Bryan Fischer finds a gay he can like

Bryan Fischer is out for vindication. He was dismissed from a CNN broadcast by Carol Costello after ranting away at gays and failing to discuss the SPLC Mix It Up Day honestly. Now he has found himself a gay person who Fischer believes speaks the truth and thinks like he thinks. And as if to shout, “I told you so!” he presents this gay man as an authority in his most recent column. Fischer cites Johann Hari who penned what Hari portrays as an expose of sorts for Huffington Post on the subject of gay fascists. No matter that most gays aren’t fascists, or that most neo-Nazis, especially in the U.S., hate gays or that Johann Hari is just one gay person. Hari says some things Fischer can agree with, so Hari is an authority.

The problem for Fischer is that the consensus among historians is that the idea that gays are always at the center of fascism is inaccurate. In Fischer’s world, the majority has been co-opted by the gays whereas the few people who see a vital link between homosexuality and fascism are seeing the gospel truth. All it takes is one person, expert or not, saying what Fischer says and voilà, the man is a genius.

I think Hari fails to make any case other than gays as well as straights can be fascists. However, in his piece he makes some other points that Fischer leaves out. Hari suggests that extreme homophobia on the right may be a defense against latent homosexual urges. He writes:

At first glance, our Nazis seem militantly straight. They have tried to disrupt gay parades, describe gay people as “evil”, and BNP leader Nick Griffin reacted charmingly to the bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in 1999 with a column saying, “The TV footage of gay demonstrators [outside the scene of carnage] flaunting their perversion in front of the world’s journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures repulsive.”

But scratch to homophobic surface and there’s a spandex swastika underneath.

Describe gay people as evil? People think gays are repulsive? Who says stuff like that? Mr. Fischer overlooked that theory from his new authority on the relationship between the negativity toward gays and homosexuality. Wonder why.

In the end, Hari presents a mish mash of theories, vignettes and fractured history that confuses more than it enlightens. He criticizes The Pink Swatiska but fails to recognize that he has used the same kind of hyperbole in his own piece. In the service of being sensational, he has played into the hands of the historical revisionists he criticizes.

Honestly, some gays are racial bigots. Some Christians are too. Does that make all Christians racial bigots? Or does the fact that some Christians are neo-Nazis mean that Christianity is the breeding ground of fascism? In his zeal to get vindication, Fischer throws logic out of the window and opens himself to the same charge he levels.

 

For more on The Pink Swastika by Scott Lively, see The Pink Swastika.

More on Bryan Fischer’s theories about homosexuality and the Nazis

In various ways, over the last two weeks, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association has advanced three theories about Hitler, the Nazi Party and homosexuals. They are:

1. Hitler was an active homosexual.

2. Hitler could not find straight soldiers who were savage enough to carry out his evil plans, so he recruited homosexuals to do it.

3. Homosexuals in the Nazi military led to the Holocaust.

Fischer produces several quotes from historians and students of the Nazi movement to support him. It seems to me that he pulls these quotes right out of their context and uses them to paint an incomplete picture of history.

Hitler’s sexuality has been examined from several different angles. He is an enigma for sure, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to Fischer who called Hitler “an active homosexual.” In the historical record it is clear that Hitler displayed some interest in certain women but this was glossed over by Fischer. Even if Hitler did have a homosexual period –this is by no means proven — there was a clear shift in attitude toward homosexuals after the murder of Ernst Rohm. It is accurate to say that Rohm and several of the SA Brownshirts were homosexual. Hitler tolerated them until they were no longer useful and had them executed in 1934 during the Night of the Long Knive purge. The man who led the execution of Rohm and who later had responsibility for instilling the uncompromising cruelty of the concentration camps at Dachau and later as general inspector of all camps was Theodore Eicke. Eicke, not mentioned in Scott Lively’s book, was married with two children; very straight and very savage.

What follows are just a sampling of quotes which are relevant to Fischer’s theories.

Hitler avoided contact with women, meeting with cold indifference during visits to the opera alleged attempts by young women, probably seeing him as something of an oddity, to flirt or tease him. He was repelled by homosexuality. He refrained from masturbation. Prostitution horrified but fascinated him. He associated it with venereal disease, which petrified him. (p. 23)

–Ian Kershaw in Hitler: A Biography (2008). WW Norton & Co. 

“Diels says of Hitler, “He [Hitler] lectured me on the role of homosexuality in history and politics. It had destroyed ancient Greece he said. Once rife, it extended its contagious effects like an ineluctable law of nature to the best and most manly of characters, elimination from the reproductive process those very men on whose offspring a nation depended. The immediate result of the vice, however, was that unnatural passion swiftly became dominant in public affairs if it were allowed to spread unchecked”. (p.118) (Rudolf Diels was the first chief of the Gestapo)

–Frank Rector. (1981). The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals.  Stein & Day Publishing. 

