Just the other day Pope Palpatine thought it would be a good idea to point his finger at others. Maybe his mom never told him that when you point at someone else, three fingers point back at you. During a speech in England, he made the following statement:
Now I finally understand why the Pope has to wear a dress - it's to hide his massive balls!! It takes of an incredible amount of chutzpah to blame Nazi Germany on Atheism! Best of all, he managed to make it sound as if dehumanizing and persecuting Jews was something other people did. That is simply... astounding. If it was anyone else I would have been willing to entertain the notion that maybe he was just ignorant on the matter but not with Ratzinger. FFS, the man was in the Hitler Youth*, there is no way he made those statements out of ignorance!
Jesuit orchestrated Inquisition against the Jews. The Pope isn't all wrong, there were plenty of Christians who stood up to the Nazis and many of them were Catholics. Furthermore I would certainly agree that Hitler was in no way a Real True Christian and the Nazis certainly didn't act in a way Jesus would approve of. Nevertheless it is utterly dishonest to claim that they were Atheists. Hitler hated atheism. Any survey of his speeches and writings quickly show that his rhetoric was incredibly religious, not secular. As much as the Pope would like to rewrite history to show the Vatican in a more flattering light, it is a historical fact that the Catholic leadership and the Nazis got along like a house on fire (for a time at least). To illustrate just how well, I've included some of the pictures I found online in this post. To now try and blame it all on Atheism is a cheap shot. Hitler banned Atheist and Freethought groups in Nazi Germany but signed treaties with the Vatican (who chose to remain neutral for most of the war). You do the math.
However blaming the Holocaust on atheism, doesn't even come close to pretending that persecuting the Jews is something that nasty old nonbelievers did. No Pope Ratzinger, you don't get to do that. Not when you are the head of an organization that has been dehumanizing, persecuting and executing Jews for centuries! Putting Jews in Ghettos, forcing them to wear a mark, murdering them in mass - Hitler didn't invent these things, the Catholic Church had been doing all that and more for over a thousand years by the time Hitler came to power. For crying out loud, the official Catholic charge of Deicide (the teaching that the Jewish people were collectively accountable for the death of Jesus) was only repealed in the 1960's!
So nice try but no cigar. Point the finger anywhere you want old man, we weren't born yesterday. You don't get to just wash your hands of your entire past and you don't get to make a scapegoat of anyone else.
|"God With Us"|
*To be clear, I'm only pointing this out to make it clear that his remarks were dishonest, not ignorant. I'm not trying to imply that he was actually pro-Nazi and pro-Holocaust. I'm satisfied by the research that showed that he was forced to join and that he didn't take part in any atrocities. He was right there though, he knows the truth and he's choosing to not tell it.
EDIT 19 Sep 2010:
OK, I've calmed down a little bit since writing this and here is the moral I was getting at which may have gotten lost in the general rant.
The Pope's statements were more than just dishonest, it destroyed the most important lesson of the Holocaust. This horrible thing happened and it was perpetrated by people just like us. They weren't aliens, they didn't belong to another species. The Nazis went to church, had pets, loved their kids, enjoyed chocolate, loved good music and beer - just like anyone else. The moment you start thinking that this is only something that some alien, "other" people can do you lose sight that it can happen again at any time, right where you are.
Whenever a religious leader starts blaming all these atrocities on "Atheists" or "Darwinists", they conveniently lose sight of the fact that the vast number of Nazis were church going Christians. Yes, they acted in a way completely in opposition to the teachings of the New Testament. That is exactly why Christian leaders should not pretend the Holocaust was the act of "others". It was the act of people who went to the same churches you do, who read the same Bible you do and prayed to the same Jesus you do who nevertheless did all these things because a charismatic leader using religious language convinced them it was good and right - even though their actual doctrine should have convinced them that it was an abomination. If you are a Christian leader you need to realize that and allow it to scare the living crap out of you on a regular basis. That is one of the best ways to prevent history from repeating itself.