A Lutheran pastor in Germany has been jailed. What for, you might wonder? It depends on who you ask. The Free Republic claims it is because he was a Christian saying what he believes; others are saying it’s because he’s anti-abortion; surprise, surprise, Bill Dembski says it’s because he was an advocate for teaching Intelligent Design, and sees this as jailing creationists.

Unfortunately for their causes, they’re all wrong. He was jailed for being a holocaust denier, which is a crime in Germany. I’m not too keen on that law myself, but the evidence is clear—there are quotes at that link where he’s plainly claiming that millions weren’t killed in the death camps, the Auschwitz camp is a fake, etc.

I’m also not in favor of criminalizing creationism, by the way, although I do think teachers who promote it in their classrooms ought to be fired for gross incompetence and for ignorance of the subject they were hired to teach.


  1. #1 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 26, 2007

    The increase in neonazis in Germany during the last 15 years has nothing to do with this set of laws, and everything to do with economics. There are regions of germany with chronic 20% unemlpoyment rates, and in an atmosphere like that, bad ideas take root.

    While I haven’t engaged any neonazis, it seems on the surface that many of the groups and individuals are only loosely associated with nazism or even political ideas outside the basic hatred for their outgroup. Sometimes the main thing seems to be the possibility to dress as the ingroup, drink to excess and demonstrate their hate for immigrants and homosexuals.

    As for creationism, better education and information would move some of the naive away from such a movement. And I wouldn’t expect the same amount of hardcore fundamentalism behind, as long as they don’t impress as many people through their family and upbringing as religions do. The unemployment issue is a tough add on problem though.

  2. #2 David Marjanovi?
    June 26, 2007

    It’s very simple. If you have gone through the German — or Austrian — education system, you cannot be ignorant of the holocaust. (Remember: the postmodernists can go cheney themselves — there is such a thing as reality; you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.) Therefore, if you deny it, you must be a liar whose intent is destroying democracy and the very freedom of speech you profitted of. The German and Austrian democracies protect themselves by putting such liars in jail.

    Glorifying Stalin is AFAIK not forbidden in Austria (I don’t know about Germany). That’s because there have never been enough communists (let alone Stalinists) in Austria to be a threat. In fact, they tried to mount a general strike in 1950, and failed completely.

  3. #3 David Marjanovi?
    June 26, 2007

    In contrast, if you have gone through the US education system and then go on to be a YEC, it is by no means proven that you are a dominionist who wants to abolish democracy and freedom of speech. It is entirely imaginable that you are simply ignorant.

  4. #4 David Marjanovi?
    June 26, 2007

    We tend to give more latititude to political speech at the fringes than other societies do, but I would submit that’s because we can generally afford to.

    Agreed. Your neonazis have much less chance of getting to power than ours. You should watch out about the dominionists, but even these are rather harmless, at least as long as the neocons keep them under control… :->

  5. #5 David Marjanovi?
    June 26, 2007

    Especially when you consider the German education system, because here it is impossible to stay in the dark about the holocaust.

    That’s what I’m saying: if you’ve gone through the German or Austrian education system and still deny the holocaust, you are a liar with evil intentions, and that’s what the law assumes.

    (You have national bolsheviks in Germany??? Like the Russian ones [who seem not to know anything about the history of any place and "just" are "general totalitarian extremists"]? Hard to imagine.)

  6. #6 David Marjanovi?
    June 26, 2007

    Any other countries have these people?

    Well, Austria has *giggle* 2 or 3 monarchists left… I don’t think it makes sense to say they live anywhere in particular :-Þ

  7. #7 David Marjanovi?
    June 26, 2007

    In Austria, the wording is AFAIK that “making National Socialism appear harmless” is forbidden.

    They avoided naming it Verfassung (“constitution”)

    There’s still a secret service called Verfassungsschutz “constitution protection”, though.

  8. #8 David Marjanovi?
    June 26, 2007

    To be fair, Kseniya, I don’t think Putin is a communist at all. He’s “just” nostalgic for the empire.

  9. #9 David Marjanovi?
    June 27, 2007

    Sometimes I’m baffled by some people’s “All or nothing” approach.

    Some people believe in slippery slopes. Apparently Caledonian is one of them.

    I think some slopes are slippery, and some aren’t.

    Hey, look, o truest of Scotsmen. So we’ve had these laws in place ever since WWII. What has happened? Have any other freedoms been taken away? Are we back at the very totalitarianism the mentioned laws are meant to protect us from?

    You are living in the place that doesn’t even vote in ink on paper and where some courts have the mind-boggling right to stop the counting* of votes, not we.

    * Oh, so it’s “just” recounting? If you count 10 times, and you don’t get the same result 10 times, you have a problem.