The Pink Swastika and the Hidden Holocaust?

One purpose of The Pink Swastika is to minimize the suffering and persecution of homosexuals during the tenure of the Third Reich. In reaction to gay holocaust theories employed by some gay advocates, Lively and Abrams advance a theory about why some homosexuals were persecuted while others were Nazi promoters. Lively and Abrams suggest that masculine oriented, “Butch” homosexuals were favored by the Nazis. These “Butch” gays hated and persecuted effeminate, “Fem” homosexuals when the Nazis came to power. Thus, by their theory, some gays were hurt but more often it was the gays who did the hurting. While there are real problems conceptually and historically with this simplistic notion, I will address those issues in a future post.

In order to discount the persecution of gays, a resource quoted favorably by Lively and Abrams is Hidden Holocaust? Edited by Gunter Grau with a contribution from Claudia Shoppmann. Grau’s book is a compendium of documents from the Nazi era, many from East German archives which had not been released prior to this book.

By my count, The Pink Swastika references Grau six times. To find segments which fit their “homofascism” theory, the authors had to ignore quite a few documents which, if considered, would balance the picture and offset their thesis. Here are some illustrations of their selective references.

On page 180, Lively and Abrams quote a review of the Hidden Holocaust? which seems to suggest that Grau discounts the suffering of male homosexuals.

The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review (Summer 1995)contains an admirably candid review of the book Hidden Holocaust? by Gunter Grau (in which Schoppmann was a minor contributor):

Grau and Schoppman [sic] conclude that there was no “holocaust” of gays — hence the question mark in the book’s title. This assessment is based on the wide range of contemporary documents…Grau discounts the current wild estimates of the number of gays killed by the Nazis, suggesting a figure closer to 5,000…How, then are we to read the widely quoted incendiary statements by Nazis like SS leader Himmler, who consistently called for the ‘eradication’ of homosexuals?…Much of this rhetoric, Grau says, was propaganda meant for public consumption…Gays were never the subject of pogroms, and never faced the danger that the Jews did in Germany and occupied Europe.

Lively and Abrams then quote a paper by Judith Reisman which further questions the degree of persecution experienced by homosexuals and concludes with a sinister accusation.

Dr. Judith Reisman, in “The Pink Swastika and Holocaust Revisionist History,” wrote this comparison of the fate of the two groups [Jews and homosexuals] under the Nazis:

Were homosexuals treated like Jews, 2-3 million out of 2-3 million German homosexuals should have lost their businesses, their jobs, their property, their possessions and most would have lost their lives. Homosexuals would have been forced to wear pink triangles on their clothing in the streets, they would have had their passports stamped with an “H,” been barred from travel, work, shopping, public appearances with out their armbands, and we would have thousands of pictures of pink triangle graffiti saying “kill the faggots,” and the like. If German homosexuals were not Nazis, these 2-3 million men would have been homeless, walled in ghettos, worked as a mass labor pool, then gassed and their abuse recorded in graphic detail, as were the millions of Jews. And, if Germany’s several million “gays” were not Nazi victims, they were Nazi soldiers, collaborators or murderers (Reisman: Culture Wars , April 1996).

As we shall see, Grau points out that homosexuals did experience at least some of what Reisman says they avoided.

On page 179 of The Pink Swastika, Lively and Abrams also reference Grau’s identification of Massimo Consoli as the proponent of the theory that gays were victims of holocaust on the same order as the Jews.

(Consoli is, however, a leading proponent of the “Gay Holocaust” public relations ploy — Grau:5).

However, surrounding one of the pages (5) in Grau’s book cited by Lively and Abrams is Grau’s assessment of the treatment received by homosexuals by the Nazis. Grau writes

A major role was played by various eugenic concepts. Seeing male homosexuals as an immediate threat to the growth of the nation, National Socialist ideologues partly blamed them for the lower birth-rates and preached the need to make optimum use of the ‘generative power’ of the male population. In this way, they supplied ideological justification for all the intended, and eventually implemented, forms of persecution. The ‘eugenic aim’ of putting the ‘hereditary flow’ in order, by eliminating that which is ‘unhealthy’ and undesirable and blocking the reproduction of inferior blood, was the basic drift of measures that were designed and eventually put into operation against homosexuals as well as other groups…

The declared aim of the Nazi regime was to eradicate homosexuality. To this end, homosexuals were watched, arrested, registered, and — if this was unsuccessful — exterminated. In the twelve years of the National Socialist dictatorship, the arsenal of repressive measures devised in support of its population policy became ever more extensive. They included:

-the ordering and carrying out of police activities and of measures designed to instil terror;

-the sharpening of penal sanctions;

-the creation of special administrative bodies to carry out prosecutions;

-deportation and isolation in concentration camps;

-extension of the grounds for compulsory castration, and

-the organization of para-medical experiments, up to and including ‘reversal of hormonal polarity’. (p. 4).

