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Austin Cline

Patriot Pastor Gets Holocaust Analogy Backwards

By February 4, 2006

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Rev. Russell Johnson led a group of 'Patriot Pastors' in Canton, Ohio, protesting things like the removal of the Ten Commandments from public places. He compared Christians standing by passively in the face of such events to Christians standing by passively while Jews were taken to concentration camps. Jewish leaders were outraged by the comparison, but Johnson got the analogy backwards.

Cleveland's Jewish News reports:

As the Ten Commandments, prayer and the Bible are removed from public places, Johnson compared Christians standing on the sidelines to churchgoers appeasing the Nazis during the Holocaust, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. Today’s Christians lead “Neville Chamberlain lives,” Johnson said, a reference to the former prime minister of Britain who signed a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.

“No rational comparison can be made between individuals who choose not to take a position on the issue and those who stood by idly while millions were slaughtered,” wrote Bettysue Feuer, ADL regional director, and Dan Elbaum, ADL area civil rights counsel.

The ADL is quite right that there is no basis for comparing the removal of the Ten Commandments with the Holocaust. If there is any connection to be drawn, however, it’s exactly the opposite of what Johnson claimed. First, the Jews weren’t slaughtered in a society where the Ten Commandments and Christian references had been removed from public spaces. On the contrary, the Ten Commandments were engraved prominently at the Palace of Justice complex in Nuremberg, the place where the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were first established.

Moreover, Christians weren't meekly silent when the Jews were slaughtered — they actively helped in every way they could. The Nazi Party identified itself as a Christian party and promoted a vision of “positive” Christianity. Most of its leaders promoted Christians beliefs and encouraged Christian piety.


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