Christian Nazis?

This article is for people who think that “Darwinists” were responsible for the Holocaust. Yesterday, presumably because I am listed as a scientist in support of the Clergy Letter Project, I received an e-mail from a Christian clergyman, Steven D. Martin, who has this to say:

I am a United Methodist pastor who has turned to filmmaking as an extension of my ministry. While my films are not directly related to your work in the field of evolution, perhaps they might be interesting as a way of illustrating the importance of constantly working to have a constructive conversation between science and religion.

My web site,, is full of resources for the church and university classroom that might help you. “Theologians Under Hitler” is a film about three major Protestant theologians who supported Hitler during the Third Reich. This film is a good resource for helping Christians understand the importance of keeping nationalism at bay. I think this relates directly to the debate over evolution, where a false science is being promoted for nationalistic/religious purposes.

I could find out little about Mr. Martin except for a press release here . But I checked out his website and watched a couple of segments from his films, most particularly a nine-minute segment from “Theologians under Hitler,” which discusses three prominent German theologians

who were also outspoken supporters of Hitler and the Nazi party. In 1933 [Paul] Althaus spoke of Hitler’s rise as “a gift and miracle of God.” [Emanuel] Hirsch saw 1933 as a “sunrise of divine goodness.” And [Gerhard] Kittel, the editor of the standard reference work on the Jewish background of the New Testament, began working for the Nazis to find a “moral” rationale for the destruction of European Jewry.

This provocative film asks: how could something like this happen in the heart of Christian Europe? Could it happen again? How does the scholarship of this period affect the church today? Does the church of today retain the ability to recognize profound evil?

Mr. Martin has also produced a film about Elisabeth Schmitz, a Christian theologian who stood up to the Nazis, and hints in his e-mail that he is making another film concerning the religious life of Charles Darwin:

Another helpful film in our catalog might be “Paradise Lost: The Religious Life of Charles Darwin.” This film portrays Darwin not only as a groundbreaking scientist, but a theologically-trained religious person.

That’s all I know; I neither endorse nor disparage Mr. Martin’s films. I request, however, that if you want to comment on this article, please, please, please do not waste our bandwidth by repeating the inane argument that the theologians and others who supported Hitler were not true Christians. They were ordained Christian clergyman, they identified themselves as Christians, and their congregations identified themselves as Christian. They were Christians.