How American Bible-rejecting churches supported Nazi-like policies

Many people have said or thought this since Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, invented the term ‘eugenics’ in 1883.1 Since then, the cheerleaders for this offspring of evolution have included racists of many different nationalities, such as Hitler’s Nazis, as well as enthusiasts for the ‘right’ to abortion, euthanasia, and now in the 21st century, human destruction for embryonic stem-cell research. This is of course consistent with the belief they all share, namely that people are all just evolved animals.

The many violations of human rights, and the killings and genocides which are the result of eugenicist beliefs are well documented and so are well known.2 What is not so well known is that, in the early 20thcentury, eugenics was promoted with almost evangelistic fervour in American élite circles, leading to the forced sterilization of over 60,000 US citizens3 and even euthanasia.4,5 Even worse, it was ardently promoted by many of the liberal ‘mainline’ churches in America.6,7

Eugenics to the rescue?

The end of the 19th and early years of the 20th centuries was a time of social problems in America, with the ‘arrival of staggering numbers of new immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, increased industrialization, urbanization, economic depressions, and labor upheavals … . Declining birth rates, rising divorce rates and the widening scourge of syphilis prompted many observers to fear for the fate of the American family and, by implication, for the nation as a whole.’8

Eugenicists believed they had the answer to this situation. Poverty, disease, prostitution, alcoholism, and crime were not evidence of man’s moral failing, but problems to be solved scientifically. The scientific solution was to promote the breeding of large families by the allegedly superior humans, like white middle-class Anglo-Saxons, and simultaneously to restrict the size of families of the allegedly inferior humans, i.e. those regarded as racially and mentally deficient….

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