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January 26, 2007

Anne Frank and the Holocaust

I just saw a news article stating that some letters written by Anne Frank's father, Otto, have surfaced and will be released next month. Evidently, they show him seeking ways to escape to the US or Cuba. I'll look forward to learning more once the letters are published.

On a related topic, 41% of Britons believe that an event like the Holocaust could happen in Britain today due to the "depth of intolerance and prejudice." Jewish groups are warning that anti-Semitism is on the rise all over the world, including in the US. Do you think a Jewish Holocaust could happen here? Do you think Christians or Muslims could face a similar fate? Why or why not?

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Dennis Babish

One would hope that a Holocaust couldn't happen but with the Iran leader saying it never happened I wouldn't be surprised. As for it happening in Britain or Europe I believe the rise in anti-Semitism there is linked to the rise of the Muslim population in Europe. Every one knows there is no love lost between these two groups. Could it happen here? I would like to say no but I could see it happening to Christians. We are seeing more and more books and articles published that portray Christians as being dangerous. Wanting to take over the government and create a Theocracy, etc. Dawkins thinks children should be taken from their parents if they are teaching them about religion. So I can see this escalating as we continue to be in the public eye exposing the things people really don't want to face. As for Muslims I think it is more likely they would cause a holocaust then be victims of one.

Dennis Babish

An example of what I just wrote can be found on "The O'Reilly Factor", http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,247080,00.html. He discusses Pelosi's daughter's documentary entitled "Friends of God", including some reviews of this, which follows around militant Christians implying this is how Christians are.

Katharine Eastvold

Regretfully, I don't think we can rule out the possibility of another Holocaust, not because of any particular political situation in the world today, but because of sin. No matter how many times we say "never again," atrocities will happen until the Lord Jesus returns, because until then, our sin nature will continue to get in the way of our best intentions.

However, I disagree with you, Dennis, that Muslims would more likely cause a Holocaust than be victims of one. First, let's talk about numbers. Majorities usually slaughter minorities, and not the other way around. There is a fear that Muslims will someday be a majority in Europe, and I suppose that's possible, but it's not going to happen any time soon. As for minorities in the Middle East itself, that's a more likely possibility, although there are not as many religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries (unless you consider minority sects of Islam) as there were Jews in Europe at the time of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was so much bloodier than more violence perpetrated solely by the state itself because so many Germans (though certainly not all) were collaborators - either actively or by their silence. (The same goes, by the way, for the millions of death at the hands of Stalin's regime in the USSR; the evil genius of that regime was that it frightened, brainwashed, and blackmailed so many people into turning against their own friends, neighbors, and family as informers.)

In Weimar Germany, as Hitler and the National Socialists gained influence, the social setting was characterized by fear, feelings of powerlessness, and economic desperation. Germans were demoralized by their defeat and humiliation in WWI, and they were looking for scapegoats, as humans are wont to do. When Hitler began casting suspicion on the Jews, some of whom were prospering as the masses barely scraped by, he found a receptive audience. Other examples of genocide, such as the Bosnian civil war and the war in Kosovo, shared similar characteristics: poverty, feelings of desperation, and demogogues spreading rumors that a religious/ethnic minority was out to get them and take from them what little they had.

I think this kind of pattern is seen more in non-Muslims attitudes toward Muslims than in the reverse. Certainly there are militant Muslims practicing terrorism and insurgency. But these are not the same thing as a Holocaust-type genocide. They are the tactics of a group that feels oppressed and is trying to fight back, rather than the tactics of a majority trying to put down an "upstart" minority. That is not to say that terrorism is any more justifiable than genocide, but just that they are different phenomena.

Likewise, I can't see seculars committing genocide against Christians in the West any time soon. There are serious concerns about religious freedom for Christians in this country, Canada, and Europe. But they have not risen to the level of violence. Certainly if Dawkins' suggestion that children be required to attend secular schools were to become law, this would be a sinister step in the wrong direction. But we are a much more stable democracy than Weimar Germany was, and I think we could fight back peacefully if that were to happen.

I'm not saying it could never happen - I'm merely saying that raising fears of a holocaust against Christians is counter-productive and not very accurate. I think we should work to allay fears, not exacerbate them.

Also, although I haven't seen Ms. Pelosi's film, I did some reading about it (from a variety of sources with different biases), and it seems that she did not focus exclusively (or even mostly) on "militant Christians." She did focus on evangelicals who could be said not to be culturally in the mainstream, but that would be you and me. Also, she said in an interview that "if you give me the choice between Paris Hilton and Jesus, I'll take Jesus." Not too shabby.

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