- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Pagan Hitler
"I vividly remember a high school conversation with a friend I'd known since we were 8. I'd pointed out that Hitler was essentially a pagan, not a Christian, but my friend absolutely refused to believe it. No matter how much evidence I presented, he kept insisting that Nazi Germany was an extension of Christianity, acting out its age-old vendetta against the Jews. Not that he spoke from any personal study of the subject; he just knew. …
"Well, sometimes myths die hard. But this one took a hit in early January, at the hands of one Julie Seltzer Mandel, a Jewish law student at Rutgers. …
"Mandel read through 148 bound volumes of papers gathered by the American OSS … to build the case against Nazi leaders on trial at Nuremberg. … The upshot: a ton of evidence that Hitler sought to wipe out Christianity just as surely as he sought to wipe out the Jews.
"The first installment … includes a 108-page OSS outline, 'The Persecution of the Christian Churches.' It's not easy reading, but it's an enlightening tale of how the Nazis faced with a country where the overwhelming majority considered themselves Christians built their power while plotting to undermine and eradicate the churches, and the people's faith."
Matt Kaufman, writing on "Hitler vs. the Church," Thursday in Boundless at www.boundless.org

A story of honor
"The battle for Mogadishu became very quickly a battle driven almost entirely by considerations of honor, as more and more American soldiers jeopardized their lives, not for any grand idea, but simply to save their wounded comrades and recover the bodies of the dead. …
"The notion of leaving no Ranger behind hadn't sprung up from nowhere, it wasn't just a fetish, but an expression of civilization, honed to a high pitch in the bravery and professionalism of these American soldiers.
"In this sense, 'Black Hawk Down' is a rabidly pro-American movie. …
"It wasn't the Rangers' fault that their battle ended up lacking geopolitical 'meaning.' And there's nothing wrong with a movie that brings us their story with undeniable grit and power.
"So, call me a softie, but 'Black Hawk Down' is an incredible cinematic poem to the valor and decency of the American soldier. Thank God we live in a country that can produce such men."
Rich Lowry, writing on "Down on 'Black Hawk,'" Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Historical modesty
"We should be diligent in searching for meaning in history, but be modest and skeptical about what we believe we have found therein. After all, we might be wrong. God may have something new and unexpected up His sleeve.
"That modesty should extend, I believe, to our efforts to discern rightly the meaning of particular events, such as those that we now denote by the date of September 11, 2001. It may be partly sheer peevishness on my part. But when I hear people like CNN's Larry King refer to September 11 as 'the day that changed America forever,' and when I hear him proclaim that the horrors of that day constitute 'the most important event in the history of the United States,' I wince. It's partly because such portentous statements seem weightless and implausible coming out of the mouths of people for whom 'history' is whatever happened two weeks ago, the same people who will be likely to assure us in their next breath that Britney Spears, or some other confection du jour, is the greatest pop singer 'of all time.' Imagine that. All time. That term might even span as much as a whole decade."
Wilfred M. McClay, writing on "The Continuing Irony of American History," in the February issue of First Things

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