Friday, December 12, 2008

Claiming the Holocaust Didn't Happen

A few weeks ago I received a forwarded email entitled, "It happened." I'm normally not one to respond to forwards, I don't normally pass them on unless I think they are extremely important, or have made me fall out of my chair laughing, but this one was different.

The forwarded email I received had a power point file on it that played several very disturbing photos of the Holocaust, along with a "news" story about how the United Kingdom had officially taken the Holocaust out of its national curriculum, and would no longer be teaching about the Holocaust in the United Kingdom. The reasoning - according to this powerpoint - was becasue the teachers did not want to offend the Muslim students and their families who believed (because of Muslim teachings) that the Holocaust did not happen.

I was shocked and appalled.

I had to respond.

First of all, I didn't believe that this could ever be true, so I did some research only to find that this was an ounce of the truth that had been blown way out of proportion. So my first complaint is that people need to quit sending on emails and forwards that aren't true. All it does is waste time and energy to forward dumb emails that are either completely false, or just so ridiculous they should be removed from all of cyberspace. But I digress.

After I did some research I did something I'm not one to normally do. I went back and looked at ALL the email addresses that had received this email, according to the FW: FW: FW: FW: FW: and I emailed the following email to every single person. If you know me at all, I'm not one to rock the boat, and I'm not fond of confrontation. Sometimes I don't mind - but if it's me putting my own rear end out there, ALL BY MYSELF - chances are I'll just observe until I develop the courage. So responding this quicly and strong, this was a big step for me...

Feel free to read MY response to the original email... then there's more :)

"I’m normally not one to respond to or to pass on forwards, but I can’t sit back and watch these kind of emails. I apologize if you have never met me, nor even know who I am, but I BEG you to think about the emails you are sending before you haphazardly send emails to your entire address book without thinking of the implications. I also plead that you will take time to think about the following thoughts, even if its only for that minute our first email talked about…

I am especially touched by the spreading of this “It happened” email because I personally have stood on the Holy Ground that is Auschwitz/Birkenau. I have personally touched the grass that grows an entirely different color green because it is growing from the ashes of cremated human beings that were buried there so many years ago. I have touched the hard metal of the rail roads that represented a way into Birkenau, but no way out. I have stood inside a gas chamber and felt the cold steel of the inside door of that chamber, which so many people wrestled with as they fought to open the door before they were put to death for no apparent reason. I have met and dined with "Righteous Gentiles" who were put into death camps for speaking out. I have traveled with a Holocaust survivor and listened to him tell me that he cannot remember his sister's face, only her long braid as she walked into the gas chamber.

I’ve included at the bottom of this email several links which clarify that THIS FORWARDED EMAIL IS FALSE and that there is no truth to an official removal of the Holocaust from the United Kingdom’s curriculum. However, I first have something to say about sending this kind of email in the first place.

I say these things as a licensed minister from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a mainline denomination here in the US and Canada, which also has ties throughout many countries of the world. I have completed my education at an accredited seminary and will be ordained in the next few months.

The original email said, the “UK erased the Holocaust from the British school curriculum because it offended ‘the muslim population beliefs’ that the Hoocaust never took place.”

Ineeded there are several people in our world who have a sick and twisted idea that the Holocaust never happened, however THIS IS NOT A TEACHING OF THE MAJORITY OF MUSLIMS, NOR IS IT PART OF TRUE MUSLIM FAITH AND TEACHINGS.

JUST LIKE EVERY RELIGION, WHERE THEY HAVE THOSE WHO HOLD WRONG BELIEFS, THOSE WHOM WE CALL EXTREMISTS, ISLAM DOES TOO. This does not mean that every single Muslim you meet is an extremist, nor does it mean that every person who follows Islam believes the same things that extremists do. Islam is like Christianity – there is a broad spectrum of beliefs. Would Christians all want to be associated with the beliefs of the KKK? Would Christians want people to "learn" about Christianity based on the teachings of the KKK? I think not. I'm not saying that there aren't people who teach and profess such lies about the "myth" of the Holocaust, but this is not something that is a true teaching of the Muslim faith, or at least the Muslim faith I have studied and know.

Forwarding emails like this that blame things on one particular faith community only perpetuates hatred and misunderstanding. Sending emails without fully knowing whether or not they are true continues to perpeutate hate.

When the Holocaust started, Germany was a fertile ground full of protestant believers who “knew” the Bible front to back. These believers “knew” that the Jews killed Jesus, which they were taught, and they believed gave them right to kill the Jews. The Nazi’s also “knew” hundreds of other things they could blame on the Jews, and why they should be killed. All of which we now profess to be wrong. If we are still perpetuating hatred, and spreading rumors about religious beliefs and institutions, have we REALLY learned anything? Maybe it’s not about Jews or Christians now, but by perpetuating hatred towards and fear from those who are different, or those who we do not understand, or those who receive bad press because the extremists have the loudest voices, we are only continuing on with the same hatred that was present during the Holocaust. Sadley, that hatred has never died.

It is not what people do in the name of their religion that makes a religion. It is not what the extremists do that make Islam what it is. I could go on for days about true Islam and the true meaning of their religion, but I digress. If you are insterested I encourage you to check out http://www.goodislam.com/ and see for yourself that Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are in fact all very much related, all believe in the ONE SAME TRUE GOD regardless of the name we give our God, and all three faiths have peaceful foundations. We are directly connected through a common ancestor, Abraham, and continue to have a peaceful familial relationship in many places throughout the world.

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” – Blaise Pascal

Please check out these links:

Holocaust Education Trust of UK http://www.het.org.uk/content.php?page_id=263

Boycott Watch http://www.boycottwatch.org/misc/UK-Holocaust.htm

Israel News http://www.zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/04/holocaust-education-in-uk-clarifying.html

Snopes.com http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/holocaust.asp

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. Please feel free to respond with any questions or concerns.

"It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read." - Thomas Jefferson"

I even went so far as to give everyone on that email list my personal phone number and email so that they could respond if they wanted to. I had one person respond simply asking me to remove them from the list. It was very polite, and I was not offended.

TODAY however... I received a new email...

"Ms. Phillips:

This would be in response to your email in regard to Great Britain not wanting to offend their Muslim citizens in regard to the Holocaust and taking the truth out of their history books. Snopes, I fear, is as liberal in their interpretation of the truth as you seem to be. I do not know the quote--but there is one out there that suggests that if we choose to ignore the past and hope that it will go away--the horrors of it will be repeated.

How do you feel about the "stuff" going on in Illinois? Our country is on a steep--grave--slippery slope. Liberal denominations such as the one you serve are taking us down the same path that our government is. Come Lord Jesus--come quickly."

This gentleman then signed his name and then put in parentheses underneath his name (Psalm 91).

I'm not sure if I should respond to his email... What would I say? What would you say?

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Oh wow wow wow. (Sorry hadn't checke your blog in awhile and I'm glad I did today!).

Well, KUDOS for doing the research and sending a response to the many people who just blindly send on ridiculous emails perpetuating hate and stereotypes.

As for the person who responded in such a way . . . wow. I wouldn't give him a response, it it likely a never-ending battle. He appears to be very set in his ways and without an open heart (something I'm proud that the Christian Church (DOC) possesses). I'd let him be and know that YOU did the right thing.