Adolf Hitler used to object when occasionally his portrait was set up behind the altar in German churches. Now such homage to Der Führer is accepted without rebuke. It is never offered in churches still directed by dignitaries of the German Evangelical Church, who strive to act according to Christian light. In June their daring pastors addressed to Der Führer with "respectful greetings" a Manifesto of their "anxieties and fears" which was ruthlessly suppressed by German police (TIME, July 27).
The enterprising New York Herald Tribune last week was first in the U. S. to print the full text of this challenge by German Protestantism to almost everything for which Nazis stand.
"Positive Christianity." Recalling Adolf Hitler's blanket promise that "the [Nazi] Party never intended and does not intend today to combat Christianity in any way whatever," the Evangelical Manifesto drew attention to the fact that all Nazi organizations, while paying lip service to what they call "positive Christianity," vigorously oppose what they call "negative Christianity." Both these terms are pure Nazi inventions and mean whatever the Nazi locally in charge chooses them to mean. On this the Manifesto quotes Nazi authorities:
Rosenberg: "The general ideas of the Roman and of the Protestant churches are negative Christianity and do not, therefore, accord with our soul." Goebbels: "Positive Christianity is humanitarian service . . . Christ himself would discover more of His teaching in what we [lay Nazis] are doing than in [the Church's] theological hair-splitting." Göring (in a speech abusing the Church): "We [Nazis] have informed the Church that we stand on the basis of positive Christianity." Thus increasingly the Nazi Party imposes on Germans the mystic idea that Christians should turn away from their churches and to the Party to find "positive Christianity." In thus bamboozling Germans, according to the Evangelical Manifesto, Nazi spellbinders use the terms positive and negative Christianity "in the manner in which the truth is withheld from a person who is ill"i. e., to mask the Government's real efforts "to deChristianize the German people." National Priest. After quoting Nazi Party leaders at length, the Manifesto concludes: "When, within the compass of the Nazi view of life, an anti-Semitism is forced on the Christian that binds him to hatred of the Jew, the Christian injunction to love one's neighbor still stands. . . . The Evangelical conscience is most heavily burdened by the fact that there are still concentration camps in Germany that describes itself as a country in which Justice is administered; and that the measures and actions of the State secret police are exempt from any judicial control. . . . Even a great cause, if it places itself in opposition to the revealed will of God, must finally bring the people to ruin. . . . He [Hitler] is vested with the dignity of the National Priest, and even of the Mediator between God and the People."