Author, Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life

Comparing American presidents with German National Socialist Adolph Hitler is hardly new. Even Harry Truman, the first U.S. President elected after Hitler had died, has been compared with the mass murdering dictator. The analogy is so often infused into arguments, its effectiveness as a rhetorical device is almost nil. And the metaphor or simile is not limted to presidential poltics, or even serious, contemplative discourse.

When I was about 10 years old my mother wouldn’t let me “sleep out” in our front yard because it was too cold (probably about 45 degrees outside). I maturely showed my vocabulary by calling her “a Hitler” and proceeded to get the belt for the only time in my life. I was only calling her the worst name I could think of, which is a dreadful thing to do to your own mother, all because she was looking out for my well-being.

Recently, Catholic Bishop, Daniel Jenky gave a sermon where he rather obliquely drew an analogy of the Obama administration’s requirement that Catholic schools and other institutions must cover (or pay through their insurance premiums) contraception and abortion with Hitler and Stalin’s attacks upon the church in a previous generation. In 2011, Hank Williams, Jr. had his famous “Are you ready for some football” song pulled from Monday Night Football (MNF) because he compared President Obama’s golf game alongside John Boehner as if Hitler was golfing with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

Williams should get an easy pass. He was simply doing what I did: drawing upon the worst figure in world history (and a modern natural nemesis) to make a point. Exaggerated?  Yes. Insensitive? Maybe. Nefarious? Highly doubtful.

On one hand, it is certainly true that the comparison is way over-done. Usually, it is pulled out as a rhetorical device whenever someone of the other party does things that you think are really over-the-top. For lefties, it was used against George Bush when he signed The Patriot Act (never mind that many Democrats voted for it, too). For righties, it has been used against Obama whenever he has asked the government to play a bigger role in our lives (forgetting that the government has grown bigger and bigger under Republicans, too.).

Many in the pro-life movement have made the comparison between the killing of Jews and the killing of unborn children. I remember speaking out against abortion at a Holocaust commemoration held during a Des Moines, Iowa, City Council meeting. One little Jewish boy thanked me. Many others were distraught at the comparison. While I think dehumanization is the common thread between the two slaughters, even this comparison must be used with great wisdom. The killing of Jews was not the work of one man, Hitler. It was carried out by thousands of followers, many just like you and me. More importantly, it was done by the permission of the people who tolerated a mind-set of discrimination and hatred. But the Germans are no different than Americans. We have permitted the killing of little babies to go on for decades now.

This brings us to the 2012 election cycle,. The anti-Obama sentiment is running high among rank and file Republicans, conservatives, and many on the Christian Right. For many, it borders on hatred fueled by fear. The Hitler comparison is on everybody’s lips and everybody’s keyboards. If the reason is Obama’s obvious pro-abortion stand, let us yet be “fair.” If we are going to call him Hitler because he never found an unborn baby he would protect, let us use the same standard with Mitt Romney, whose official position is that we can kill some Jews unborn babies. Perhaps we could compare Romney with the man who wrote, Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life, Karl Binding On this issue, the difference between the two candidates is by degrees, not by kind.

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In my new book, With Christ in the Voting Booth, I devote over 25 pages to clarifying a consistent pro-life ethic.

3 comments
  1. So as Christians and pro-lifers how are we to vote? I feel that staying away from the voting booth is a vote for our current administration. Voting for Romney even with his past record gives us a better chance to protect some unborn children, at least if you listen to his speeches he indicates that. He is a friend with Israel, he seems to cherish values more to my beliefs, whereas the current President shares none of my BELIEFS or VALUES!

    1. As Christians, we are to:

      1. Understand that it is God who raises up and puts down kings. I grant that he often uses men to do so. But as Christians, we don’t fret or worry if there are no qualified candidates. God is all-wise, He will pick the leader we need or deserve. Our calling is to do what is right and leave the results with God.

      Romney appears to say what he thinks people want to hear and then do what he wants. If we do what is right (only vote for a candidate who is a Christian – fears God and kisses the Son – and who is 100% pro-life, perhaps he will have mercy in a way we do not expect. God may bring Obama to repentance or remove him from office. Or it might be God’s will to smite the church for our unfaithfulness.

      2. Not be afraid. God has promised not to leave or forsake us (the church, that is).

      3. Not voting is not voting. You are not responsible for what others do. Suppose a terrorist kidnapped your mother and   and then threatened to kill her both unless you killed your wife. Who would you choose, your mother or your wife?. The Christian chooses neither and leaves the rest to God. We cannot choose evil that good may come – God Forbid!

      1. David, working with the Hitler analogy, if I had to choose between a Hitler & a Mussolini, I would vote Mussolini without hesitation.  We are supposed to make our decisions based on the Scriptural virtue of prudence not presumptiously waiting for God to save us from the mess that we either directly or indirectly made.  (Not saying that it’s wrong to ask – only that it’s wrong to demand which is what such an expectation is effectively doing) 

        And it sounds as if you are implying that voting for a candidate like Romney is a sin.  Please clarify.  Was Caesar a more virtuous man than Romney?

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