Sunday, 2 October 2011

Rev Hargreeves claims "Christians treated like Jews in Nazi Germany."

Nazi anti Jewish boycott.
This morning on BBC1 the Rev Hargreeves, leader of the Christian Party, made the claim that Christians today, in Britain were being treated the same way that the Jews in Germany were treated under the Nazi Government.

He later went on to argue that he "Obviously" didn't mean the Holocaust but the beginnings of anti-Semitic law brought in by Hitler at the very beginning of his Government and that History has seen this sort of religious persecution before and it could lead to similar problems.

He has sited a few cases, such as a BA air stewardess who suffered a disciplinary for wearing a Crucifix, a married couple who forbid a Gay couple from sharing a double bed, or a Councillor who refused to assist a Gay couple as it was against his religion. (this turned out to be a damp squib, he did not refuse to council anyone, merely that as a Sex therapist his religion would come into conflict with his profession should he have to conduct sex therapy on a Gay couple.) He also brought up examples of Richard Dawkins who is seeking to ban Creationism from schools education. All these look like attacks on Christians by an intolerant or indeed aggressively secular state.

Not really, no. The BA air stewardess was not disciplined because of the Crucifix itself, rather the visible jewelry rule that BA have. Of course in the case of a crucifix it is probably a bit unfair. After all at MacDonald's they had the same rule except for in the case of Religious Iconography and it was a case of an over zealous overseer and from memory the case of BA was thrown out of court.

The case for removing Creationalism is a touchy subject. As an atheist and believer in Evolution I don't think that Creationalism has a real part in a Science lesson but again relegating it to an RE lesson shows favour of one possibility over the other. Maybe one way forward would be to teach evolution but keep a segment as "Religious groups believe this..." That way everyone wins and students can make their own minds up rather than feeling conflicted. The same is true with professionals who do certain jobs and feel that their religion will come into conflict with their profession. Is it worth giving them scope to step away from certain cases without any sort of come back from employers or the state. That said, it should also be borne in mind that anyone stepping into such a position that conflict between faith and your employer is a possibility and do you want to get caught up in it?

Another problem is discrimination by Christians who then use their faith as a shield. It was stated on the programme that discrimination whether religious based or not  its still discrimination. Whether you agree with homosexuality or not is down to the individual but you can't say that you will not allow gay people the same consumer or human rights as anyone else because you have been taught that it is wrong. It is hearkens back to; "No Coloureds allowed" signs in the US or the road signs "No Jews Allowed in this town." in 1930's Germany. I'm afraid the law is the law whether you agree with it or not and today's society is not what it once was and everyone is the same under it no matter what your religion or creed. To say that Christians are the only ones to be singled out under it is a falsehood.

Comparing these current problems with Nazi German state sponsered anti-semitism that culminated into mass genocide is completely wrong. What Hargreeves suggests that the current actions are similar to the first steps. Though post war Germany sought to blame someone for the defeat and betrayal of 1918 and the already existing Anti-semitism in Europe fueled this fire which is why the pre Hitler NSDAP actually had anti-Semitic policies that grew as the party did and when in power acts to stop Jews working in certain professions, displaying their faith or eating Kosher food became more prevalent. No such policies exist in any of the main parties!
Also Anti-semitism was taught to children in schools and in the German Youth movements, Jews were rounded on in the streets, shop windows broken culminating in Kristallnacht. Road signs proudly proclaimed German towns "Jew Free" or "Sharp bend please slow down - Jews increase speed." and even the state sponsored media itself was aggressively anti-Semitic, I don't recall seeing anything like this in Britain, nor do I see real state sponsored anti-Christianity, after all the state is still predominantly Christian, the church is still led by the Queen and the largest religion is Protestantism, hardly the oppressed minority the Jews were in Germany. Added to that is the fact that genocide was carried out against Jews, gypsies, Homosexuals, Jehovah's witnesses etc. Murder was just part of it, the horrors that occurred have few parallels and it is exceptionally stupid and hurtful to those groups who suffered in humanity's darkest hour, to compare a few judicial lapses in judgement with those events.

So yes, there have been a couple of bizarre cases and some of it has been blown out of proportion by the media but I don't think Christians are particularly persecuted, especially not on the same scale as the Jews in Germany in the 30's and to draw comparisons not only shows a degree of poor education but is also grossly insensitive to the events in German held territory during the Holocaust.

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