On February 4, at the 47th annual National Prayer Breakfast, President Clinton said that “throughout history people have prayed to God to aid them in war.” He also said that “No faith is blameless in saying that they have taken up arms against others of other faiths, other races—because it was God’s will that they do so.”
These comments by the president are, of course, true. But what was not true was his statement that Hitler preached a perverted form of Christianity. “I do believe,” President Clinton said, “that even though Adolf Hitler preached a perverted form of Christianity, God did not want him to prevail.”
We issued a news release explaining that the president had erred:
“In an otherwise excellent address, President Clinton made a remarkably ignorant comment about Hitler and Christianity at the annual Prayer Breakfast. If Hitler had invoked Christ in his writings or speeches, and had referenced Christ as the source of his crusade, then it could fairly be argued that he had adopted a ‘perverted form of Christianity.’ But anyone who has studied Hitler knows that this is pure nonsense.
“Hitler was a neo-pagan terrorist whose conscience was not informed by Christianity, but by pseudo-scientific racist philosophies. By asserting that Christianity, no matter how distorted by Hitler, can somehow be linked to the politics of genocide is irresponsible. Hitler hated the Catholic Church, made plans to kill the Pope, authorized the murder of thousands of priests and nuns, and did everything he could to suppress the influence of the Church.
“In 1933, Hitler said, ‘It is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity because there is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood.’ It is difficult to square comments like this with the president’s remark. He should apologize for his mistake.”