Hitler was prudish in his abhorrence of the “sins” of the modern big city like prostitution, homosexuality, and even immodest dress. He wrote of these matters as the “political, ethical and moral contamination of the people” and the “poisoning of the health of the body politic.” (p. 336)

–Robert Gellately (2007). Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. Random House.  

In November, 1941 Hitler even signed a decree making homosexual offenses among SS members and policemen a capital offense. Two months earlier, Hitler had explained to Goebbels the Darwinian underpinnings of his opposition to homosexuality. After remarking that homosexuality should not be tolerated, especially in the Nazi party and the Army, Hitler continued:

The homosexual is always disposed to drive the selection of men toward the criminal or at least the sickly than the useful in the selection of men. If one would give him free rein, the state would eventually be an organization of homosexuality, but not an organization of manly selection. A real man would defend himself against this endeavor, because he sees it as an assassination of his own evolutionary possibilities. (p. 131)

Hitler’s Ethic: The Nazi Pursuit of Evolutionary Progress  (2009). Richard Weikart. Palgrave MacMillan.

There are many more such quotes and accounts which demonstrate the clear distain for homosexuality from Hitler and the Nazis. Last week, I noted that Lothar Machtan, who Bryan Fischer quotes at length, discounted points 2 and 3 above. For more on homosexuality and the Nazis, consult this link and this one.

Bryan Fischer and the Nazis: This is what I meant by vilification

On Monday, I wrote about the corrosive effect of the culture war on the real business of Christianity. In that post, I wrote

On the other hand, my great concern is that culture warring lulls people into feeling that that the cause justifies the considerable offense that comes with vilifying those the church yearns to reach.

As if to volunteer to be Exhibit A, Bryan Fischer helps define “vilifying” for us. On his American Family Radio program this week, Fischer, who erroneously believes the New Testament teaches criminalization of homosexuality) made the tired and discredited link between homosexuality and the WWII Nazis. He did not do this as an attempt at a lesson in history but as a part of his opposition to gays serving openly in the military. He did not simply comment on his moral opposition to homosexuality, teaching his view of the matter from the Bible. He vilified an entire group of people based on distortions of fact and the behavior of a few. Listen for yourself, transcript to follow:

So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn’t the Germans, didn’t the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals.

When Fischer says that Hitler could not find straights to be savage enough, he goes beyond even Scott Lively’s imagination. This is one clear example of what I meant by vilifying.

He followed up his radio performance with a column defending his views by quoting books by Lothar Machtan and of course, Scott Lively. Machtan speculates that Hitler was homosexual, although other historians have explored this possibility and most of them are skeptical. I explored the matter in this post and you can get a more objective look at the matter via the documentary Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis. I have a clip here dealing with Machtan’s book on the question of Hitler’s sexuality:

Note that the historians other than Machtan point out that there is no proof, no eye witness account. When Fischer confidently says that Hitler was an active homosexual, he misleads his numerically substantial audience. And he does so make a far more sinister point which he makes explicit in a column out today. In that article, he extensively quotes Lively’s book The Pink Swastika and echoes Lively when he writes:

Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.

Regarding the specific claims of the Pink Swastika, I did a series of posts with the help of historian J.D. Wyneken. We found that The Pink Swastika took some historical facts, threw in a lot of wild speculation and simply overlooked disconfirming facts to create a false picture – one which Bryan Fischer summarized over this last week to support his culture war position.

Here are related posts in that series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The other side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO (See this one regarding Fischer’s association of American Nazis with homosexuality)

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

June 29 – The Pink Swastika and The Hidden Holocaust?

July 6 – The Pink Swastika and Hate 2 Hope (See this one regarding Fischer’s association of American Nazis with homosexuality)

Factoid: Fischer is a confirmed speaker at the Values Voter Summit.

The Pink Swastika and Hitler

In the hunt for the gay Nazis, the biggest prize is Mr. Nazi himself, Adolf Hitler. And Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams do not let us down. In Chapter 4, from about page 151 on, Lively and Abrams weave together various rumors to make a case that Hitler was homosexual. In fact, they have an ally of sorts with Lothar Machtan, a German historian. Machtan believes Hitler was gay and wrote The Hidden Hitler to prove it.

Machtan is a historian and his book is to be taken more seriously that The Pink Swastika. However, having said that, the book has not been well received by historians. According to critics, Machtan traffics in the same sort of innuendo and guestimation which are characteristic of Lively and Abrams.

In this clip from the intriguing documentary, Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis, Machtan briefly advances his theory and then other historians assert he lacks any evidence for the gay-Hitler thesis.

You watch the entire documentary in eight parts on You Tube beginning here.