Grau notes that the Nazi measures became more severe and repressive as their power increased.

Prosecutions and other repressive measures began just a few weeks after the Nazi seizure of power. In the following years the pressure on those concerned became more intense and severe, and the various measures used against them escalated with the help of state violence and in the framework of a comprehensive system of manipulation. (Grau, 4-5)

Grau then describes three periods of Nazi oppression of gays beginning with the closing of homosexual meeting places and concluding with drastic measures such as internment in concentration camps, medical experiments, pressure to be castrated, and for some the death penalty. Although Grau does not believe gays were singled out in the same manner as were the Jews, he characterizes the Nazi response as

…a rather differentiated series of punishments and deterrents, whose purpose was to dissuade the ‘homosexual minority’ from their sexual practice: that is, either to integrate them as ‘proper’ (heterosexual) men into the ‘national community’, or to make them abstain from sex in general. The key concern was ‘re-education’. That was the spirit in which the criminal law was tightened up: re-education through deterrence. And anyone who could not be deterred was sent to a concentration camp: re-education through labour. Psychology was also brought into service: re-education through psychotherapy. And even ‘predisposed’ homosexuals, for whom the Nazis held out no hope of improvement, could still be exploited as manpower for the ‘national community’ – provided that they were first castrasted.

Lively and Abrams apparently like and cite the section in Grau which offers evidence against a ‘gay holocaust’ on par with the atrocities against the Jews. However, they fail to take into account the actual level of suffering, persecution and oppression experienced by homosexuals. Grau details these measures throughout this section of his book. I presume, if Lively and Abrams recognized the terror experienced by homosexuals during the Nazi regime, they would have to modify their view of a homosexual conspiracy that continues today.

Another dramatic example of selective citation comes from a document from the Buchenwald archives (titled “The situation of homosexuals in Buchenwald concentration camp – report from Spring 1945”) and included in Grau from pages 266-270. Here is what Lively and Abrams took from the document.

An unknown percentage of homosexual prisoners were arrested not for sex offenses at all, but for political reasons. A document from the Buchenwald archive states,

In the spring of 1942 a Berlin writer called Dahnke was sent to the camp as a homosexual. The main reason for his internment, however, was political statements which had brought him to the attention of the Gestapo. (Grau:267)

Lively and Abrams want the reader to believe that gays were not singled out due to their homosexuality but for other reasons — in this case for some political opposition. Indeed, this no doubt happened. In this case, it is possible that the man was homosexual and a political opponent. In any case, Lively and Abrams fail to tell the rest of the story about unfortunate Mr. Dahnke. The reason for his internment may relate to politics but his demise was due to perception of homosexuality. I pick up the story on page 267 exactly where Lively and Abrams end.

One morning, after he [Dahnke] had been working for several months in the quarry, he was taken by someone on fatigue duty to the sick bay and presented to the camp doctor as suffering from TB. As a matter of fact, he was having chest trouble. The camp doctor at first wanted to put him in the TB unit for treatment, but when D. [Dahnke], not knowing how things stood, mentioned that he was really there for political reasons, the doctor sat up and took notice, realized that he was dealing with a homosexual, and had him taken into the room reserved for the death list. Two days later he was given the lethal injection.

Lively and Abrams selectively include the part of the story which, out of context, support their point. However, the real story here is about a man who was killed because he was thought to be a homosexual. Including the entire paragraph provides the real message from the Buchenwald archives and directly contradicts the premise promoted in The Pink Swastika.

Death Camps?

