Nazi and Nazarene

FROM: RONALD KNOX, “NAZI AND NAZARENE”
MacMillan War Pamphlets No. 5
London: MacMillan and Co. Ltd., 1940

We have to remember, besides, that the wedge method always makes compliance with the Government demands something less than a sacrifice of absolute principle; religion was taught, and is still taught, in the State schools where the parents demand it.

It need hardly be said that an argument for compliance which was based on the existence of “facilities” in the State school was ill-founded. The wedge system was still at work; having, by 1937, obliterated the confessional school, the Government proceeded, in 1938, to issue further legislation which was designed to take the sting out of all religious teaching everywhere. Lay teachers were allowed to do the work hitherto reserved for priests; priests were no longer to teach unless they could “guarantee that nothing in their religious classes would contradict the world-view of National-Socialism,” and so on. But indeed, no amount of facilities could suffice to counteract the Nazi atmosphere, the Nazi teaching. It is not as if you could go to school with the Nazis and acquire mere knowledge of facts, mere principles of taste and of criticism, such as a secular education would impart. The aim of the Nazis has been, from the first, to capture the imagination and the loyalties of youth; and to capture these for a perverted, though carefully elaborated, worldview. There is not room in the same child’s head for the principles of Christianity, however languidly acquired, and for the racial ideology which has Hitler as its rule of faith, and the world-domination of the German race as its end.

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