Prior posts in this series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

June 29 – The Pink Swastika and The Hidden Holocaust?

July 6 – The Pink Swastika and Hate 2 Hope

List of posts on Uganda and The Pink Swastika

Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

The Pink Swastika authors, Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, would have us believe that homosexuality was the driving force behind the rise of Hitler’s Third Reich. Near the beginning of chapter three of The Pink Swastika, “The Homosexual Roots of Fascism,” Lively and Abrams state this thesis:

In seeking the roots of fascism we once again find a high correlation between homosexuality and a mode of thinking which we identify with Nazism.

The chapter then traces the roots of German fascism from Plato, through Frederick the Great, and Friedrich Nietzsche – all gay by the author’s reckoning. My point is not to contest this even though one could. For instance, historians and philosophers are divided about Nietzsche’s sexuality. Reading his works, I get the feeling Nietzsche was more of a schizoid personality, meaning that he required nor wanted human tenderness. Thus, for him, asexual might be a more apt description of his behavior. However, my point here is to propose a problem for the thesis that homosexuality and fascism have a necessary causal link of some kind.

In chapter three, Lively and Abrams guess at the sexuality of many Nazi and related people but with the following figure – Thomas Mann – they are probably accurate in their assessment. About Mann, they write:

Thomas Mann’s identification with Nietzsche may also have had some thing to do with the latter’s homosexuality. Among other works, Mann is famous for a 1912 novella called Der Tod in Venedig (“Death in Venice”), in which “an aging writer risks life and reputation in his attempts to gaze on the Apollonian beauty of the 14-year-old Tadzio” (Reiter in Grolier). Homosexualist historian A.L. Rowse called this novella “the most publicized homosexual story of the century” (Rowse:212). A recently published biography, Thomas Mann: A Life, by Donald Prater, establishes the novelist’s homosexuality. A review of this book in The San Francisco Examiner (December 23, 1995) states that the book is based in part on Mann’s private diaries, which reveal a “secret homoerotic life.”

Mann was married and had six children for whom he was “a remote and some times terrifying figure.” The article reveals that two of these children, Klaus and Michael, committed suicide. Two of his children became homosexuals (Rowse:212). Mann confesses in his diary that the character Tadzio, the 14-year-old boy in “A Death in Venice,” was actually modeled after a boy on whom Mann “developed a crush while holidaying in Venice.”

Now just as the uninformed reader might think that Lively and Abrams are about to suggest Mann’s positive relationship with Hitler and fascism, the authors write:

We must be clear, however, that Mann’s contribution to Nazism, his role in popularizing Nietzsche, was unintended. Mann was personally anti-Nazi, and was persona non grata with Hitler’s government.

Lively and Abrams vastly understate the case. Mann was openly anti-Nazi and while influenced as a writer by Nietzsche, did not come to the same political or personal conclusions. On the contrary, Mann actively opposed Hitler. He used his considerable popularity with the German people in a series of radio broadcasts designed to cause common Germans to question and oppose the regime. Here is an excerpt of one of Mann’s speeches to the German people, broadcast in July, 1942:

I know well that I don’t have to warn you against exuberance now that Hitler is once again winning and has conquered Rostov, the city on the Don, which he had conquered once before. It is well known that such things do not plunge you into exuberance, that the blare of radio trumpets which accompanies the announcement is odious to you, that you are by no means overjoyed. It is not necessary to dampen your enthusiasm; rather, you have to be consoled. Not we, out here, are in need of consolation when the war looks as it does at present. If you only knew how sure we are of our cause, which to begin with, and as premise for all that is to come, is the cause of destroying Hitler! His destruction is sealed, believe me and don’t be afraid! It is a world necessity, wholly inevitable, and will be accomplished one way or another; and because it is decided, the victories of that wretch are merely bloody nonsense. You are bewildered and depressed. You are thinking: “Will he triumph after all? And shall we never get rid of him? And will the world be German, in that desperate fashion in which we are now German?” Be of good cheer! Hitler’s victory is an empty word: there is no such thing – it is not within the realm of the acceptable, permissible, thinkable. It will be prevented; rather, he himself will always prevent it, the sorry scoundrel, because of himself, simply because of his nature, because of his impossible and hopelessly deranged disposition, which does not permit him to think, want, or do anything which is not false, mendacious, condemned beforehand. One speaks of the betrayed devil. But nobody betrays the devil; he is betrayed, because of himself and to begin with. Not with Faust’s soul, the soul of humanity, will this stupid Satan go down to hell, but alone.

From Thomas Mann, Listen Germany! Twenty-five Radio Messages to the German People Over BBC by Thomas Mann. New York, 1943, pp. 102-07.

Please read the entire address on the German Documents website.

