Quoting Quiverfull: Hitler, Really?

Quoting Quiverfull: Hitler, Really? January 12, 2013

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.


Kelly Reins at Ladies Against Feminism “She Survived Hitler And Wants To Warn America” December 24,2012


I have been wondering about the sanity of promoting the idea that government employees (teachers) carry firearms while children are in lock-down (school) inaccessible to the their parents, for their ‘safe’ education. Teachers are in a difficult place. Families using government schooling are in a bind right now. Helping others reach a position where they are no longer dependent on the government is a very important work.

(The words of Kitty Werthmann speaking about life under Hitler)

“Then we lost religious education for kids.”

“Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school.. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,’ and had physical education.

“Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail.”

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Well, to be fair, comparing things to Hitler and Nazi Germany is turning into a moldy oldy. It’s so popular that it has actually created a new debate fallacy.

    Reductio ad Hitlerum, also argumentum ad Hitlerum, The Reductio ad Hitlerum is an informal fallacy that consists of trying to refute an opponent’s view by comparing it to a view that would be held by Adolf Hitler or the Nazi Party.

    Soooo, if someone brings up Hitler in an argument, it is perfectly fine to consider it worthless and tune it out.

  • suzannecalulu

    Exactly! Which is my point in posting this here. Godwin’s Rule..Immediately invalidates anyone’s stance once Nazis enter the verbiage.

  • But on the other side was Hitler’s overt speeches claiming Christianity:

    “For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.” -Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

    “It matters not whether these weapons of ours are humane: if they gain us our freedom, they are justified before our conscience and before our God.” -Adolf Hitler, in Munich, 01 Aug. 1923

    “We are a people of different faiths, but we are one. Which faith conquers the other is not the question; rather, the question is whether Christianity stands or falls…. We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity… in fact our movement is Christian. We are filled with a desire for Catholics and Protestants to discover one another in the deep distress of our own people.”
    -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Passau, 27 October 1928, Bundesarchiv Berlin-Zehlendorf, [cited from Richard Steigmann-Gall’s The Holy Reich]

    And this one, my personal favorite, which sounds so much like the current Religious Right rantings today:
    “We are determined, as leaders of the nation, to fulfill as a national government the task which has been given to us, swearing fidelity only to God, our conscience, and our Volk…. This the national government will regard its first and foremost duty to restore the unity of spirit and purpose of our Volk. It will preserve and defend the foundations upon which the power of our nation rests. It will take Christianity, as the basis of our collective morality, and the family as the nucleus of our Volk and state, under its firm protection….May God Almighty take our work into his grace, give true form to our will, bless our insight, and endow us with the trust of our Volk.” -Adolf Hitler, on 1 Feb. 1933, addressing the German nation as Chancellor for the first time, Volkischer Beobachter, 5 Aug. 1935.

    Naturally, the Religious Right and others, would like to bury all his speeches. They are too close to the rhetoric of today’s religio-political candidates for comfort.

  • The book “Hitler’s table talk” has Hitler saying strongly anti-Christian thing when he was already in power. By contrast, I believed that most of what you quote was from speeches to get him elected. Politians are known for speaking less than the truth in election speeches, as long as it will help gain them popularity with voters.

  • Is a stance really invalidated once Hitler enters the discussion?
    Granted, the majority of references to Nazis to bolster a point is not justified. Still, I believe some things could be learned from Nazi Germany. There are things they did – even before the slaughter started – that good people should not do. Perhaps more significantly, there are things they collectively failed to do which good people should do.

  • Hitler identified as a Catholic and there are tons of photos of him with priests, bishops, attending Catholic services.

    I agree there are things we could learn from that whole awful history but irresponsibly throwing around “Hitler” or “Nazi” to support your point isn’t the way.

  • Chakolate

    I think it is invalidated in the sense that invoking Hitler seems to make the invoker feel they have won the argument, without any additional discussion. “Hitler did it, therefore bad; don’t need no stinking other reasons.”

    If you can’t make the argument by showing how this might be a slippery slope, or how some could use this (whatever) to do (this bad thing), you shouldn’t be able to make it by invoking Hitler.

  • Sandy

    If you compare the atrocities of Nazi Germany, Russia, and Japan before and during WWII, Nazi Germany and Hitler actually come out sweet-smelling as roses compared to the other two.

  • A fan

    “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith. . . we need believing people.” (From Hitler’s speech, April 26, 1933, during negotiations which led to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of 1933.)

    Regardless of Hitler’s personal views (which I think still leave him a theist, albeit a heterodox one), the Third Reich itself was never about replacing religious belief with critical thinking. Instead it used state-sponsored Christianity as one of its greatest tools.

  • A fan

    So the only atrocity that matters is the top atrocity. If you killed the second or third-most people, we should always qualify that you weren’t as bad as the “winner.” Nice.

  • A fan

    But the question here isn’t Hitler’s personal religious beliefs, but the role of religion in the Third Reich. Even if Hitler didn’t mean what he said, it still shows that for its supporters, Nazism itself wasn’t exactly the secular belief system that the Right now tries to portray it as.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Your last sentence is entirely understandable but alarms me, nevertheless. Sometimes Hitler and Nazism are actually relevant to the conversation and they actually are important things to talk about–which is why people like Kelly Reins cheapening them to satisfy their own narcissistic victim complex makes me so very, very angry.

