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August 26, 2015 0

Holocaust Analogies Continue To Taint Discourse On Wide Range Of Issues

The charged polit­i­cal debates over issues rang­ing from Iran to abor­tion con­tinue to be tainted by inap­pro­pri­ate invo­ca­tions of Hitler, Nazis, and gen­eral Holo­caust imagery.huckabee-israel-holocaust-oven-tweet-twitter

These mis­placed and offen­sive com­par­isons, made by politi­cians, pun­dits, and oth­er pub­lic fig­ures,  triv­i­al­ize this unique tragedy in human his­tory.  They not only rely on his­tor­i­cally incor­rect premises and exag­ger­a­tions, but also deflect atten­tion away from impor­tant national discussions.

For exam­ple, U.S. Sen­a­tor and Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ted Cruz recently sent let­ters to pas­tors through­out the U.S. to encour­age them to speak out against Planned Par­ent­hood, claim­ing that abor­tion rep­re­sents an “ongo­ing holo­caust.” Of course, invok­ing the Holo­caust in the dis­cus­sions on abor­tion is noth­ing new.

The Iran deal is also an area where offen­sive Holo­caust analo­gies have been increas­ingly crop­ping up. On July 26, for exam­ple, Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mike Huck­abee stated in an inter­view that Pres­i­dent Obama’s poli­cies on Iran will “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” Huckabee’s cam­paign also high­lighted this inap­pro­pri­ate com­par­i­son in a graphic on Twitter.

The analo­gies are not only used by politi­cians.  In a sign of how our pub­lic dis­course has coars­ened, crit­ics of pub­lic offi­cials also invoke Nazi analo­gies.  When New York Con­gress­man Jer­rold Nadler pub­licly sup­ported the pro­posed agree­ment on Iran, he report­edly was swamped with hate­ful mes­sages on social media.  One com­men­ta­tor referred to him as a “kappo,” a ref­er­ence to Jews who worked for the Nazis in con­cen­tra­tion camps.  curt-schilling-muslims-hitler-tweet-twitter

The Holo­caust com­par­isons are not lim­ited to the polit­i­cal world either. On August 25, ESPN “Sun­day Night Base­ball” ana­lyst and for­mer major league pitcher Curt Schilling shared a post on Twit­ter that com­pared extrem­ist Mus­lims to Nazis. The tweet sug­gested that a sim­i­lar per­cent­age of Mus­lims are extrem­ists as Ger­mans were Nazis. It also included an image of Hitler.

Such inap­pro­pri­ate Holo­caust ref­er­ences seem to sur­face around almost any con­tro­ver­sial issue. For exam­ple, dur­ing the charged polit­i­cal debate over gun con­trol in the after­math of the Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School shoot­ing, there was a flurry of inap­pro­pri­ate invo­ca­tions of Hitler, Nazis, and gen­eral Holo­caust imagery by pub­lic fig­ures.  Oppo­si­tion to Pres­i­dent Obama’s Afford­able Care Act engen­dered sim­i­larly offen­sive comparisons.

Pub­lic dis­course today is seri­ously lack­ing in civil­ity and respect for dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives on impor­tant issues.  One unfor­tu­nate exam­ple of this lack of civil­ity is repeated inap­pro­pri­ate ref­er­ences to the Holo­caust.  It is long past time for pub­lic offi­cials and pub­lic offi­cials to stop invok­ing the Holo­caust in an effort to score polit­i­cal points.

* As a 501(c )(3) non-profit orga­ni­za­tion, the Anti-Defamation League does not sup­port or oppose can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office.

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December 18, 2012 2

Christian Conservatives Blame Elementary School Massacre On Lack Of Religion In Schools

In the wake of the shoot­ing of 20 young chil­dren and six adults at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School in New­town, Con­necti­cut, peo­ple are search­ing for answers about how and why this tragedy hap­pened. Some promi­nent Chris­t­ian con­ser­v­a­tives are blam­ing the mas­sacre on the lack of reli­gion in schools and the sec­u­lar­iza­tion of Amer­ica more generally.

In an appear­ance on Fox News for­mer Arkansas Gov­er­nor Mike Huck­abee said, “We ask why there’s vio­lence in our schools, but we have sys­tem­at­i­cally removed God from our schools. Should we be so sur­prised that schools would become a place of car­nage?”  He later clar­i­fied that he did not think that prayer in school could have directly pre­vented the shooting.

Bryan Fis­cher, a spokesper­son for the Amer­i­can Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion, a non-profit that pro­motes con­ser­v­a­tive fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­t­ian val­ues, echoed Gov­er­nor Huckabee’s sen­ti­ments.  He said, “Here’s the bot­tom line: God is not gonna go where he’s not wanted…We have spent 50 years telling God to get lost, telling God, we do not want you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you in our schools, we don’t want to pray to you before foot­ball games, we don’t want to pray to you at grad­u­a­tion, we don’t want any­one talk­ing about you in a grad­u­a­tion speech. We’ve kicked God out of our pub­lic school sys­tem. And I think God would say to us, ‘Hey I’ll be glad to pro­tect your chil­dren, but you’ve gotta invite me back into your world first. I’m not gonna go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.’” 

David Brody of the Chris­t­ian Broad­cast­ing Net­work (CBN) wrote an online col­umn defend­ing Huck­abee and Fis­cher. Brody asserted, “Guess what folks? Huck­abee and Fis­cher are not alone. There are mil­lions of evan­gel­i­cals who believe the same thing. This is not heart­less. It’s based on the bib­li­cal prin­ci­ple of reap­ing and sow­ing. Not that these lit­tle chil­dren sowed any­thing but are our schools left unpro­tected because of the past actions of our nation when it comes to remov­ing God from our pub­lic schools? The con­ver­sa­tion is now all about ban­ning guns but should the con­ver­sa­tion really be about allow­ing God back into pub­lic schools?”  Joseph Far­rah, the edi­tor of World Net Daily, and William J. Mur­ray, the Head of the Reli­gious Free­dom Net­work, made sim­i­lar state­ments blam­ing the shoot­ings on the lack of reli­gion in schools.

For­mer head of Focus on the Fam­ily James Dob­son, cit­ing sta­tis­tics on the num­ber of abor­tions in Amer­ica and the accep­tance of same sex mar­riage, said on his radio show, “Some­body is going to get mad at me for say­ing what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my hon­est opin­ion: I think we have turned our back on the Scrip­ture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judg­ment to fall upon us.  I think that’s what’s going on.”  Oper­a­tion Save Amer­ica, an anti-abortion group that also opposes homo­sex­u­al­ity, sim­i­larly claimed that “we are los­ing our kids because we are ignor­ing God’s Law.”

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