Independence Day

It seems like such a long time since the Great British crown had rule over the 13 North American colonies, and the growing hostility against the British colonial rule escalated into an eight year conflict, despite the ‘Declaration of Independence‘ being drafted by ‘Thomas Jefferson‘ in 1776, the fighting started in 1775 and didn’t resolve until 1783. Initially the small minority who desired independence was so few they were considered radical and a little odd, but as tensions grew, fighting escalated, France joined in supporting the colonists, and propaganda began to spread, more and more grew in favour of the break away from British rule. ‘Thomas Paine‘, who was a British born colonist, and an influential Deist, drafted up a pamphlet titled ‘Common Sense’ who’s intention was to put forward desirable arguments for the support of Independence, and is considered the key motivator for the American Revolution, as well as British Parliament forcing taxes upon them, when they had no representation there.

“Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first immigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.” – Thomas Paine

Powerful words, I’m sure you’ll agree, and it’s no wonder the colonists reflected upon what was written and quickly gathered in numbers to revolt. In the summer of 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies gathered at ‘Continental Congress in Philadelphia‘ to decide to dissolve any political connection between America and Great Britain, and this was the birth of the ‘United States of America‘. On July the 1st the agreement was voted 12/13 with New York not submitting a vote. Upon reading Jefferson’s draft, the voting changed with 9/13 with two voted no, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, Delaware undecided and New York remained uninvolved. Widespread mock funerals of ‘King George III‘ were celebrated throughout the summer to symbolise their revolt against a British rule, and what many colonists considers tyranny. It wasn’t until four days later, on the 8th July, that the declaration was read publicly at ‘Philadelphia’s Independence Square‘. It wasn’t until 94 years later that Congress signed a law stating that Independence Day would become a national holiday.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” – Thomas Jefferson Declaration of Independence 1776

What’s interesting is the wording, and how many Americans celebrate the Independence, despite not agreeing with, or respecting what’s written on the draft. America is far from considering equality a priority, and if every man is created equal, then every man is entitled to liberty and happiness, and that shouldn’t matter what your allegiances are with regarding religion, racial, political or sexual. It seems to me that the ‘Declaration of Independence’ was written by people who understood what liberty actually means, as liberty is about living freely without restrictions on your life. Also the draft refers to the creator as nature’s god, and anyone who’s familiar with the meaning of that knows that it refers to Deism, where the creator doesn’t influence, or have any involvement in its creation. Many Americans believe that their country was founded on the belief of the Christian god, but this is as uncertain as it can be, and it’s recognised that at the time of the Declaration, there was a big insurgence of Deism throughout the colonies. Deism accept that a creator made everything, but leaves nature to rule its course. This is known as natural law, and Deism came about in the ‘Age of Enlightenment‘ where the scientific theory was acknowledged. Thomas Jefferson was known to be quite a strict Deist, and opposed to the supernatural and regarded it as ridiculous, and there are claims that he cut out the supernatural parts of the Bible, which has been coined as the ‘Jefferson’s Bible’. So, by all accounts, the founding father’s didn’t create America with the Christian god in mind, but try telling them that, and see where it gets you.

Adolf Hitler: atheist or fanatical religious cultist?

This is perhaps one of the most debated topics between theists and atheists seen on social media, and Christians always claim he was an an atheist as no true Christian would perform the atrocities that Hitler, and his devout followers were responsible for, but people who think using logic and rationality know full well that’s far from the truth, and many leaders have killed in the name of their god for political gain. It’s pure ignorance to not acknowledge this. In all fairness, the only person who truly knows what Adolf Hitler’s religious views were are Hitler himself, but he’s dead, so the only option we have is to obtain facts through reliable sources. I’ve written a few articles previously that touched upon Hitler, and the Nazi party’s religious beliefs, and I shall amalgamate them into this article, and add to it.

