your interpretation and simply state – that your particular scriptures you use to support your elimination theology is interpreted differently by me. And in the end, it is God who decides who stays and who goes.

  • David Blakeslee

    Timothy,

    Have you considered that the separation to the left and to the right and the subsequent damnation may apply to people like Lively and Phelps?

    Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    “Eliminationism”…so now you are using Lively’s trick, only now Christians are the Nazis and God is Hitler.

    Yowsa.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Some clarification…

    “Tim” and I are different people. I’m not sure that everyone is recognizing that. I always use my full name when commenting here.

    Perhaps it would be better to call him Tim and me Timothy and keep a distinction.

    I do not share Tim’s opinions about the nature of Christianity or what is authentically Christian. They seem, to me, to be contrary to the tone of early Christian writing and to the evolution of thought among the founders of the faith.

    I would argue that Christianity – in its earliest stages, at least – was quite the opposite of eliminationist. When there was conflict between dietary requirements and inclusion, Peter had a vision and out went the dietary requirements. When circumcision – the very sign of God’s covenant with man – came in conflict with inclusion, out went circumcision.

    And I find it perplexing that non-Christians seem to think that the good-news was about Hell. I find it even more perplexing when Christians agree.

    To me it seems pretty obvious that the good-news was about the fulfillment of (elimination of adherence to) the Law of Sin and Punishment, not that the Law had been slightly revised to have new rules. The news that God wanted personal relationship rather than rules-following was pretty good, I think.

    But that’s just me.

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  • David Blakeslee

    Timothy (k) and Timothy (tim).

    I am aware you are different people

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred
    especially those who do not attend church)

    might be your best clue as to why you only see certain christians.

    That’s kind of a cop-out on the part of Christians, if you ask me. Do Christians (or at least decent ones) only exist in church? Do they never live in the same neighborhoods as gay people? Do they go to separate supermarkets? I mean, come on, if a person goes through their entire life and never meets a decent Christian, there has to be a bigger reason than “they never went to church.” Because I’m pretty sure Christians aren’t supposed to sit in their buildings and wait for the world to come to them. I’m kind of reminded of the sermon I listened to several years ago where the pastor talked about good Christian friends who lamented they didn’t know any unfortunate souls they could help. The pastor pointed out more than one family that lived within blocks of these good folks and suggested that “not knowing them” indicated a problem.

    I grant you, there are also those cases where some people are so hostile towards Christianity that the moment they find out someone is Christian, they discontinue any further contact or turn nasty until said Christians wander away. So I’m not saying it’s strictly a Christian problem. But still…

  • Mary

    I mean, come on, if a person goes through their entire life and never meets a decent Christian, there has to be a bigger reason than “they never went to church.”

    Someone may have been very nice o you and you do not know they are a christian. They may have let you go in traffic, go ahead in the supermarket, overlooked an insult you threw their way. They may have saved your dog from traffic or help your kid at school or kept them from a dangerous person in a public place.

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