Scott Lively said in a speech (at about 8:20) to the Temecula county GOP that gays were not sent to death camps, but rather work camps (cf. 2:02). For sure, gays were sent to work camps as noted by Grau. However, in this same Buchenwald document, the archives make clear that gays were sent to death camps as well. On page 266, the Buchenwald document discloses:

Until autumn 1938 homosexuals were divided among the political blocks, where they went relatively unnoticed. In October 1938, they were sent enmasse to the punishment battalion and had to work in the quarry, whereas previously all other units had been open to them. Apart from a few recorded cases, every member of the punishment battalion had the prospect of being transferred after a certain time to a normal block where living and working conditions were significantly better, but this possibility did not exist for homosexuals. Precisely during the hardest years they were the lowest caste in the camp. In proportion to their number they made up the highest percentage of transports to special extermination camps such as Mauthausen, Natzweiler, and Gross Rosen, because the camp always had the understandable tendency to ship off less important and valuable members, or those regarded as less valuable. In fact, the wider deployment of labour in the war industry brought some relief to this type of prisoner too — for the labour shortage made it necessary to draw skills from the ranks of such people, although in January, 1944 the homosexuals, with very few exceptions, were still going to the ‘Dora’ murder camp, where many of them met their death. (Grau, 266).

This is the opening paragraph in the same Buchenwald archive document which Lively and Abrams quote approvingly. This kind of selective citation compromises any accurate presentations of the historical record in The Pink Swastika. As we have demonstrated throughout this series, readers should carefully check all claims and alleged facts.

Prior posts in this series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

List of posts on Uganda and The Pink Swastika

Leadership University removes “Homosexuality and the Nazi Party” article

Leadership University is a ministry affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ and exists as a “faculty outreach and training arm” of CCC. Until recently, LeaderU had Scott Lively’s article Homosexuality and the Nazi Party available to readers (Scroll down and you can see the link here). Now if you click that link ( you will not find the article.

This is the same article that Exodus International linked to but then removed in light of the Uganda ex-gay conference. Although Mr. Lively is an avid supporter of NARTH, that organization recently removed references to his work from their website.

Connecticut church tries to cast out homosexuality


Conn. church creates stir with gay exorcism video


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) – The video shows the 16-year-old boy lying on the floor, his body convulsing, as elders of a small Connecticut church cast a “homosexual demon” from his body.

“Rip it from his throat!” a woman yells. “Come on, you homosexual demon! You homosexual spirit, we call you out right now! Loose your grip, Lucifer!”

The 20-minute video posted on YouTube by Manifested Glory Ministries is being called abuse by gay and youth advocates, who are demanding an investigation. But a church official this week denied that the teenager was injured or that the church is prejudiced.

“We believe a man should be with a woman and a woman should be with a man,” the Rev. Patricia McKinney told The Associated Press. “We have nothing against homosexuals. I just don’t agree with their lifestyle.”

The church posted the video on YouTube but has since removed it; it is still available on some Web sites that copied it. The church declined to make the video available for distribution by The Associated Press.

It shows church members standing the youth on his feet by holding him under his arms, and people shouting as organ music plays.

“Come out of his belly,” someone commands. “It’s in the belly – push.”

Later, the teenager is back on the floor, breathing heavily. Then he’s coughing and apparently vomiting into a bag.

The minister says they have nothing against homosexuals. However, she fails to add that she just thinks they are inhabited by demons. Nazis. Demons. Worse threat than terrorists. And gays think Christians are hostile. Go figure.

If anyone knows where the video is hosted, let me know. Shades of James Stabile…


Here is video of the exorcism.

Ministry alert: Lighthouse World Evangelism, Inc.

ExgayWatch has a disturbing and apparently developing story about Matthew C. Manning and his Lighthouse World Evangelism group. There is more here than I can unravel but I think it is worth considering the story.

Matthew Manning has been on CBN and the Joni Show with an incredible story: he not only has been delivered from homosexuality but also HIV/AIDS. However, according to public records discovered by David Roberts at ExgayWatch, Mr. Manning’s deliverance is in some question. I have asked Mr. Manning for comment and clarification with no reply.

Sanford presidential prospects go south (of the border)

GOP Gov. Mark Sanford probably ended his chances for 2012 with a Father’s Day romp south of the border. Politico has the details…

Politico asks:

But is the straight-laced Republican base ready for a candidate whose idea of relaxation is leaving his wife and kids on Father’s Day weekend to skip the country?

The same weekend Obama exhorted men to be better fathers than those of the previous generation, Gov. Sanford is in Argentina “doing something more exotic.”