    My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor and, after 30 years of relative silence, she spent the last 30 speaking up quite a bit about her experience because she believed it was important that the world remember and learn–she recorded her testimony for a major archive and participated in a documentary and other projects to this end. When she died, I began to volunteer with an organization that works with survivors of genocide and their children and grandchildren.– they send me in to schools where I speak to groups of students about my grandmother’s experiences and my own experiences growing up with that legacy, and what I believe should be taken away from them. The attitude of the organization–which mirrors my own and my grandmother’s–is that we have a lot to learn from Nazi Germany and other oppressive and murderous regimes and societies. Looking at them closely teaches us a lot about bigotry, mob mentality, fear of the Other, and other things that lead to these human atrocities, and if we want to prevent these things from happening, we need to be vigilant about keeping them at bay in our own societies. Comparing some things to how things were under the Nazis, in other words, is NOT always off-limits to us. Sometimes we need to go there, even if it is uncomfortable for us. I believe this very strongly and I see it as a responsibility.

    But people like Kelly Reins and all the other people who see this history as a stick with which to beat anyone who disagrees with them or a way for them to delude themselves about being the Righteous, Downtrodden Underdog (Conservative Christians as underdogs, yeah right. Any public education=Nazism, SERIOUSLY???) ruin it for people like me. They make sure, if I ever bring up Hitler or Nazism, I will be frequently met with a lot of eye-rolls and the assumption that I’m being dramatic or trying to shut someone else down, instead of speaking up about something that I don’t have the option of not thinking about because I think it’s important and relevant. Thanks a lot, Kelly Reins. Thanks a lot for appropriating my family’s (and many other families’) history and exploiting it so that it loses its power when those of us who have actually spent our lifetimes thinking about what it means for people today bring it up. Thanks for making it so much easier to “tune out.”

    Calulu (and anyone else), again, your response to the Reductio ad Hitlerum phenomenon is completely understandable. But I would ask you to consider that this is not ALWAYS what’s going on when someone says “Hitler.” Sometimes bringing up Hitler is NOT worthless. Don’t be part of the problem that the Kelly Reinses of the world create.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Thank you, Retha. It means a lot to hear that recognized.

  • PP, people like your grandmother have earned their right to talk about Hitler and the Third Reich as long or much as they want. They have actual reason to do so. I wish all Holocaust survivors would.
    But when someone like Kelly Reins uses it in an argument for home schooling over public schooling then she cheapens it, hijacking something that should only be used in the most serious of discussions of racism and culture to make a silly point. I find that mightily offensive, particularly after discovery of the Jewish side of my family when an aunt was doing a family tree up seven years ago. My family that I always thought was good Cajun was actually Jewish, came from a place in Germany I myself ended up living for six years. After researching what happened to most Jews by that last name in Germany during the time of Hitler I’m pretty certain that I had family members that died in the Holocaust too. Which adds to my dislike of people misusing comparisons to Hitler and the Nazis.

    Sorry if anyone took offense. I didn’t explain myself well.

  • Chervil

    That’s so cool!
    It is disgraceful for these people to invoke Hitler as the slippery slope argument and it demeans what actual people actually endured. And it demeans the next generations, the ones who grew up with the phrase “never again” meaning justice, justice for everyone, everywhere, and have spent their lives not just hearing it, but living it. To appropriate the atrocities of the Shoah now to try to score one for your team is beyond reprehensible.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Calulu, I wasn’t offended by what you or Jaime said, per se. Like I said, I find it a completely understandable response, given how frequently the history of Nazism and the Holocaust has been abused. It’s just that I find that very upsetting. We seem to be pretty much in agreement though. What you said was pretty much the point I was trying to make, it’s just that I was making it from the perspective of somebody who actually does talk about these issues a lot. I am not a survivor, my grandmother was the survivor. But she is gone now and it falls to her descendants to continue in her stead, as she would have wanted. This feeling of a sense of responsibility is common among children and grandchildren of survivors, especially now, when so few of them are left and we know we’re it. Still, I don’t feel like survivors or even their descendants are the only ones with the right to speak up. Anyone who is a serious and thoughtful student of history and is treating the issue with the gravity is deserves should speak up. A personal connection gives a certain perspective but it is not a necessary pre-requisite for speaking up. It’s all in how it’s done–it’s not something to be taken lightly, which is why people like Kelly Reins offend me and worry me so much. Because they make it harder for us who don’t and can’t take this lightly. I think we see things the same way.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Wow…just wow.

  • Lucreza Borgia

    Nazi’s are trotted out as the ultimate evil almost every time there is a discussion on authoritarianism. To me, it ignores the fact that quite a few countries were just as bad, if not more so, in the same time period. There are no winners here, but let’s stop using only Nazi Germany as an example.

  • Lucreza Borgia

    Then again, I’m a history major who wanted to specialize in war history, so I see lots of various viewpoints when it comes to WWII. It’s very important to talk about the Holocaust and I hope you bring up how not just Jews were victims. I used to live next door to a survivor and would have dinner with him every high-holiday.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Oh, absolutely. My grandmother was very adamant about making clear that Jews were not the only victims and talking about the other people that were in one of the camps she was in. And the organization I work with deals with many perspectives on the Holocaust, as well as other events besides the Holocaust (ie. Rwanda etc). Pretty much its whole mission statement is about deriving broader messages and lessons about human rights and human psychology from these events, not just over-focusing on how bad one group or another has had it. I don’t have any respect for the latter approach–it accomplishes nothing.

  • PP I totally did not mean you and your family’s experience. This fallacy is 100% referring to people like Kelly Reins, who, while casually tossing the words Hitler and Nazi around, are actually invalidating the experience that many people endured under that regime. They are using the horrendous suffering of other people as a ways and means to win an argument. This is wrong. And reprehensible. People like your Grandma deserve respect, dignity, and honor. These clowns don’t have problems that could compare in any way, shape, and form with the suffering she endured. That is why what they say is worthless and should be tuned out.