When A Nation Forgets God

***The following is a guest post for Why God? by Jim Vanne*** As many found out in the late 1930s, tyranny is always seeking its next conquest.  We will most likely not be able to hide from the new leftist totalitarianism sweeping the planet, if we fail to confront it now. Yes, it may be that some out-of-the-way places might be less affected. As the socialist insanity of the Nazis swept Europe, perhaps being a Luxembourgian or Andorran was better than being a Jew in Poland, but as Churchill noted, this relative safety is really nothing more than hoping the crocodile eats you last.  Fighting a crocodile no doubt is terrifying, and the felt reality is, as Frodo voiced to Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, when he realized he was now tasked with an all-but-impossible mission of taking his ring to Mordor, “I wish this need not have happened in my time.” Everyone who is called to great challenges, if they are sane, will feel the same way.  But of course, courage is precisely when one doesn’t feel like it, and has no meaning unless fear is a real possibility, just as faith has no meaning unless doubt is a real, actual possibility.  It is this choice between courage vs. fear, faith vs. doubt, action vs. inaction, that has now been arbitrarily placed on our doorstep, whether we wish it or not. Indeed, I wish this need not have happened in my time, either.

To help us not repeat the past, and to help us actively engage this inchoate evil, Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Bible Church, and son of German immigrants, has noted seven historical lessons in his book, When a Nation Forgets God – 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany, that may assist the reflective conservative to take on the battle that has come unbidden to us, through the agencies of the “lamestream” media, a co-opted” educational system, liberal churches, and more.

First, we must realize the core of the battle is a spiritual one. Lutzer noted that humanists felt God “died” – through their efforts, which were not dissimilar to the efforts of their heirs today – in the 19th century. However, the result of this is that man died in the 20th century, for as Lutzer notes, “For when God is dead, man becomes an untamed beast.” Whether it is the 160 million people that various forms of leftism killed last century, to the present day shenanigans of the Enrons, the WorldComs, or the Bernie Madoffs of the world, as the Russian writer Dostoyevski noted, “if there is no God, everything is permissible.”  Thankfully, of course, we serve a risen Christ. This is not the first time impudence has thought it has “buried” God. Unfortunately for them, He never seems to stay put.

Christians would do well to review the courage of men like Martin Niemoller or Deitrich Bonhoeffer, as they faced the Nazis a half century or so ago. In general, Lutzer notes “Hitler belittled the courage of pastors, saying ‘You can do anything you want with them… They will submit… they are insignificant little people, as submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.’” Rather, Lutzer notes “If every pastor would have been a Bonhoeffer or a Niemoller, Hitler could not have accomplished his agenda.” and then quotes Peter Marshall stating “It is better to fail in a cause that will ultimately succeed, than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail. Better to fail while serving God than to win while serving oneself.”  Bonhoeffer early on confronted Hitler – at one point Bonhoeffer, in a July 23, 1933 radio address warned that “when a people idolize a leader,’ then the image of the leader will gradually become the image of the ‘misleader.’ Thus, the leader makes an idol of himself and mocks God.”  One needn’t have too much of an imagination to see how this applies to today!  As the last sentences were being read by Bonhoeffer, the microphones were mysteriously switched off,  and Bonhoeffer was silenced for the time being. Of course , today, instead of turning the switches off, the radical left tries to turn off free speech by their Orwellian named “Fairness/localism doctrine” on the radio, co-opting the news, and now trying to control the internet.

The result of Christians abandoning the playing field was summarized by pastor Helmut Thielicke, as he spoke to a broken German nation in Stuttgart, April, 1945:: “Denying God and casting down the cross is never a merely private decision that concerns only my own inner life and my personal salvation, but this denial immediately brings the most brutal consequences for the whole of historical life and especially for our own people. God is not mocked. The history of the world can tell us terrible tales based upon that text.” The invisible transcends the visible in order and power, in our due allegiance and faith. Thielicke concluded that those who can’t see that socialist Germany “was wrecked precisely on this dangerous rock called ‘God,’ and nothing else has no eyes to see. Because he sees only individual catastrophes he no longer sees the basic, cardinal catastrophe behind them all.”

In sum, while preparedness it both vital and wise, we cannot, and must not, cease being salt in a dying culture.

The battle for America’s heart and soul, as was the case with 1930’s Germany, was not only fought in the political sphere, but also in the realm of education. Without a true education, emphasizing liberty with responsibility, is it any wonder we see crowds mindlessly chanting “Yes we can!” in our midst, or swallowing the deception of anthropogenic global warming, even after this was exposed as a fraud by ClimateGate, and even though science has clearly never been decided by “consensus,” but rather by hypothesis testing and experimentation? Regarding the state’s intrusion into the God-given role of parents, George Orwell’s 1984 writes of an even worse possibility, at one point imagining in his dystopia “It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for  hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak — ”child hero” was the phrase generally used — had overheard some compromising remark and had denounced his parents to the Thought Police.”  Is this extreme? One may well wonder after hearing Nancy Pelosi, third in line for the presidency, spouting off such lines as ““Every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory… of how we are taking responsibility.”