First, it is worth noting how Lively and Abrams’ devotion to their thesis leads them to treat Thomas Mann. Apparently the primary reason he is mentioned at all is to make a stronger case that Nietzsche was homosexual. Mann was a great writer, one of the best fiction writers in modern history. He was a resolute opponent of Hitler and the Nazis. He left his homeland in service of his convictions and used his fame and gifts to try to bring down Hitler. In The Pink Swastika, his personal life is disparaged and he is discounted as an apologist for Nietzsche and thus an unwitting contributor to Nazism.

Lively and Abrams thesis collapses into absurdity when one considers the vigor of Mann’s opposition to Hitler’s fascism. People of all orientations and worldviews supported and opposed Hitler. The Nazis used anyone, gay or straight, religious or not, to get to power. And once they attained power, they systematically crushed opposition both gay and straight, religious and not.

To close this post, read the closing argument offered by Mann to the German people in his July, 1942 broadcast. Note his utter contempt for the intellectual foundations of Nazism. And then recall that the speaker was attracted to the same sex.

The end is near, Germans, believe me, and be of good cheer! Just at this moment I tell it to you when once again it looks like success and victory and conquest for you. The end is near – not yours, not Germany’s. The so-called destruction of Germany is as empty a word, as non-existent a thing, as the victory of Hitler. But the end is approaching; in fact, it will come soon – the end of the repulsive system, the robber, murder, and liar state of National Socialism. An end will be put to its trashy and disgraceful philosophy and all the acts of trash and disgrace which have sprung from it. Accounts will be settled, disastrously settled, with its bigwigs, its leaders and helpers, servants and beneficiaries, its generals, diplomats, and Gestapo hyenas. Accounts will also be settled with its intellectual trail-blazers and shield-bearers, the journalists and pseudo-philosophers who licked its boots, the geopoliticians, war geographers, teachers of “Wehrwissenschaft” and race professors. Germany will be cleansed of all that ever had anything to do with the filth of Hitlerism and all that made it possible. And a freedom will be established in Germany and in the world which believes in itself, respects itself, knows how to defend itself, and which takes not only the deed but, before that, the thoughts into the control of those ideas which connect man with God.

Those inclined to accept the thesis in The Pink Swastika might complain that one bisexual opponent to Hitler is not disruptive to Lively’s proposed link between fascism and homosexuality. However, I submit that Mann’s experience is one relevant response to the idea that there is something about same-sex attraction which necessarily leads to fascist beliefs and tactics.

In addition, in future posts, I will demonstrate that at least some of the formative figures Lively and Abrams assume are homosexual (e.g., Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels and Rudolf Hoess), were not homosexual or cannot be labeled so with any certainty.

Other posts in this series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

List of posts on Uganda and The Pink Swastika

Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

Yesterday, as planned, the National Socialist Movement (American Nazis) conducted a protest of gay pride in Springfield, MO.

springfieldnsm

According to video of the event, the National Socialist shouted “death to gays” at their rally.

A festival meant to celebrate the gay and lesbian communities in the Ozarks was met with mixed opinions Sunday afternoon.

The local chapter of the National Socialist Movement made their opnions (sic) heard at Pridefest.

Leaders with the Socialist movement say gays and lesbians are not welcome in Springfield.

The Minutemen United stood just to the side of the celebration.

They say they were praying for God to lift up the homosexual community.

The Minutemen United appear to be a Christian group who were there rallying against gay pride. It is not clear, but it does not appear that the MU were there to protest against the NSM.

The behavior of the NSM raises a significant challenge to the thesis of Kevin Abrams and Scott Lively about National Socialism and homosexuality. Abrams and Lively are founding members of the International Committee for Holocaust Truth. The first report from that small group proposed this thesis:

Hitler’s plans for a “1000 Year Reich,” is a “Homofascist” Conspiracy which still thrives today disguised as “gay” rights.

There is a problem with this thinking. The neo-Nazis in America yesterday shouted hatred at the same gay rights movement that Lively and Abrams consider the “homofascist conspiracy.” The NSM would like to implement “Hitler’s plans,” but this would mean “gays and lesbians are not welcome.” How can gays extend “Hitler’s plans” when they are not allowed in the Nazi movement? I really doubt the NSM would agree that the gay rights movement is true extention of “Hitler’s plans.”

(Here is a slideshow of the Pridefest and protests)

Update: The Minutemen United is a loosely organized bunch of men who are affiliated with Dave Daubenmire’s Pass the Salt ministry. On the front page of that organization’s website, there is a link to a podcast from Springfield, MO. There intent there was to do street preaching and evangelism at a gay bar and the Pridefest. According to this Springfield News-Leader report, some of the Christian groups, perhaps the MU included, also preached to the Nazis.

Prior posts in this series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

List of posts on Uganda and The Pink Swastika