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How did this happen in one of the most sophisticated nations in the world? World War I left Germany humiliated, its economy and institutions shattered. Berlin became a cesspool of decadence, as brilliantly depicted in the 1972 movie “Cabaret.” Hitler promised — and delivered — order and prosperity. He seduced the church by pretending to favor Christianity despite condemning it harshly in his book “Mein Kampf.”

Neither the Jews nor the Christians believed the government would actually become tyrannical. America is not Germany — not by a long shot. But some recent developments should give us pause.

In 2010, the national government took over America’s health care system.

On May 23, the Boy Scouts of America, the largest nondenominational youth group teaching traditional values, caved to corporate and media pressure and abandoned its 103-year-old “morally straight” code.

The Internal Revenue Service has criminally suppressed the Tea Party movement and other conservative groups. The IRS has also targeted Jewish groups, such as Z Street, which raises funds to support Israel.

The National Security Agency has seized millions of phone records from the three major carriers — Verizon, AT&T and Sprint Nextel Corp. — and has data on an estimated 20 trillion calls and emails by U.S. citizens.

The U.S. Justice Department has grossly violated the First Amendment rights of journalists.

Power in Washington is growing exponentially, but even now, most pastors are not warning their flocks of the danger.

They could start by participating in the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Pulpit Freedom Sunday events. And they can start talking about the little girl who was nearly condemned to death for being 10 years old.

Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.