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T H E P O S I T I V E C H R I S T I A N I T Y O F T R U M P I S M

"The National Government will therefore regard it as its first and supreme
task to restore to our people unity of mind and will. It will preserve and
defend the foundations on which the strength of our nation rests. It will
take under its firm protection Christianity as the basis of our morality, and
the family as the nucleus of our nation and our state. Adolf Hitler, first
radio speech to the German people, in his newly appointed position as
Reich Chancellor, on January 31, 1933.

The Party stands on the basis of Positive Christianity, and positive Chris-
tianity is National Socialism... National Socialism is the doing of God's
will... God's will reveals itself in German blood... True Christianity is repre-
sented by the party, and the German people are now called by the party
and especially the Fuehrer to a real Christianity... the Fuehrer is the her-
ald of a new revelation. Hans Kerri, Nazi Minister for Church Affairs
(1937).1

The Theology of Positive Christianity 2

Christ was not Jewish.3 His teachings had little to do with Judaism or the
politics of the First Century CE;

True Christianity is entirely passive. Its job is to be positive and support


the State;4

1 Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_Christianity.
2 The theology of Positive Christianity was influenced by the work of Alfred Rosenberg (12 January 1893 16 Octo-
ber 1946). He rejected Christianity due to its focus on a corrupted egalitarian form of love rather than a focus on
honor. Rosenberg believed only by honor does man find his sense of responsibility and decency. For Rosenberg,
honor meant obedience to the dictates of the State. Thus, his foray into Positive Christianity that he hoped might
replace the energy of Christian religion with a new nationalist Nazi faith. At Nuremberg he was tried, sentenced to
death and executed by hanging as a war criminal. See Alfred Rosenberg, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (Cre-
ateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 2011).
3Christ was made out to be a white nationalist and racist to fit the prevailing ethos of the National Socialist party of
Hitler.
4The question asked of German Christians during Nazi times is the same question being asked of Christians today in
America: Can we follow Jesus even if it means going against our favorite politician, political party, national interest,
or whatever entity or idol usually prevents us from seeing the gospel clearly? See Christ, Not America, First
https://sojo.net/articles/christ-not-america-first at https://sojo.net/articles/christ-not-america-first.

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Only the positive aspects of Christianity are real. Criticism of the State is
not allowable, only support. Thus, the entire Old Testament and parts of
the New Testament that are negative in their critique of the established
order are to be no longer tolerated as the real Christianity;

Essentially under Positive Christianity, Christianity is a nationalist religion


subservient to the aims of the State.5 For example, under the theology of
Positive Christianity, we are members of an American Christianity, not
Christians in America.6

Use of Positive Christianity during Nazi Germany

Nazis originally attempted to co-opt Christianity by the promotion of Positive


Christianity.7 However, this attempt ultimately failed by the late 1930s. For
example, 700 Confessing Church pastors were arrested in 1935 who dared
to preach the Gospel.8 By the late 1930s, the Nazis made little attempt con-
cealing their contempt for Christian beliefs, ethics and morality. For example,
Heinrich Himmler contrasts the weak and gentle ethos of Christianity with

5This nationalism is a kind of religion that produces unity through blood sacrifice in war. See William T. Cavanaugh,
Migrations of the Holy: God, State, and the Political Meaning of the Church (Grand Rapids, MI & Cambridge: William
B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011), 46.
6 Our religion is Christ, our politics is fatherland. In Nazi Germany that meant a Positive Christianity subservient to
National Socialism. See Richard Steigmann-Gall, The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). Under Trumpism this means a Positive Christianity subservient to
Republicanism, which is not Republican and a conservatism that is not conservative. See The Illegitimate President
at https://www.scribd.com/document/337942134/The-Illegitimate-President.
7 Almost 6,000 quietist Lutheran churches in Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s acquiesced to the tenets of
Positive Christianity. In other words, there was widespread failure of the majority of churches in Germany to oer ef-
fective and sustained opposition to the non-Christian policies of the Third Reich. Potentially, the primary contributing
factor to this adiaphora on the part of Christian churches in Germany during this time period may have been that the
churches were theologically ill-equipped and unprepared to come to grips with the immense power of Nazi ideology
and the profound issues it raised for the life and witness of the church. For example, it wasnt until 1938 when Karl
Barth wrote his 'Rechtfertigung and Recht that developed a theology where the state ... belongs originally and ulti-
mately to Jesus Christ. See Rev. Jeremy Begbie, The Confessing Church and the Nazis: A Struggle for Theological
Truth, Anvil Vol. 2, No. 2, 1985.
8The Confessing Church movement began on 29 May 1934 when 138 church delegates attended a synod at Bar -
men and pledged their support for a new 'Confessing Church' that recognized the Lordship of Christ. This was
specifically in opposition to the German Evangelical Churchs theology under the 'Reich Bishop' Ludwig Muller. Karl
Barth wrote the Barman Declaration to describe the theology of the Confessing Church.

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the honor due to the aggressive male warrior, in line with Trumps tough
talk to Make America Great Again!:

Which of us wandering through the lovely German countryside and


coming unawares upon a crucifix does not feel deep in his heart a
strange but enduring sense of shame? The gods of our ancestors
were dierent. They were men, and carried in their hands a
weapon. How dierent is yonder pale figure on the Cross, whose
passivity and emphasized mien of suering express only humility and
self-abnegation, qualities which we, conscious of our heroic blood,
utterly deny9

What the adherents to Positive Christian in the time of the Third Reich did
not realize is that their choice of this theology was an existential choice. The
rise of Positive Christianity under Trumpism is also an existential choice, but
today the stakes have changed:

In our new age of terrifying gadgetsthe first great aggressive war,


if it should come, will be launched by suicidal little madmen pressing
an electronic button. Such a war will not last long and none will ever
follow it. There will be no conquerors and no conquests, but only the
charred bones of the dead on an uninhabited planet.10

What the adherents of Christian theology, a theology based on preaching the


Gospel might be seeking, above all else, is preaching that does not comfort
those rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, but preaching that alerts
one in time that the ship has struck an iceberg and is sinking. That is, theol-
ogy that addresses the existential risks we face today, as Christians and as
humans on island Earth Gods good creation.

They are a light in the darkness for the upright:

being gracious compassionate and just.

It goes well with those who are generous in lending

9 Kenneth Leech, Experiencing God: Theology as Spirituality (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985), 388-9.
10 William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011).

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who conduct their aairs with justice.11

11 Psalm 112: 4-5, New Zealand Prayer Book (HarperSan Francisco, 1997). Jesus commandment to love ones
neighbor as oneself is really a commitment to take care of one anothera vow to awaken so we can help other
beigs awaken, A vow to awaken so we can alleviate the suerings of the world. See Pema Chodron, Living Beauti-
fully with Uncertainty and Change (Boston & London: Shambhala, 2013), 69.

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