Defining Deviancy Down and the ‘Tables of a New Law’
In his book The Ten Commandments, Hermann Rauschning describes Adolf Hitler’s master plan of a complete reordering of this world along purely humanistic lines. At an intimate gathering in Berlin shortly after the National Socialists came to power, the author heard Hitler discuss his true intentions as they related to “the ethical foundation of life.” Rauschning “wrote down the conversation as well and faithfully as” his memory allowed, and in 1937 passed parts of it to the future Pope Pius XII, Protestant clergymen, and published other parts in his book The Voice of Destruction.1
Writing as an eyewitness to the events unfolding before him, Rauschning offered a warning that few people wanted to hear. “It concerns all of us,” he wrote. “It deals with the deliberately planned battle against the dignified, immortal foundation of human society; the message from Mount Sinai. Let us name it clearly and simply: Hitler’s Battle Against the Ten Commandments.”2
Hitler and his malleable henchmen hated God’s law. They knew that it was the only thing that stood between them and their new world order. Hitler described God as “that Asiatic tyrant.” True freedom, as Hitler saw it, is freedom from God’s law. Rauschning recounts the following ravings by Hitler while spending the evening with him and other Nazi party loyalists at the Reich Chancery:
The day will come when I shall hold up against these commandments the tables of a new law. And history will recognize our movement as the great battle for humanity’s liberation, a liberation from the curse of Mount Sinai, from the dark stammerings of nomads who could no more trust their own sound instincts, who could understand the divine only in the form of a tyrant who orders one to do the very things one doesn’t like. This is what we are fighting against: the masochistic spirit of self-torment, the curse of so-called morals, idolized to protect the weak from the strong in the face of immortal law of battle, the great law of divine nature. Against the so-called ten commandments, against them we are fighting.3
If our only citizenship is exclusively in heaven, why bother fighting Hitler’s anti-Christian methods? Who cares if God’s law is not being honored? Heaven is our home. Unfortunately, many Germans felt the same way in the 1930s and paid a hefty price for their indifference.
Some Christians might object to this emphasis on law. “The Christian faith is about grace and mercy. . . . Why should we be concerned about the Ten Commandments? . . . We’re not under law; we’re under grace.” Civil government is a ministry of law. That’s its God-ordained job: “For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil; . . . for it is a minister of God, and avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil” (Rom. 13:3, 4). How does the civil magistrate know what’s good and evil? If there is no objective law, then he is a law unto himself, and we are in trouble. God’s law restrains the civil magistrate in the same way it restrains all of us. The law is God’s published boundary marker of behavior.
- Hermann Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1940). In England, it was published under the title Hitler Speaks in 1939. [↩]
- Hermann Rauschning, “Preface,” The Ten Commandments: Ten Short Novels of Hitler’s War Against the Moral Code, ed. Armin L. Robinson (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1943), x. [↩]
- Rauschning, “Preface,” xiii. [↩]