Bridge building – Bridging the Gap Syncroblog

This post is part of a synchroblog sponsored by New Direction. Over 50 bloggers are simultaneously posting articles on June 24th on the topic of bridging the gap between the church and the gay community. Participants hail from a variety of persuasions. Check out the list of other bloggers at Bridging the Gap.

When I started blogging on June 30, 2005, I was not sure what to expect from readers. I was somewhat surprised to find that many of my readers and commenters were gay. Over time, it dawned on me that my views of gays were pretty narrow. I found that it was true what I taught in social psychology: people in a social group understand the diversity of their group but fail to appreciate the diversity of other groups. After almost 4 years of blogging on issues surrounding sexuality, I think I have a better understanding of the diversity in the gay community.

As such then, the blog has helped to bridge gaps I had in my knowledge and in my experience. Since then, as I have become more outspoken regarding what I perceive as shortcomings in my own social conservative community, I have welcomed the increasing dialogue that takes place here.

I have experienced discomfort and confusion directed my way as I have reoriented my focus. Some in my community now disregard my views because they seem too liberal and some in the gay community do not trust me. The “dislike mail” (not really hate mail) now comes from all sides. Such may be the consequence of bridge building.

And so, perhaps my brief contribution to the syncroblog (said with a robot-like accent) is to point out to would-be bridge builders that controversy goes with the territory. I have found that it is very important to have a network of church, friends and family that understand and support you. A supportive work environment which values academic freedom is a distinct plus as well.

So build on bridge builders. May the One who is the Bridge strengthen us and enlighten our path.

The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

Throughout The Pink Swastika, Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams claim there was a necessary relationship between homosexuality and the rise of Nazi Germany. They chronicle a long line of people who they claim influenced National Socialism and assert with great confidence that most of those figures were homosexuals. However, a closer examination of their claims and the record reveal that the authors’ confidence is most likely based on wishful thinking and confirmation bias. To illustrate, I am going to review information on several key figures. This post focuses on Friedrich Nietzsche.

Nietzsche and National Socialism

I discussed Nietzsche earlier in this series but want to follow up on several claims made in The Pink Swastika. First, Lively and Abrams take for granted those Nazis who see in Nietzsche the philosophical foundation of National Socialism when they write on page 133:

Friedrich Nietzsche

Among the several men who have been dubbed “the Father of National Socialism” (including Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) is probably most deserving of this distinction, being so labeled by Nazi luminaries Dr. Alfred Rosenberg and Dr. Franck (Peters:221). Others have called him the “Father of Fascism” (ibid.:ix). Rabidly anti-Christian and a homosexual, Nietzsche founded the “God is dead” movement and contributed to the development of existentialist philosophy.

While it is true that prominent Nazis admired Nietzsche, it is unthinkable that Nietzsche would have approved of National Socialism. One Nietzsche scholar, Stephen Holgate at Warwick University, believes Nietzsche would have been critical of how the Nazi’s applied his writing, saying, “Nietzsche was not anti-Semitic or a nationalist, and hated the herd mentality.” However, Nietzsche’s sister was quite enamored with the Nazis and promoted her brother’s works in that context. Writer Ben Macintyre, who Lively and Abrams quote to support their views, dismissed the notion that Nietzsche was sympathetic to National Socialism. Writing in the London Times, Macintyre says,

But Nietzsche was no Nazi. He vigorously opposed German nationalism, as he rejected all mass movements; he had no time for ideologues, mocked the notion of a Teutonic master race and loathed anti-Semitism in all its forms.

Elisabeth, by contrast, was an enthusiastic Fascist. An early acolyte of Richard Wagner, she and her furiously anti-Semitic husband Bernhard Förster (this newspaper described him as “the most representative Jew-baiter in all of Germany”) picked up on one of the composer’s barmier ideas, and set off for Paraguay in 1886 to establish an Aryan, vegetarian republic in the middle of the jungle, which they called New Germany.

Nietzsche was bitterly opposed to the racist project from the start, declaring he wanted “nothing whatever to do with this anti-Semitic undertaking… if it fails, I shall rejoice”. Elisabeth was “morally bloated”, he said, “a vengeful anti-Semitic goose”. In an angry letter he told his sister that all of Germany’s racists should be packed off to the Paraguayan jungle, where they could rot harmlessly away.

