I do not count myself among your fans. Nothing against you at all. It probably has something to do with having never seen a movie of yours all the way through. Not Sister Act, Sister Act 2, Ghost, The Color Purple, or Hollywood Squares.
I was challenged by your Mother’s testimony after President Obama was elected. Although I could not identify with her, I was moved to tears when she expressed the feeling, “I could put my suitcase down, finally.”
I suppose this week when discussing extremism with the other religion experts who co-host The View, you meant well. Joy Behar had just teed you up for a whiff with the tragically, comically erroneous statement, “Timothy McVeigh was a Christian,” when he, in fact, was an agnostic. There was a smattering of applause in the studio at this statement. I would have thought it a little early for imbibing, but maybe that’s an audience requirement.
Then came your turn to respond. “There have been a lot of monster Christians. Hitler was a Christian.”
By “Hitler” you mean, Adolf Hitler, I guess? Not little Johnny Hitler down the street from you whose parents, regrettably, never completed the legal name change paperwork?
Pardon me, please, but as a man who has been a Christian for 34 years, I have to say:
You cannot be serious. You are not in the same universe as serious. Or multiverse.
Whoopi, there are Christians, there are Fundamentalist Christians, there are extremist “Christians in name only” like the Westboro Cult, then there are megalomaniacal, pathologically insane, demented people who have been to a church.
Then there’s Adolf Hitler out beyond that last group.
There are plenty of ways being a Christian is understood in the New Testament. For the sake of time, let’s consider one of them.
To be a Christian is to be in Christ. When a person places faith in Jesus Christ–the same Jesus Christ who died as a sacrifice for sin, was buried in a tomb, was resurrected three days later, then ascended into heaven–that person is brought into God’s family, and made to be in Christ.
Here are two places in the New Testament using the image:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
[God] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. (2 Timothy 1:9)
Not to put too fine a point on it, but people who are Christians in the New Testament sense of the word are not Christians because their parents are Christians, or their grandparents, or because they were born in a “Christian nation,” or because they believe in some kind of God generally, or because they have managed to never commit murder, or because they get to church on Easter, or because they still have a Gideon Bible from vacation, or because they “call upon the name of the Lord” when severing their own limb with a chainsaw, are doing the best they can do, or think Christianity fits them better than Islam, Hinduism, Wicca, Pastafarianism, moon worship or lycanthropy.
Christians, in the New Testament sense, are those who have been changed by Christ, who are in Christ, and who live for Christ.
People who are Christians are becoming more and more Christ-like as time goes on. They aren’t setting up death camps and gassing Jews, and others.
Surely you can see the difference. Perhaps if you squint.
So, no, Hitler wasn’t a Christian, even though Germany is the birthplace of the Lutheran denomination, and even if every third person in Germany in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s was more righteous than anyone you’ve ever met. (They weren’t, so don’t fret over it.)
The very idea that Adolf Hitler was a Christian in the New Testament sense is ridiculous to the point of lunacy. Literally.
Maybe I can help. Here are some names to associate with Hitler: Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin Dada, Papa Doc Duvalier, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Jong-Il, Mao Zedong. You know, dictators who killed from tens of thousands to tens of millions.
Here’s a name not to associate with Hitler: Jesus Christ.
Jesus said His followers could be known by their fruit. Hitler wasn’t a bad apple; he was a rotten orchard. He was neither a Christian, nor an extremist Christian. He was (depending on who you read) a pagan, an atheist, or an occultist. It will serve your argument better not to make this claim in the future.