Adolf Hitler (20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945)

‪Adolphus Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, in Braunau am Inn, an Austrian town beside the Austro-German border. He would ultimately become the chancellor of Germany from 1933, and become the dictator of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NAZI) and was known as Der Führer, but let’s take a step back and start at the beginning. At the time of his birth, Austria was the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and was predominantly German speaking, and the population of Jews was approximately 2,000,000, and tensions were high with the Christian Social Party, who were an antisemitic, Catholic nationalist party, who were considered one of the key influences for Hitler’s Nazism. The vast majority of people in the Austro-Hungarian Empire were Catholic, with Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, Judaism and Islam making up the rest. A small minority were pagans, and barely anyone openly admitted atheism, as it simply wasn’t accepted in society as everyone was expected to adhere to a faith.‬

‪Adolf’s father was born out of wedlock, Alois Schicklgruber, changed his name to Alois Hitler, and Adolf was born from Klara Pölzl,‬ Alois’ third wife. She was deeply devout in her a Catholic religion, and regularly attended church with her children, and on her deathbed in 1907, where she had terminal breast cancer, she concluded that her fate was god’s will. Her death was extremely traumatic and had a lasting impression on her 18 year old son. Hitler tried to get into the Academy of Arts in Vienna due to his dreams of being a painter. One of his most prized and famous paintings was that of Mary and baby Jesus.

Mother Mary with the Holy Child Jesus Christ

He failed the exam and started to paint watercolours of Vienna to earn enough money to move to Munich in 1913. Hitler found himself interested in politics from a young age and paid particular interest to German racist nationalism propagated by politician Georg von Schönerer. It wasn’t until the outbreak of the Great War (World War one) that he found his purpose in life. In 1923 he attempted to seize power in Munich and was jailed. During the imprisonment he started writing his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle).

After his release he gained support for his promotion of Pan-Germanism, anti-semitism and anti-communism. Hitler was appointed as Chancellor and leader of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei on 30/01/33. He immediately started to create his Nazi Germany with one political party pushing National Socialism (Nazism), promoting antisemitism & anti-communism, and promoted his idea of the Third Reich: Nazi Germany and its regime from 1933-45. The First Reich was the medieval ‘HOLY’ Roman Empire, which lasted until 1806. The Second Reich included the German Empire from 1871-1918. Christianity had an active involvement in the Nazi party, and how, especially in the Catholic Church the involvement went all the way to the top, and even the Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli) never condemned their actions, and met Hitler on several occasions, and signed the Reichskonkordat, which was treaty between the Nazi party, and the Vatican when he was the Cardinal Secretary of State, before he became the Pope.

Nazi Third Reich belt buckle ‘God with us’

Christian apologists use desperate measures to try and make society believe that the Catholic Church wasn’t in bed with the emerging Nazi party, in the 1930s, previous to the events of World War II, but it’s been covered by many historians, and especially in the book ‘Hitler’s Pope’ by John Cornwell. Scholars have researched, and studied Nazi records, and it’s been clarified that the non-religious played next to no part other than victims of the Axis forces. At the time of the rise of the Nazi party, the majority of Germany was of some branch of Christian faith, and most of them were strong supporters of Hitler and his values. The support from Christianity and its churches continued even after Germany started World War II, and the true nature of the cruel dictatorship came to light. The only way that fascism could rise to power, was through support, but why did it gain support in Germany, Italy and other European countries that were predominantly Christian? In Germany 2/3rds were Protestant Christian and the rest Catholic leaving a tiny percentage adhering to paganism.

