The Cross & the Swastika
Roberto Rivera on Christianity & Anti-Semitism
“What Would Jesus Have Done?” was the question posed by a cover story in The New Republic in January 2001. In it, Daniel Goldhagen continued the argument he first made in his book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: that for at least two centuries prior to Hitler, the German people were in the thrall of what he calls “exterminationist anti-Semitism.” Thus, Hitler’s contribution to the Holocaust did not consist so much in creating a murderous ideology as in providing the means for the German people to do what they had always wanted to do.
And at the heart of this “exterminationist anti-Semitism” was Christianity. As Goldhagen writes, “[It is important] for us to focus on the Christian churches when trying to understand the nature of anti-Semitism in Germany during the Nazi period.”
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Roberto Rivera is a Fellow at the Wilberforce Forum at Prison Fellowship. His work has appeared in Books & Culture, and he is also a regular contributor to the web magazine Boundless. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.
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