Christians being violently abused and assaulted: verbally, physically, in print, in the media, and online. That is the future people of faith may have to get used to, as the perennial war between Judaeo-Christian civilization and the totalitarian powers and principalities continues remorselessly to escalate. Indeed, it is uncanny how the intensifying anti-Christian campaign in Australia and the West is reminiscent of repressive operations launched previously against Christians by the Nazis in Germany and communists in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as presently by Islamists attacking Christians in their ancestral homelands in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.
In this context contemporary Christians and their leaders face several challenges. Firstly, they have to understand the nature and methods of the threat. In brief, the present conflict is at the level of metapolitics and Christians face a political religion bent on destroying their religion, as I will outline below. Secondly, they must learn the lessons of the past and formulate a robust strategy of response this time round and not yield to the confusion, fear, and intimidation that compromised the church under the repressive totalitarian regimes spawned by earlier political religions during the twentieth century.
What is the present situation? Generally, there is a singular lack of support or even respect for the Judaeo-Christian tradition at the political level, within the mass media, or in the education system and the universities. It is routine to see Christians ridiculed and derided, and for their values and views on any range of subjects to be discounted and disrespected, and this often stands in stark contrast to how other religions, especially Islam or Indigenous religions, are treated with an often fawning respect. At present, the onslaught has taken shape around the extremely aggressive Green-Left-LGBTI campaigns for Same Sex Marriage, along with the infamous Safe Schools programs and similar systematic propaganda and grooming operations being implemented in the schools, kindergartens, and day care, where, for example, we now learn that “a four-year old pre-schooler in NSW has begun ‘transitioning’ their gender before attending their first day of kindergarten, amid a wave of young children across Australia who are seeking to change sex.” The Safe Schools program has now assumed the characteristics of a cult, complete with an (unlikely) transgender Fuehrer-figure, adoring devotees, a comprehensive ideology, a well-resourced propaganda machine, submissive mainstream media, and quisling politicians, especially in Victoria and NSW, where education departments are eager to offer children as sacrifices to the Moloch of political correctness.
A few other examples of the anti-Christian campaign must suffice, beginning with an obvious but perennial issue: the war on Christmas. This continues apace under the guise of ‘cultural sensitivity’, as if Christians are the only group whose deepest beliefs can be ridiculed and marginalized. In politics, some months ago young Green-Left/LGBTI fascists notoriously invaded the office of Cory Bernardi, an Australian Senator and high-profile Christian, trashing the premises and terrorizing staff, confident that they would suffer little or no meaningful sanctions under an ALP government in South Australia. In the sphere of ideology, the Q&A program, the primary propaganda vehicle of the Green-Left ABC, is regularly used to attack, denounce, and ridicule Christianity. In one noticeable example (25/4) it was used to attack the managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Shelton, by associating him with allegedly derogatory comments made by the American author Eric Metaxas concerning a link between homosexuality and Nazism.
Ironically, while this ‘gotcha moment’ continues to be very germane as the conflict unfolds. It was meant to discredit both Metaxas and Shelton, but it actually back-fired in two ways. Firstly, it drew attention to the very significant role played by militant male homosexuals at every level in the Nazi Party throughout its history, as detailed by Samuel Igra in Germany’s National Vice (1945) and The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, as I discussed in a previous Quadrant Online article. Secondly, it invoked the example of the iconic German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was martyred by the Nazis because of his role in the German resistance to the Hitlerian regime. Metaxas, who has published a prize-winning biography of Bonhoeffer, observed how the German churches’ preparedness to compromise their beliefs and reluctance to stand on principal and confront the Nazis in their early days only facilitated their rise to power.
On another front, corporate sponsors of the LGBTI campaign for SSM are mounting a denial of service campaign directed against opponents of SSM, who are to be denied airline, banking, and other services. As Miranda Devine explained:
Whether it’s Qantas or Virgin you want to fly with, whether it’s Westpac, or the Commonwealth Bank, or Bankwest, or St George, or ANZ you bank with, whether it’s Telstra or Optus’s brand on your phone, no dissent [from the SSM campaign] is allowed.