“We demand the freedom of all religious confessions in the state, insofar as they do not jeopardize the state’s existence or conflict with the manners and moral sentiments of the Germanic race. The Party as such upholds the point of view of a positive Christianity without tying itself confessionally to any one confession. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit at home and abroad and is convinced that a permanent recovery of our people can only be achieved from within on the basis of the common good before individual good.” – Excerpt from the Nazi Party Platform of 1920

Johan Heinrich Ludwig Müller, was a Prussian member of the Nazi party, and was a prominent member of the ‘German Christian’ movement, which was a sect of the German Evangelical Church (Deutsche Evangelische Kirche), where he became Reichsbischof (Reich Bishop). The ‘German Christian’ were associates with Positive Christianity (Positives Christentum) which was a combination of Nazi ideology and Christianity with an obsession with ‘Christ Killers’, who were Jews. They encouraged Christian anti-Semitism which became responsible for the Holocaust, and wish to ‘de-Judaize’ the Bible and refused to accept that Jesus was a Jew and believed that he was the first true Aryan.

‪I have not tolerated an atheist in the ranks of the SS. Every member has a deep faith in God, in what my ancestors called in their language Waralda, the ancient one, the one who is mightier than we are.‬” – Heinrich Himmler Reichsführer SS

In Europe from the start of the 20th century, the Jews were seen as being materialistic, and supporters of modernism, which angered both Catholics and Protestants and enforced anti-semitism, and the Germanic nations began to consider the Jews as a curse. Many agreed with Müller that Jesus was the first true Aryan soldier who was put on earth to cleanse it of Jews, and that the Aryans are the only real humans that are descendants of Adam and Eve. Hitler himself said in several speeches that he was continuing God’s work in his fight against the Jews. The term Untermensch became a common way for the German population to describe the Jews, which means ‘Subhuman’. The anti-semitism in Germany was so strong that they considered the Jews to be children of Satan, and like vermin, they needed to be exterminated. Even as Jews were taken from their homes and taken to Nazi death camps, the support from the common German remained strong. Germanic Aryanism was described as the Volkisch movement, and Joseph Goebbels, who was Hitler’s close friend, and the minister of Propaganda, publicly stated that if the Nazi party had adopted this ideology sooner, then they’d have gained power after Germany’s defeat in World War I.

“What does Christianity mean today? National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel.” – Joseph Goebbels Nazi Propagandist

The Nazi party gained much support from the German nationals because they were scared of democracy which brought secularism, and with Communism also spreading around Europe, fascism was Germany’s defence against its influence. Many of the high ranking Nazis were born into Catholic households, were baptised and attended churches regularly. Adolf Hitler went to school at a Monastery, and found the power the priests had to be intoxicating, and according to some scholars he even considered priesthood before his interest in politics began. In 1933 he gave a speech to the Reichstag where he said that ‘Christianity was the “foundation” for German values’, which received a standing ovation. Obviously the Nazi party used propaganda, and perhaps some of Hitler’s speeches were designed to touch the hearts of the listeners, but it cannot be denied that the 60,000,000 inhabitants of Germany, as a majority supported Hitler and the Nazi party. Germany became a socialist, nationalist state, and the people who lived there couldn’t have been prouder of that fact. To be fair, if any dissent towards the Nazi party came to light, the Nazi secret police, the Gestapo were quick to respond, and often the consequences weren’t favourable, and this led to fear being one of the reasons the church stayed in line, but even despite this, many top theologians continued to openly support the ideology of the Nazi party.

“Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has 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.” – Adolf Hitler

The youth of Germany as a whole supported the Nazi regime, and the majority of university lecturers, and theologians promoted Nazi ideology to the students. The German population wished for Germany to rise to a strong nation again, after their decline after the Great War (World War I), and by allowing Hitler to rise to power, in the mind’s of the voters, this would become a reality. Franz von Papen, who became chancellor of Germany in 1932, was born into an aristocratic Roman Catholic family, and he remained devout his entire life. Due to little support from the Reichstag, Papen had no option but to resign, and helped convince the German president, Paul von Hindenburg, to appoint Hitler as the new German chancellor in 1933.

