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Crimes Against Humanity

January 31, 2016

Heinrich Himmler, SS commander who established and controlled Nazi concentration camps, at direction of Adolf Hitler, Source German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R99621) (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria last year accused ISIS of crimes against humanity [1]. After conducting more than 300 refugee interviews, the commission concluded that ISIS rules by terror with mass killings, public beheadings, stonings, amputations, and sexual enslavement commonly used tactics.

The atrocities ISIS has adopted as its own bring back all too sharply memories of another self-styled empire and so called “master race”. Though the rhetoric by ISIS may differ from that by the Nazis (and the numbers of dead are not yet on a par), the two are alike under the skin:

  • ISIS is motivated by hate, just as the Nazis were.
  • ISIS claims moral superiority over all others, just as the Nazis did.
  • ISIS perverts religion to achieve and retain power, just as the Nazis did.
  • ISIS uses fear, violence, and religious persecution to further its ends, just as the Nazis did.
  • ISIS is willing – even anxious – to commit genocide, just as the Nazis were.

There exists no religion more directly opposed to such tactics and beliefs than Christianity. As Christians, we know that we are sinners (Rom. 3: 23), morally superior to no one, and saved by grace alone (Eph. 2: 8). We are to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5: 43-44).

What then are we to do, in the face of crimes against humanity? What course are we to pursue, when the blood of our persecuted brothers and sisters cries out to us – not seeking vengeance, but pleading that we rescue those we yet can?

Remember the prisoners as if chained with them – those who are mistreated – since you yourselves are in the body also” (Heb. 13: 3).

Lord Jesus, ours is a lost world. Those of us who know You are few; those who can worship and remain faithful to You without fear of reprisal, fewer still.

Remember our persecuted brothers and sisters, even when we do not. Help us to know what You would have us do for them, and for all those subjected to such horrors.

Protect them from harm, comfort them in grief, carry them home at the appointed hour in Your loving arms.

Amen


[1] Arabiya.net, “Isis Accused of Crimes Against Humanity”, 11/14/15, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2014/11/14/ISIS-commits-crimes-against-humanity-in-Syria.html.

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5 Comments
  1. Adolf Hitler did not use extensive religious justification to justify his attrocities. This is a major difference, but yes I agree with other points made

    • Thank you for your comment. As I am sure you know, Hitler crafted a cult of personality centering on himself. He and his henchmen deliberately adopted religious imagery and rhetoric in support of this cult, going so far as to create pseudo-religious rituals for the Nazi party. Even today, many unfamiliar with Christianity mistakenly view Hitler as “Christian”. Hitler, also, exploited religious bias to persecute the Jews. That was the basis for my statement that he perverted religion. I should have made myself more clear.

  2. Hi Anna,

    Having grown up around uncles who fought against Nazi Germany and listening to their stories as a boy,I have long attempted to better understand how a person such as Hitler could descend to such a base level of humanity.Just last night in fact I finished reading “Outcry:Holocaust Memoirs” written by a survivor of the Nazi system of religious persecution and extermination,and it was a vivid reminder of what a society without God will be.

    It is indisputable that for Hitler and all of the ranking party officials Nazism was their “religion”,or accepted belief system,a fact that none of them ever attempted to hide.The writings of many of the Nazi party’s most ardent supporters are clear that established Christianity,indeed religion itself, would have to be abolished in order for Hitler to become the new “god” of the Reich.Only then could their perversion of religion be complete.

    From the start of the Nazi movement, “the destruction of Christianity was explicitly recognized as a purpose of the National Socialist movement,” said Baldur von Scvhirach, leader of the group that would come to be known as Hitler youth. But “explicitly” only within party ranks: as the OSS stated, “considerations of expedience made it impossible” for the movement to make this public until it consolidated power… source: http://www.adherents.com/people/ph/Adolf_Hitler.html

    To think that Hitler “did not use extensive religious justification to justify his atrocities” does not take into account the new “religion”of Nazism,because Nazism was in fact the driving force behind the regime’s “final solution”. Of course Hitler could not do this openly,any more than Satan himself can not openly expose himself to be the chief source of the evil that is consuming our society today. It must be done in secret,only to be exposed when it is too late to turn back.

    Hitler himself was born into a Catholic family but rejected its teachings (along with all of historical Christianity). A lot has been written about whether or not Hitler was a Christian,yet he himself never flinched at this for he said “One is either a Christian or a German.You can’t be both.”

    To the point of your post Anna,I see at least one major difference between the rise of Nazism and ISIS; with the former there was an accurate assessment of the threat to the survival of the world and a committed effort to neutralize that threat,but with the latter we are to believe that somehow we can negotiate our way to a co-existence with those bent upon the destruction of all who do not “bow the knee” to them.

    As with Hitler and Nazi Germany,as with ISIS and all who support them,the spirit of Anti-Christ is alive and well.

    • You are clearly well versed on this subject, Ron. The subject, also, has personal resonance for me. My father, his mother and siblings were forcibly deported from Hungary by the Nazis. My mother and her parents lost their home first to the Nazis, then the Communists. They, too, were forcibly deported.

      One important difference I see between the Nazis and ISIS relates to the fact that ISIS constitutes a belief system, more so than a nation. Clearly, ISIS is seeking territory. In fact, it aspires to dominate the globe. Blood will have to be spilled resisting that advance. But ISIS cannot be defeated by the capture of territory alone. It must be fought the way a cancer is fought.

      Thankfully, as the spirit of anti-Christ is alive and well, so too is Christ, Himself. In that fact exists the cure for this cancer — most especially, the disruption of ISIS recruiting. Truth is stronger than lies, and love stronger than hate. We each of us fight ISIS daily with every act of faith.

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