This denial of services campaign has now escalated and now even includes blocking access to places for Christians to meet. Last week, some 100 people, including Sydney Anglicans and Catholics, the Marriage Alliance, and the ACL were intending to conduct a conference on the proposed SSM plebiscite at the Mercure Sydney Airport Hotel. However, the LGBTI website SameSame.com.au alerted its followers to the event, urging them to stop the “dangerous, predatory”, “hateful, deceitful and extreme” ACL. Allegedly intimidated, the Accor Hotels group abruptly cancelled the booking, contending that the social media storm conducted by LGBTI militants had rattled employees and raised concerns about the safety of its staff and guests. (Whether this is true or just a rationalization for a corporate decision to support the LGBTI cause is unclear.)
Christian leaders are now viciously targeted on a routine basis. Federal Greens MP, Adam Bandt, denounced “bigots like Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby”, and declared that Christian groups would “spread their hate-speech through [the proposed] plebiscite”. Crikey’s Bernard Keane vilified Shelton as a “creep”, a “fact-free hypocrite” and “a nauseating piece of filth” who was “obsessed with sex”; while Fairfax columnist John Birmingham attacked opponents of SSM in obscene terms as “weirdos” and as “a sweating pig circus of morons and bigots” wanting to “mangulate their hate boners in the marriage equality plebiscite”.
What is the origin of this war? At the most profound level the answer lies in the realm of metapolitics, and in the nature of political religions, such as older versions like fascism and contemporary versions like progressivism. Metapolitics concerns itself with the underlying themes and assumptions about the nature of humanity and the world that drive political movements. In this case, the core tendency is a fierce desire to destroy religion and all notions of spirituality and the transcendent and, as Ernst Nolte pointed out fifty years ago in The Three Faces of Fascism, this desire lies at the core of all forms of fascism – of both the right (e.g., Nazism) and the left (e.g., communism). These are political religions, i.e., powerful ideologies whose cultural and political traction is so great that they impact societies like historical mass religious movements (e.g., post-Constantinian Christianity, early Islam, the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution, the Taiping Rebellion, Communism, Nazism, and Islamism).
Political religions are militantly anti-democratic and employ instead some form of Führerprinzip or dictatorship They also invariably seek to seize and sacralise state power and to transform society in a totalistic and utopian fashion. They are generally messianic or apocalyptic and surround all their activities with an aura of sacredness supported by a system of non-negotiable values, myths, symbols, and rituals, which are enforced by often extreme forms of social control and violence. They are militantly intolerant of dissent, which is invariably viewed as wilful blindness and ignorance, or even treason and a mortal threat to the regime, and opponents are routinely dehumanized, marginalized, incarcerated, or ultimately exterminated. Analysed in these terms, the Green-Left-LGTBTI movement is obviously a political religion.
Indeed, what we are witnessing is a war between two fundamentally different conceptions of god – the traditional Judaeo-Christian God, which is transcendent and other-worldly, and the fascist ideal of a god-like mega-State, which is entirely immanent and this-worldly. Instead of seeking salvation in the Christian fashion through an all-powerful transcendent God who accepts human weaknesses and limitations and promises eternal life through faith, totalitarian movements seek salvation through an all-powerful state apparartus whose presence is entirely immanent, controlling every aspect of individual and social life and promising to transform human nature and society into a paradise of the here-and-now. Invariably, this involves a primary emphasis on sexuality and gender as utopia is necessarily pursued in the physical realm of the senses rather than the spiritual realm of faith.
It is for this reason that the war on Christianity is inextricably bound up with utopian campaigns promoting various forms of sexual libertinism and extremism, exemplified by SSM and the Safe Schools program, which promise social and personal transformation. This utopian vision was made clear by Roz Ward, the architect of the Safe Schools program, in her address to the 2015 Marxism Conference.
“Marxism offers the hope and the strategy needed to create a world where human sexuality, gender and how we relate to our bodies can blossom in extraordinarily new and amazing ways that we can only try to imagine today”.
LGBTI militants like Ward envisage a sensual paradise where “polymorphous perversity” reigns supreme and “bodies blossom in extraordinary new and amazing ways”. In their view, the main obstacle to this polymorphous paradise is the Judaeo-Christian tradition, which has served as societal bedrock for inter-personal and familial relations for over two millennia.