‪”God gave the savior to the German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he [Hitler] was sent to us by God to save Germany.” – Hermann Göring Geheime Staatspolizei‬

‪”We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race. The party as such represents the point of view of a positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession. It fights against the Jewish materialist spirit within and without, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our folk can only come about from within on the principle” – Point 24 of the ‪National Socialist German Workers’ Party‬

Even after the war ended, many religious leaders refused to take accountability for their support of the Nazi brutality, and openly encouraging the Nazi uprising, and some never, ever showed remorse or acknowledged their guilt. It’s true that as the war effort continued, and more atrocities and brutality occurred, the churches’ support declined, but the damage had already been done by then. Religious leaders, politicians and the general public as a majority supported Hitler’s rise to power, and accepted his totalitarian dictatorship, and the brutality of the Nazi party, the Schutzstaffel (SS), and the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo). Whether a large number of them regretted their allegiance is probable, but not forgivable. Christianity allowed, and supported the rise of the Nazi party, and are complicit in the butchering of Jews. Apologists insist that Germany, and the Nazi party were predominantly atheist, and this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Religious groups looked to the regime to rid Germany of non-theism, and the traditionalists despised leftist, liberal and secularist ideologies.

Church bell in Herxheim am Berg ‪”Everything for the Fatherland — Adolf Hitler.”‬

In 1933 there was a vote by the Protestants, and two thirds of them were in favour of the churches combining into one ‘German Christian’ sect, and Müller was chosen to lead them, and history states that the racial Nazi ideology that we are all aware of was implemented into the Christian faith of Germany. Christianity clearly had no concerns with racism, and Christianity forced non-Aryans out of representing the churches and attending them. It can’t be disputed that Hitler’s religious methods and beliefs were unorthodox, but because they don’t comply with your traditional Christian methods, doesn’t mean that his beliefs are to be refuted and replaced with atheism.

Mother’s Cross of Honour

‪”The Führer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race. This can be seen in the similarity of their religious rites. Both (Judaism and Christianity) have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end they will be destroyed. The Führer is a convinced vegetarian on principle.‬” – Joseph Goebbels

Adolf Hitler became increasingly critical of standard Christianity, but he was also extremely critical of atheism, something that many of the Nazi party sympathised with. In all seriousness, Hitler behaved like a White supremacist, right wing, megalomania fuelled, narcissistic cult leader, who wanted to create his own religion that was founded on Christianity, but with the Jewish elements removed and replaced with Aryan. After the attempted assassination attempt in 1944, he publicly declared that he survived because of divine providence, which was god intervening so he could continue to pursue his work. So to conclude, the evidence suggests that not only was Hitler not an atheist, but he was also not a Christian, but he believed in god enough to believe he was doing god’s work.

“The völkisch-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God’s will, and actually fulfill God’s will, and not let God’s word be desecrated. For God’s will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord’s creation, the divine will.” – Adolf Hitler

Roaring twenties: prohibition, suffrage and the Ku Klux Klan

THE ROARING TWENTIES

The ‘United States of America‘ entered the roaring twenties with full on enthusiasm as to what the new world would give them, with people moving to key cities, like Chicago and New York, jazz music, fashion, Art Deco, and technology blossomed. People began buying cars as the credit options made it more affordable for the average person. The overall wealth of the nation doubled, more people owned appliances and telephones, with sport and cinema becoming big businesses.

The American economy and industrial sectors were booming, and America was divided by wealth. Many people were living lavish lifestyles, whilst others were living in dire poverty, and even though it was getting close to 50 years since slavery was abolished, many African Americans in the Deep South suffered horrendous racial prejudice and lived barely surviving as they didn’t have equal rights to whites. Although the birth of jazz and the rise of blues brought many African Americans into the cities to perform and started the Harlem Renaissance, in return millions of American whites joined the Ku Klux Klan as they believed they were combating the debauchery of society with Christian values.

THE PROHIBITION

Imagine a time when alcohol was illegal to go into production, transportation, and importation for 13 years between 1920 and 1933, but consuming it wasn’t a crime. As you’d expect, religion was behind it, and Lutheranism had attempted several times since the 19th century to remove alcohol from society as it went against their Christian beliefs, and America’s involvement in World War I created a national pride and opposition to the German beer producers, and it paved the way to diminish the influence in the alcohol trade, and the 18th amendment was voted in by a majority. On January 16th, 1920, the Volstead Act went into force and closed every establishment that sold liquor in America. The main reason was alcohol being the primary factor for most social disruption, marriage breakups and violence in America, and this gave women a voice that was heard.

