Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels Accuses Atheism as Cause of Holocaust and Other Great Crimes Against Humanity

The global campaign against the scourge of secularism continues. As we previously saw how the Chief Rabbi and the former prime minister of England attacked secularism as the threat to Western Civilization. Now, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is adding his voice to this chorus — singling out atheists as responsible for the greatest crimes of the last century.

Daniels’ rather shrill and strained view of history came out in a pre-Christmas interview with NewsChannel 15 at the Governor’s Residence in Indianapolis. Daniels is a Presbyterian and insisted that his life’s purpose is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” That seems perfectly understandable. However, he then turned to those who have historically threatened mankind: people who do not believe in God.

Here is part of that interview:

Mark Mellinger: You’ve talked about your own personal faith very little. What is the Gospel? What is its primary significance to Mitch Daniels?

Governor Daniels: It’s true. I don’t talk about these things too openly for two reasons.

One is [that] although faith is very central to me, I also take very seriously the responsibility to treat my public duties in a way that keeps separate church and state and respects alternative views.

Secondly, I’ve sometimes referred to it as a Matthew 6 Christian. If you read that chapter, it’s the one that talks about praying in private, not giving your alms in public, not being ostentatious about your faith. And I’ve always liked that notion and thought that was a pretty important instruction.

Mellinger: But theology has to shape your life, right? I mean, the external actions that we see you take, [they’re] driven by what’s inside. Isn’t it all a result of your theology?

Daniels: I hope it is; hope it is, except we all fall short of that.

To me, the core of the Christian faith is humility, which starts with recognizing that you’re as fallen as anyone else. And we’re all constantly trying to get better, but… so I’m sure I come up short on way too many occasions.

Our country was founded -this is just an historic fact; some people today may resist this notion but it is absolutely true- it was founded by people of faith. It was founded on principles of faith. The whole idea of equality of men and women [and] of the races all springs from the notion that we’re all children of a just God. It is very important to at least my notion of what America’s about and should be about and I hope it’s reflected most of the time in the choices that we make personally.

Mellinger: Is there part of you that is bothered by the aggressive atheism of a [Sam] Harris, a [Christopher] Hitchens, a [Richard] Dawkins? And what I mean is… this atheism is a little different than atheism has been in the past because it does seek to convert people.

Daniels: I’m not sure it’s all that new. People who reject the idea of a God -who think that we’re just accidental protoplasm- have always been with us. What bothers me is the implications -which not all such folks have thought through- because really, if we are just accidental, if this life is all there is, if there is no eternal standard of right and wrong, then all that matters is power.

And atheism leads to brutality. All the horrific crimes of the last century were committed by atheists -Stalin and Hitler and Mao and so forth- because it flows very naturally from an idea that there is no judgment and there is nothing other than the brief time we spend on this Earth.

Everyone’s certainly entitled in our country to equal treatment regardless of their opinion. But yes, I think that folks who believe they’ve come to that opinion ought to think very carefully, first of all, about how different it is from the American tradition; how it leads to a very different set of outcomes in the real world.

“Atheism leads to brutality.” That is certainly the case with all those atheists who force nine-year-old to marry, carry out female circumcision, invade nations to convert them, bomb market places, and hang people for blasphemy . . . wait, those are the faithful. Well, as Blair insists, consider Hitler. He wrote:

This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief. The great masses of a nation are not composed of philosophers. For the masses of the people, especially faith is absolutely the only basis of a moral outlook on life. The various substitutes that have been offered have not shown any results that might warrant us in thinking that they might usefully replace the existing denominations. …There may be a few hundreds of thousands of superior men who can live wisely and intelligently without depending on the general standards that prevail in everyday life, but the millions of others cannot do so.

– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 10

He also insisted that

By helping to lift the human being above the level of mere animal existence, Faith really contributes to consolidate and safeguard its own existence. Taking humanity as it exists to-day and taking into consideration the fact that the religious beliefs which it generally holds and which have been consolidated through our education, so that they serve as moral standards in practical life, if we should now abolish religious teaching and not replace it by anything of equal value the result would be that the foundations of human existence would be seriously shaken.

– Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 2 Chapter 1

Hitler was actually baptized as Roman Catholic, attended a monastery school, was an altar boy and claimed to be a “soldier of Christ.” There is a debate over his view of religion when he died, but Hitler actually encouraged faith among his soldiers and citizens in his twisted view of the world. He also wrote “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2).

Among the Daniels’ “so forth” with Mao and Stalin, he obviously must omit Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Augusto Pinochet and others from last few decades. He also must omit those crusader massacres, Northern Ireland terrorists, and every other killing spree for God. He also must omit the war crimes committed by his party’s own George W. Bush who was fed Biblical passages by underlings who want to invade the Muslim world, here.

What threatens this planet is not secularism or religion, but people like Daniels who curry favor of some by demonizing others in the name of faith. It is fanaticism that links the great crimes in history.

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36 thoughts on “Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels Accuses Atheism as Cause of Holocaust and Other Great Crimes Against Humanity”

  1. It seems that the more public and publicly activist religion becomes the less people like what they see.

    There is reason hope or hope for reason:

    “29% of Americans say religion ‘out of date’”

    “…– while 57% still say religion has answers to most of the world’s problems…

    The biggest difference is that in the late 1990s, up to 68% of Americans thought religion had answers to the world’s problems — even though only about 60% said religion was personally very important to them. It seems as though over the last ten years a significant number may have gone from believing that religion is a positive factor in the world, even if they’re not particularly religious themselves, to seeing religion in a far more skeptical or even negative light.”

  2. Also, his statements make me think he might be qualified as a history teacher at a Kansas public school. Maybe something he could consider if god’s plan doesn’t work out for him…

  3. as a conservative Hoosier, I think Daniels is doing a pretty job as guv’nah. However, as an atheist, I think he should keep his mouth shut on things not related to his job and particularly that of which he has yet to study beyond hannitized talking points.

  4. I want to know one more thing–where are the christian moderates? Why aren’t you condemning this extremist?

  5. Thank you for writing about this. I’m from Fort Wayne, home of the news organization whose “reporter” conducted this interview. I’ve written a letter to the morning paper here on the logical inconsistency and historical inaccuracy of the governor’s argument; hopefully it will be published. Unfortunately this level of absurdity is something I’ve come to expect from Mr Daniels. It’s a real shame that such ignorant things can be said by public officials and still receive the tacit endorsement of such a wide audience. It shows that non-believers still have a long way to go before reaching an appreciable level of acceptance even in public discourse, to say nothing of an end to this sort religious discrimination in general.

  6. The truth is there is nothing about belief in god or in being an atheist that will guarantee someone is an ethical person. The gov simply refuses to pay attention to actions. He wants a shortcut. Believers=good. Atheists=bad. Reality should have disabused him of this idea a long time ago.

    I believe many religious people are threatened by atheism because it will take away their power. They claim power by saying, as did Hitler, that they act under the hand of god. It is the foundation from which they oppress others. There are also secular cults whose leaders act the same way, In each case “leaders” claim authority from some form of superiority they have granted to themselves. Atheism strips away one of the most common excuses used by such people to claim power. If a “leader” can’t really claim he is working on behalf of god, people will question why they should follow him or her. They would have to examine what the leader was saying and doing to see if it made sense. Whether someone claims their authority from the lord or anywhere else, what is that person doing with their authority? If they use it to harm others, even if one believes god directed the harm, then one should turn away. There is no reason to follow any god that directs cruelty and harm to others. Find another god if you must, but do not follow a god of hate. There is no reason to follow any person who counsels cruelty. If you follow such a god or person, you have made a decision that this is who you are. Is that who you wish to be?

  7. From the lips of the gov: “Our country was founded -this is just an historic fact; some people today may resist this notion but it is absolutely true- it was founded by people of faith. It was founded on principles of faith. The whole idea of equality of men and women [and] of the races all springs from the notion that we’re all children of a just God.”


    I wonder what kind of history books Daniels has read. I didn’t know that women and people of all races were considered equals when this country was established. I guess that “just God” of which Daniels speaks felt that white men were the only ones who really counted back in the 18th century.