As mentioned, none of this anti-Christian animosity is new. The Nazi campaign against Christianity was ferocious and was heralded by a concerted propaganda campaign akin to that being conducted at present. The purpose of this was to dehumanize Christians and marginalize their beliefs, seeking to intimidate believers into ideological conformity ahead of a systematic program of repression, incarceration, and extermination of all those who did not bend to the will of the regime. This began during the Weimar Republic, which famously plunged into a morass of social, cultural, and sexual decadence that proved to be fertile soil for Nazism, communism, and other forms of extremism, especially of a sexual nature. This has been vividly illustrated in many scholarly works, including Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (2015) by Robert Beachy, which won the Randy Shilts Award, honouring works of non-fiction of relevance to the gay community. This shows how, in the half century before the Nazis rose to power, Berlin became the undisputed gay capital of the world. Activists and medical professionals made it a city of firsts— “the first gay journal, the first homosexual rights organization, the first Institute for Sexual Science, the first sex-reassignment surgeries—exploring and educating themselves and the rest of the world about new ways of understanding the human condition … The uninhibited urban culture of Berlin helped create our categories of sexual orientation and gender identity … that continue to shape and influence our thinking about sex and gender to this day.”
Another major work based on extensive research is Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin (2008),by Mel Gordon, which depicts “a sexually charged city brimming with prolific prostitution, homosexuality and drugs in the heady days before the Nazis came into full power.” In a manner reminiscent of the core premise of the Safe Schools program — that all sexuality and gender is fluid and people may change their identity at will — Weimar Berlin offered the full range of male homosexual roles, including, as Gordon recounts:
Androgynes – highly refined male homosexuals with distinct feminine features augmented by plucked eyebrows, face powder, lipstick, and perfume. Aunties – older, fat crossdressers usually attired in oversized dressing gowns; Bad Boys – twenty-year olds who travel in packs in garish leather fetish fashions. Cellar Masters – dominant sexual partners, aka Top Men or Mounters. Kitty Receivers – submissive sexual partners, aka Kitty Suckers. Ladies – male transvestites. Doll Boys – very young (8-13 years old) male prostitutes who live on the streets, aka Line Boys, if they lived long enough to become older teenage prostitutes.
Under Weimar, a militantly secularist socialist regime obsessed with sex complemented a society-wide decadence with a coordinated plan to suppress Christianity. This involved a set of policies that focused on education, including banning religious instruction, prayer, and worship services in schools, including Christmas celebrations; abolishing the study of traditional theology at universities (at a time when Germany was recognized as the world leader in such studies); the removal of state subsidies for church-run social services; and the confiscation of church property.
This campaign was made easier by the undermining of Christianity that had occurred before the Great War, as Richard Grunberger recounts in A Social History of the Third Reich (1974). Firstly, St Paul was marginalized as a Jewish upstart, while Jesus was Aryanised and transformed into a Nordic warrior-saviour, bearing “the sword rather than the crown of thorns”. He was then absorbed into the neo-paganism that came to fuel Nazism, with the Gospel replaced by Wotan worship and radical environmentalism or what would now be called Gaia worship. Traditional theology in the universities was replaced by the study of “Wotan and Jesus”, “Baldur and the Bible”, and “The German Saviour”, with the latter resolving the ‘scandal’ of the Jewish origins of Jesus by insisting that “a beautiful Aryan flower can grow on a Jewish dung heap”. This neo-paganism was taken to an entirely new level by the SS under Heinrich Himmler, who sought to establish an occult religion of Nazism, as discussed by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke in The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology (1985).
Once the Nazis were in power they moved quickly to subvert and control the churches, establishing the German Christian movement composed of Nazi sympathizers. The start of the Nazi’s official anti-Semitic campaign was welcomed by German Christian leaders as a necessary measure to reduce “Jewish over-representation in business life, medicine, law and culture”. They then set out to restructure the totality of German Protestantism and with the militant support of the Storm Troopers they seized ecclesiastical power, “whereupon they moved to reshape the Church in the image of the Nazi state”, as Grunberger recalls.
Bonhoeffer became a leading figure in the German resistance to this campaign and paid with his life, being tortured and hanged only days before the end of the war in Europe. As noted earlier, one of the points made by Eric Metaxas in Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (2010) and reiterated during the author’s visit to Australia is that Bonhoeffer can be considered an exemplar of Christian responsibility, and that Christians must be prepared to act in a timely and decisive manner if they are to have a chance of defending their faith and themselves as well as protecting society from totalitarian threats committed to their subversion and destruction.
Merv Bendle PhD taught history, religion, and social theory for 20 years at James Cook University.