“After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.” – Amendment XVIII

Bootleggers took advantage of the prohibition and made illegal gin and moonshine, but often it was created using industrial strength alcohol which led to many deaths to those desperate enough to drink it. Little did the Christians who campaigned against the immorality of selling alcohol know that the prohibition would backfire and give rise to mobsters, and none were as notorious as Al Capone, who ruled the Chicago underworld and made a fortune from casinos, speakeasies (secret bars) and racketeering.

The issue that the American government faced during the prohibition was enforcing it. Underground bars appeared everywhere, and police officers, lawyers and judges could be found drinking there. The government only had around 1500 agents to cover all of the states so a lot of the drinking continued unnoticed, and certain cities completely disregarded it and became anti-prohibition. The President at the time of 1933, Franklin Roosevelt, was inaugurated at a time of the Great Depression and low morale from American citizens and he signed the 21st amendment.

“The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. … The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.” – Amendment XXI

WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE

1840 was the time when women began the fight to change the law so that they were eligible to vote, and in 1890 the separate suffrage organisations finally joined forces as one and became the ‘National American Woman Suffrage Association‘. The movement tirelessly campaigned for the constitution to pass an amendment for the right for women to vote, and the fight for women’s suffrage came to an end by the passing of the 19th amendment in August 18, 1920. It was 80 years in the making.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” – Amendment XIX

America was in a strange place. Racism was very strong, yet in 1870 the 15th Amendment was passed allowing African American men the right to vote, yet no woman was able until 50 years later as the American man saw the woman as a homemaker.

‪The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” – Amendment XV‬

KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN

In the early 1920s America grew suspicious of foreigners, and their paranoia over communism began, and throughout the land, and predominantly rural America the ‘Knights of the Ku Klux Klan‘ grew in a second wave after being dormant for almost 50 years and awoken by ‘Rev. William J. Simmons‘ who recruited over 5,000,000 members and millions more supporters, due to their racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Catholic views. America was becoming dangerous for anyone who wasn’t a white supremacist. Their influence over state governments and politics was huge, and they took control of many cities’ police departments and court houses.

Considering the Klan was claiming to be enforcing Christian values, they actively encouraged their members that bigotry, prejudice, harassment, condemnation and violence was not only patriotic but it’s God’s will. The white Anglo-Saxon Protestants were becoming anxious about the state of America. Foreigners from Europe were invading their lands, the blacks were spreading, women were gaining rights and they saw this as America being undone, and they resented the modernism that their country was going through. They were strongly opposed to contraception, abortion and evolution being taught in schools, and this led to much vigilante violence. As the Klan grew they helped charity organisations and supported schools, and donated much money to the churches to support the poor Protestants, but at the same time their influence went to the top as Klan members became mayors, governors and senators. Some members of the Klan were not interested in violence as they just wished moral values to return, but others joined so that they could beat and lynch blacks, Catholics, foreigners, adulterers and promiscuous women.

Despite the Klan’s popularity in the mid twenties, the Presidents saw them as a sadistic organisation who was a danger to the public, and many higher ranking public officials began to turn their backs on Klan members and activities. Many people began to publicly oppose them as the death toll, raping, and violence was contradicting their alleged moral outlook. The Klan slowly diminished as social outlook towards minorities became more tolerant, but it begs the question of how and why did America accept the Ku Klux Klan as social and cultural figureheads when they promoted so much hatred?

“H e and other Klan leaders would look to Christianity to find support for racism. Even liberal Protestant churches supported white supremacy. That seemed the natural order of things. Just as people used Biblical texts to support slavery.” – Kelly J. Baker