  8. rcampbell–

    I think some people believe it doesn’t count as genocide/mass murder when Christian conquistadors and settlers in the Americas killed the heathen folk who already inhabited the “New World.”

    right of center–

    To be sure, it would be so much better to live in a theocracy than in a country where there is a separation of church and state. Right???

    We all know that the Catholics and Protestants always got along famously in Europe and never had any problems with each other.

    Christians would never enslave millions of human beings, would they?

  9. rightofcenter

    And those four characters define every atocity inflicted on humanity? Theists must accept responsibility for every such incident committed by a Christian, Muslim, Hebrew, Greek or Trojan leader throughout history who killed in the name of or for the greater glory of their gods. Shall we begin naming those?

  10. One wonders how the Governor justifies the rape, murder and destruction of so many peaceful, indiginous tribes of the New (Western) World by Christian explorers invoking their god’s name. Hmmmmm.

  11. Daniels chose his words poorly. While one can engage in scholarly debate with respect to Hitler’s personal theological beliefs, what can’t be debated is his regime’s unquestionable embrace of absolute secularism. The National Socialist Unity Party believed that anything that inserted itself between the supremecy of the state and it’s citizens was a threat – a threat that would eventually have to be removed. The fact that Hitler and his Third Reich didn’t tear the churches to the ground wasn’t a result of intent (or lack thereof), just a lack of opportunity.

    Hitler, along with Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot – the most successful mass murderers in the history of mass murder – believed without equivocation that there was no room for religion (organized or otherwise) in their fascist states. When government leaders look to wash religion from their respective societies to especially include the removal of religion from the political discourse within the society, the citizens have well-founded reasons to look with suspicious eyes at the motivations of those leaders.

  12. Buddha,
    That is a very exhaustive listing of the religious criminals throughout history. I am confused after reading the Governor’s interview. He states that he is a Matthew 6 Christian that keeps his faith to himself and is not ostentatious, but why is he giving an interview to a member of the mass media about his faith??

  13. Obviously Governor Daniels has as much respect for the wall of separation between church and state as he does for atheists.

    The good governor should remember this:Atheists hold the weight of the world on their shoulders. For unlike their monotheist counterparts atheists have no invisible friend, be it an old guy-in-the-sky or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, who monitors their every action or moral choice.

    The atheist takes responsibility for his own actions. He does not have the luxury of having an invisible friend whom he can praise when things go right or blame when things go wrong.

  14. “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”

    – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

    Perhaps I will look up quotes by members of The Family to post here.

  15. Hitler = Catholic, war criminal and the gold standard for monsters posing in human form.

    G.W. Bush = Fundamentalist Christian and war criminal

    Bibi Netanyahu = Fundamentalist Jew and war criminal

    Tomas de Torquemada = Catholic Church sanctioned Inquisitor.

    Abortion Doctor Killing ala Dr. George Tiller = Christian Funamentalists

    Oklahoma City Bombing = Christian Fundamentalists

    9/11 Attack = Fundamentalist Wahabist Islamic State (Saudi Arabia) and other Fundamentalist Islamic groups.

    Pedophilia Scandals (multiple) = The Roman Catholic Church

    Yah . . . those atheists sure are causing a lot of trouble out there, Gov. Dumbass. Apparently there are three things you are not good at, Gov.

    1) Reading and comprehending history text books,

    2) using a word as label and a bigoted smear when “atheism” is all one thing like Christianity is all one thing (as in IT’S NOT – Buddhists, Jainists and Unitarians are all known to consider themselves atheists) and

    3) not saying things to piss off a substantial number of voters.

    See, I can say religion has killed more people than atheism, BECAUSE IT’S A HISTORICAL FACT. If you are motivated to kill for what some idiot tells you “God wants” well then that motive goes away when the belief in a magic judgmental sky-father who is a passive-aggressive wanting to both love us and punish us at the same time goes away too. Cause and effect.

    Like you being repeatedly dropped on your head as a child os the cause in the effect of you being an outright moron, Gov. Daniels.

  16. And to think that George and Dicky were religious folks just wants to make my skin crawl.

    All’s you ever need to know is the Book of James or the epistle of James or the Chapter of James or the Gospel of James or in more conventional terms the Dossiers of James. It is the same regardless of what you call it.

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