Without hint of the obvious problem for their thesis, Lively and Abrams admit that Nietzsche condemned anti-Semitism and nationalism. In passing, they note:

Had he lived in that era, Nietzsche might not have become a Nazi. His works include numerous condemnations of anti-Semitism and nationalism (and thus were selectively censored by Elizabeth). But the best measure of Nietzsche’s contribution and importance to Nazism is not in conjectures about what Nietzsche might have thought about Nazism, but in the actual reverence of the Nazis for him.

Nietzsche’s views about the ideas later embraced by the Nazis is not conjecture. Clearly, what the Nazis embraced was the edited version of his work packaged by his racist heterosexual sister. Nietzsche’s sexuality — whatever it might have been — cannot be held to have anything to do with the selective use of his philosophy by his sister and the Nazis. Again, Macintyre provides a fuller picture of how his sister misrepresented Niezsche’s views:

When the [Paraguayan] colony inevitably failed, Elisabeth returned to Old Germany and set about transforming her brother, now irretrievably insane, into a symbol of her own twisted philosophy. She edited his works, wrote her own prejudiced versions of his life, and gathered his rejected jottings and published them as if they were real books, most notably Will to Power, which would be adopted as a sort of totalitarian textbook. When Nietzsche died, the man who had declared “God is dead” was buried in Röcken churchyard by his pious sister with full Lutheran rites.

Elisabeth avidly offered up her brother’s writings in support of militarism and Nazi world domination. Mussolini, she declared, was “the genius who rediscovered the values of the Nietzsche spirit…Nietzsche would have regarded him as the splendid disciple”. Nietzsche, I am certain, would have regarded Mussolini as a dangerous buffoon.

Reading The Pink Swastika, one would not get the big picture. A more apt summary of the situation might be this: A heterosexual couple misrepresented the writings of a man with unknown sexuality to promote racist and nationalist ideas the man abhorred.

Nietzsche and homosexuality

Having seriously questioned the influence of Nietzsche actual views on National Socialism, ruminations over Nietzsche’s sexuality may not seem as relevant. Even so, I want to point out how Lively and Abrams reduce significant questions about Nietzsche’s sexuality — what Freud called “an enigma” — to a given.

Given the presumed influence on the Nazis, Lively and Abrams need to prove Nietzsche was homosexual for their argument to seem plausible. However, the evidence that Nietzche was a homosexual is quite sparse and speculative. Let’s review what Lively and Abram offer us:

According to Macintyre in Forgotten Fatherland: The Search For Elisabeth Nietzsche, Frederich (sic) Nietzsche never married and had no known female sex partners, but went insane at age 44 and eventually died of syphilis. According to Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, Nietzsche had caught the disease at a homosexual brothel in Genoa, Italy (McIntyre:91f).

Although I am not able to directly link to Macintyre’s book, there is a quote from Macintyre’s book provided by the authors of an online rebuttal to The Pink Swastika. In a point by point refutation of the book, the Citizens Allied for Civic Action says Lively and Abrams have misquoted the Macintyre reference. About Lively and Abrams use of Macintyre, the CAFCA write:

The material allegedly cited from MacIntyre is outright fabrication. MacIntyre says nothing about Nietzsche having no known female sex partners. He does speak on page 108, of Nietzsche’s desire for a woman. As for marriage, it must be remembered that Nietzsche contracted syphilis when he was only 22, and was thereafter hardly a good candidate for husband. The mention of Freud and Jung is really deceptive. What MacIntyre actually says is, “He had certainly visited a [female] brothel in cologne in 1865, but had been embarrassed and played the piano to cover his shame before fleeing into the night. Thomas Mann believed he later went back to the brothel; Freud and Jung helped to spread a rumour that he had caught the disease in a Genoese male brothel, for which there is no evidence.”

Regarding female love interests, it is clear that Nietzsche was quite infatuated with free-spirit Lou Salome’ and proposed marriage to her – which she refused. However, the main point to make here is that Lively and Abrams have assumed the homosexuality of Nietzsche based upon a rumor circulated after his death. Another more ambitious effort to make this link comes from Joachim Kohler in his book, Zarathustra’s Secret. Kohler notes his proof:

For their meetings in April and October, 1908 Freud’s Wednesday Circle had chosen Nietzsche as their subject for discussion. Freud himself categorically stated that ‘Nietzsche’s ideas had had not the slightest influence on his own work.” Then after a number of aspects of Nietzsche had been discussed, including his latent sadism, his repressed homosexuality and his father-complex, a certain Paul Federn suddenly lept to his feet. He said that, ‘from a trustworthy source he could report that Nietzsche lived, periodically, the life of a homosexual and that he had contracted syphilis in a homosexual brothel in Genoa’. (p. 210).

