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>Washington Post Story Is Critical of Churches

>Writer Michael Gerson of the Post paints a not-too rosy picture of Christians who may have participated, overtly or passively, in the Holocaust or mass murders of Jews.

Whether you agree with Gerson or not, it would behoove you to at least take a look at his op-ed article printed in part below. A large part of it is not objective, but how objective can one get when we’re talking about something that happened 60 to 70 years ago?

Let’s face it — the Jews have been persecuted for centuries. Pop open your Bible and read about the persecution of the Jews, even in Egypt, and when Noah was building his ship on which only something like eight people survived the flood.

Every time people decide to live God’s commandments to the letter, such as Nephi’s people in the new world as told in the Book of Mormon, there are always dissenters and others who persecute by enslaving God’s people. Nephi’s older brothers began systematically criticizing this righteous man, Nephi, by lying to the Lamanites that Nephi had robbed them of their heritage, status, priesthood, and their honored place before God. The Lamanites, throughout the Book of Mormon, were more numerous than the Nephites — and a whole lot more warlike, indolent, and lazy most of the time — and they were constantly attacking, causing wars to take over cities the Nephis had built through honest industry.

It’s the same today. America has been industrious and has prospered. Yet terrorists, for no objective reason I know of except they misread their own religion, want to create havoc here and around the world and, of course, in Israel. Because Americans have a love of all peoples — we are of the blood of all peoples and  lands — especially those espousing Judeo/Christian concepts of brotherhood and love, we are the target of the same animus as the Jews. Terrorists don’t just want to kill our people and damage our cities, they want to wipe us off the face of the earth.

Today, persecution occurs because people lack faith, and it is the former members of the church who do the worst damage. God grant that we will never again be part of persecuting our brothers, the Jews (or the Mormons or other people), no matter if it’s overtly or passively as we did in the last primary election when Evangelicals decided they couldn’t stand seeing a Mormon elected president and voted almost in mass against Mitt Romney and embraced a liberal Republican, John McCain. What foolishness!
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Pope Benedict XVI gestures during the weekly general audience in Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called on Pope Benedict XVI to make a "very clear" rejection of Holocaust denials after the Vatican's rehabilitation of a former bishop who questioned whether 6 million Jews were gassed by the Nazis. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Benedict XVI gestures during the weekly general audience in Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called on Pope Benedict XVI to make a “very clear” rejection of Holocaust denials after the Vatican’s rehabilitation of a former bishop who questioned whether 6 million Jews were gassed by the Nazis. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (Andrew Medichini – AP)

There are those who maliciously print articles which denigrade churches today, and especially Jews,  but I doubt this is one of them. Gerson is a highly respected author and writer, though this was intended as an op-ed article, not reportage.

The Post leads with two articles about the Holocaust.

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The following is by Michael Gerson:
Many items on the list of horribles laid at the door of religion are libels or exaggerations. But this charge — the indifference or complicity of many Christians during the great genocides of modern history — is one of the genuine scandals.
In Hitler’s Germany, Christians responded to mass murder with general acquiescence and only isolated defiance. Protestants earned the most shame. In the Evangelical Lutheran Church elections of 1932, so-called “German Christians” won two-thirds of the vote — and later praised the fight “against the political and spiritual influence of the Jewish race.” Catholic leaders were less overt in their anti-Semitism but hardly heroic in their resistance — usually accommodating rather than confronting the Nazi regime. “Charity is well and good,” said one Vatican official at the time, “but the greatest charity is not to make problems for the church.”
During the Rwandan genocide, writes Timothy Longman, “Numerous priests, pastors, nuns, brothers, catechists and Catholic and Protestant lay leaders supported, participated in, or helped to organize the killings.” Two Benedictine nuns collaborated with Hutu militias in the murder of 7,000 people just outside their convent grounds. A priest participated in the burning and bulldozing of a church with 2,000 men, women and children inside.
It is very difficult to understand how those who worship a man on a cross could help to drive the bloody nails themselves. But the record is clear: When religion is infected by racism, ideology or extreme nationalism, it can become a carrier of hatred instead of conscience. And when churches are concerned mainly with their institutional self-preservation, they often end up neck-deep in compromise or paralyzed by cowardice. Read the entire Post story . . .

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