Earlier today, author Eric Metaxas appeared on MSNBC's "Jansing and Co.," where he made a comparison that will infuriate some Obama supporters -- particularly those who are siding with the president on his controversial contraceptive mandate.
"I met the president. I gave him a copy of my book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which he said he's going to read," Metaxas said during the interview. "In that book, you read about what happened to an amazingly great country called Germany..."
This book -- "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" -- takes readers through the life of Bonhoeffer, a pastor and author who was hanged after participating in an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
Metaxas continued, alleging that, leading up to the Holocaust, conditions became less favorable to faith groups, yet no one stood up to prevent the downward spiral that would inevitably end in genocidal chaos. He then connected these small pre-Holocaust signs to the situation we're seeing with the contraceptive mandate here in America.
"In the early 30s, little things were happening where the state was bullying the churches. No one spoke up," he explained. "In the beginning, it always starts really, really small. We need to understand as Americans -- if we do not see this as a bright line in the sand -- if you're not a Catholic, if you use contraception -- doesn't matter. Because eventually, this kind of government overreach will affect you."
Watch these comments, below:
TPM's Michael Lester characterized these comments as follows:
With the government’s recent push to have birth control covered under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, right wing pushback has gone in to overdrive. As anyone familiar with online forums will know, these arguments always follow a form of “Godwin’s Law” and it seems Metaxas has been the first to push the argument over the edge.
But while many, like Lester, would characterize these comments as "over the top," others -- especially those associated with faith systems -- would contend that the administration's reach into religious organizations' practices is setting dangerous precedent.
This is the second time in one week that Metaxas is nabbing headlines. The author also spoke directly before Obama during the National Prayer Breakfast. National Review Online's Mark Joseph described the appearance as follows:
If the organizers of the national prayer breakfast ever want a sitting president to attend their event again, they need to expect that any leader in his right mind is going to ask — no, demand — that he be allowed to see a copy of the keynote address that is traditionally given immediately before the president’s.
That’s how devastating was the speech given by a little known historical biographer named Eric Metaxas, whose clever wit and punchy humor barely disguised a series of heat-seeking missiles that were sent, intentionally or not, in the commander-in-chief’s direction. [...]
Metaxas, a Yale grad and humor writer who once wrote for the children’s seriesVeggie Tales, began his speech with several jokes and stole the show early on when he noted that George W. Bush, often accused by his critics of being incurious, had read Metaxas’s weighty tome on the German theologian Bonhoeffer; he then proceeded to hand a copy to the president while intoning: “No pressure.”
Christianity Today, too, tackled the intriguing differences (and similarities) between the two men who stand on opposing political planes.
The profound differences through which Metaxas and Obama discuss and illustrate their biblical interpretations provide a lens into their personal faith and world views.