The evidence for Lively and Abrams’ confident assertion comes from a rumor. Kohler later acknowledges that Freud dismissed the rumor. Apparently Arnold Zweig enlisted Freud’s aid to write a psychoanalytic book about Nietzsche. Freud declined, writing to Zweig (quoted by Kohler):

‘In front of the entrance to the Nietzsche problem,’ wrote Freud to Zweig, ‘there stands two sentries barring the way. Firstly, one cannot investigate a person unless one is aware of his sexual constitution, and Nietzsche’s is a complete enigma. There is even a legend that he was a passive homosexual and contract syphilis in a homosexual brothel in Genoa. Is that true? Quien sabe? [sic].’ (p. 212).

About Nietzsche’s sexuality, Freud asks, ‘Who knows?’ calling the subject a “complete enigma.” However, in the hands of Lively and Abrams, no enigma is too difficult for them to unravel in favor of their thesis.

Kohler’s book seems to be in the same speculative genre as The Pink Swastika. I noted previously a skeptical review of Kohler’s book, especially regarding any perceived relationship between purported homosexuality and Nietzsche’s philosophy. Furthermore, historian Noel Malcolm dismissed the book as a fixation. Malcolm’s words could also describe The Pink Swastika’s effort to find homosexuality behind every Nazi.

Nietzsche was fascinated by the mechanisms of repressed desire and sublimated sexuality; one of his aphorisms stated that “The degree and kind of a man’s sexuality reaches up into the topmost summit of his spirit.” Given the fact that his own writings represented the “topmost summit” of his own spirit, such comments, scattered through his works, might well have been regarded as hostages to fortune.

In Zarathustra’s Secret every one of those hostages is taken out of its cell and led away to be shot at dawn. For Joachim Köhler is a writer in the grip of an idée fixe: his entire study of Nietzsche is devoted to proving that the philosopher was gay, and that coded references, not only to homosexual desires but also to actual homosexual experiences, are to be found in his works.

Let us distinguish, in philosophical style, between three different claims here. Claim 1: Nietzsche was not very interested in women and, like some other Victorian classicists, had aesthetic-emotional feelings about young men that we would nowadays call homoerotic. Claim 2: he had sex with other men. And Claim 3: his homosexuality is not just alluded to in his writings; it is actually the basis on which his whole philosophy was built.

Most modern students of Nietzsche would probably accept the drift of Claim 1, although they might disagree about how much eros there was in the eroticism. Yes, he formed sentimental attachments to younger male friends, and there are tones of endearment in their correspondence with him that sound strangely high-flown to modern ears; but there is precious little evidence that either he or they thought they were having any sort of erotic relationship.

For Köhler that is not a problem, however, as he has an almost magical ability to conjure up evidence out of nothing at all. He quotes one of these friends, Erwin Rohde, saying in later life that “If in the last analysis I was unable to assimilate much of Nietzsche’s nature, then it was because of the peculiar impermeability of the integument of my character.” Ludicrously, Köhler insists that this was a “sexually suggestive allusion”: what Rohde actually meant, he claims, was that he had refused to let Nietzsche penetrate him.

This is a method of interpreting evidence guaranteed to find whatever it is looking for. When Nietzsche talks of the pleasure of lying on an Italian beach, and compares the experience to that of a lizard in the sun, Köhler hastens to inform us that “Sardes, author of a third-century Greek anthology of pederastic literature, calls the penis of his young lover a lizard.”

When, on the other hand, Nietzsche finds a toad in a hotel garden, brings it to an artistic lady-friend and suggests that she draw it, Köhler is quick to find the hidden significance: “the slimy toad was a symbol of her own repulsiveness”, he explains, “her womanhood, representing everything that makes a woman what she is”.