Relative to education, the issue, as Lutzer implies in his book, is that the main battle may be lost before it is begun in the educational system, stating “… the same values that destroyed (Nazi) Germany are being taught in many of our centers of learning today.”  And what are those values? Lutzer notes the seven point leftist educational goal is to inculcate the falsehoods that: 1.) There is no right or wrong, only conditioned responses; 2.) The collective good is more important than the individual; 3.) Consensus is more important than principle; 4.) Flexibility is more important than accomplishment; 5.) Nothing is permanent except change; 6.) All ethics are situational; there are no moral absolutes; and 7.) There are no perpetrators.

The truth is that radical leftists require your children, almost as the ancient Amorites required children to sacrifice to Molech. Lutzer quotes Hitler as saying, ““This new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing,” and “German youth must no longer… be confronted with the choice of whether they wish to grow up  in a spirit of materialism or idealism, of racism or internationalism, of religious or godlessness, but they must be consciously shaped according to the principles which are recognized as correct… according to the principles of the ideology of National Socialism.”  Any private or church schools who disagreed were simply taxed or regulated into submission, with Lutzer writing, “Hitler knew that institutions he disliked could be shut down by multiplying laws and by requiring permits for any number of code requirements and procedural regulations. In the end, educational options for parents were squeezed out.”

How does this compare to the U.S.A today? For example, reported in December was that buried in some of Nancy Pelosi’s recent federal legislation, and supported by Michelle Obama, is a proposal for the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate even school fundraising bake sales!  Or, from another plane, Dr. Chester Pierce, Harvard University professor has stated, “Every child in America who enters school at the age of five is mentally ill, because he comes to school with an allegiance toward our elected officials, toward our founding fathers, toward our institutions, toward the preservation of this form of government that we have. Patriotism, nationalism, and sovereignty, all that proves that children are sick because a truly well individual is one who has rejected all of those things, and is truly the international child of the future.”  Of course, no word from  Dr. Pierce how this squares with the Rousseauean “noble savage” concept of children leftists seem to hold so dear – one would assume Dr. Pierce wants children raised by the state from birth to avoid any polluting effects from their Neanderthal parents.

Tellingly, Lutzer cites Tammy Bruce, former president of L.A. Chapter of the National Organization for Women, who has undergone a complete change and now exposes the left’s agenda in the school system (in this case, via the radical homosexual lobby) by noting, “Today’s gay activists have carried the campaign a step further, invading children’s lives by wrapping themselves in the banner of tolerance. It is literally the equivalent of the wolf coming to your door dressed as your grandmother. The radicals in control of the gay establishment want children in their world of moral decay, lack of self-restraint, and moral relativism. Why? How better to truly belong to the majority (when you’re really on the fringe) than by taking possession of the next generation? By targeting children, you can start indoctrinating the next generation with the false construct that gay people deserve special treatment and special laws. Of course, the only way to get that accepted is to condition people into nihilism that forbids morality and judgment.”  The particular emphasis on sexualizing children, Bruce says, guarantees control of the culture for future generations, by promising “…sex-addicted future consumers on which the porn industry relies. By destroying those lives, they strike the final blow to family, faith, tradition, decency and judgment.”

Of course, universities were also not exempt from the Nazi clutches, with Lutzer writing Munich professors were told by Hitler “From now on it is not up to you to decide whether or not something is true, but whether it is in the interest of the National Socialist Revolution.”  The parallel today, of course, is the many well known stories of the activities of the campus speech and thought police. The irony of leftist Mario Savio protesting for free speech on the Student Union steps of UC Berkeley in the early 1960s is, of course, lost on the radical socialists.
While I hurt for every child victimized by the left, there is some silver lining in that children educated by the leftists, in general, cannot hold a candle to home or privately schooled children. Parents are aware of this, and voting with their feet and dollars in droves, by abandoning public schools, or at the university level, having children attend schools like Hillsdale College, which takes no federal funding, and thus can resist the grasp of the all-controlling nanny state.

The increasing bankruptcy of many “blue” states may also be an unexpected blessing in that funds for the leftists will dry up, as – by killing private business – the left is essentially urinating into the very financial well they necessarily have to drink out of. Finally, groups like the Alliance Defense Fund, or the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) are doing an excellent job in protecting freedom of thought and education (and deserve your support). For example, FIRE several years ago took up a case at Univ. of Delaware where 7,000 students in residence halls were required to undergo ideological re-education that the university itself called “treatment” for students’ incorrect attitudes and beliefs. Issues ranged from politics to race, sexuality to environmentalism. One can only imagine what children of Vietnamese or Cambodian refugees must feel like on campuses like these that mandate forced “re-education.”

There is cause for hope. But we must act now, and act firmly. For as the United Negro College Fund commercial used to say, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” And we must not let the left waste the minds of our young.

Dr. Lutzer can be listened to on the internet at http://www.moodychurch.org/radio/