Whatever elements of truth there may be in Claim 1, they are buried by Köhler under a mountain of fantastic over-interpretation. But what about Claim 2? Here the evidence is extremely flimsy: just a rumour, recorded years after Nietzsche’s death by someone who never knew him, that the syphilis from which he eventually died was caught in Genoa in a homosexual brothel. Even Köhler has to admit that the whole pattern of symptoms of incipient brain disease – intense migraines, “fits”, and erratic and paranoid behaviour – started many years before Nietzsche’s visit to Genoa.

But no mere facts can stand in the way of an all-conquering idée fixe. Just as Köhler is ingenious in interpreting simple statements as elaborate symbols so, too, when it suits him, he can interpret symbolic statements as if they were simple records of experience.

One of Nietzsche’s lyric poems uses the image of a still night spent asleep in a fishing boat. “Morning came. On the dark depths/ Lay a barque, resting, resting . . ./ Nothing was happening! We were asleep, all asleep.” For Köhler, this is all the proof he needs: Nietzsche had sex with a Genoese fisherman in a boat, quod erat demonstrandum.

As noted above, Nietzsche had a breakdown at age 44 with psychosis and other neuropsychiatric manifestations. At this point, I doubt it is necessary to deal much with Nietzsche’s demise — was it due to syphilis? or brain cancer? or a form of dementia? Some have speculated that Nietzsche may have contracted the syphilis while a medical orderly with the Prussian army; others believe it happened via a trip to a heterosexual brothel (cf. Kaufmann for theories). Whatever the case, if we are to remain objective, the actual status of Nietzsche’s sexual preferences is indeed an enigma. Stated simply, the Lively/Abrams’ assumption of homosexuality is a speculation based on a rumor. The actual influence on the Nazi movement is Nietzsche’s heterosexual sister, Elisabeth.

In the next post, I discuss another “Father of National Socialism” offered by Lively and Abrams – Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels. As I will demonstrate, Lively and Abrams engage in the same kind of idée fixe with von Liebenfels as they do with Nietzsche and others.

Prior posts in this series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

List of posts on Uganda and The Pink Swastika

New Barna survey reveals spiritual attitudes of gays

George Barna has made a career of surveying people regarding Christian related issues and attitudes. In this new survey, he aims to provide a spiritual profile of gays with comparisons to a comparable group of straights. Here is his summary and then some highlights:

George Barna, whose company conducted the research, pointed out that some popular stereotypes about the spiritual life of gays and lesbians are simply wrong.

“People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts,” declared the best-selling author of numerous books about faith and culture. “A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today.

Specifically, the survey found:

Although most adults affirm the importance of faith in their life, regardless of their sexual orientation, straight adults (72%) were more likely than gay adults (60%) to describe their faith as “very important” in their life. And even though most Americans consider themselves to be Christian, there is a noticeable gap between heterosexuals who self-identify that way (85%) compared to homosexuals (70%). Another gap was then noted among those who say they are Christian: about six out of ten heterosexuals say they are absolutely committed to the Christian faith, compared to about four out of ten among homosexuals.

And even though a majority of adults have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today,” such a relationship was more common among non-gays (75%) than among gay adults (58%). The research also revealed that straight adults were nearly twice as likely as gays to qualify as born again Christians (47% compared to 27%, respectively).

There were substantial differences in some core religious beliefs, too. Heterosexuals were twice as likely as homosexuals to strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; two-thirds of heterosexuals believe the single, most important purpose in life is to love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul, significantly higher than the half of all homosexuals who embrace the idea; and about half of straight adults and one-third of gay adults contend that their life has been greatly transformed by their faith.

One of the most basic beliefs has to do with one’s understanding of God. This proved to be one of the biggest differences noted in the study. While seven out of every ten heterosexuals (71%) have an orthodox, biblical perception of God, just 43% of homosexuals do. In fact, an equal percentage possesses a pantheistic view about deity – i.e., that “God” refers to any of a variety of perspectives, such as personally achieving a state of higher consciousness or maximized personal potential, or that there are multiple gods that exist, or even that everyone is god.

For other findings, read the whole report. Barna added that gays and straights who value religious affiliation interpret the Bible differently on key passages but adds:

“It is interesting to see that most homosexuals, who have some history within the Christian Church, have rejected orthodox biblical teachings and principles – but, in many cases, to nearly the same degree that the heterosexual Christian population has rejected those same teachings and principles. Although there are clearly some substantial differences in the religious beliefs and practices of the straight and gay populations, there may be less of a spiritual gap between straights and gays than many Americans would assume.”