Salvos sorry for Hitler image

THE editor of War Cry, a magazine published weekly by the Salvation Army, has expressed remorse after a page in their July 12 edition depicted an outstretched hand alongside a picture of Hitler with a quote from Jesus urging love and forgiveness towards one’s enemies.

Editor June Knop explained that the reflection page, which appears in each issue of the publication, seeks to assist readers in considering a certain issue.

“This particular one was to highlight ‘loving your enemies’ and what that might look like in an extreme situation. To combat hate/evil in this world, and its consequences, this passage of scripture challenges Christians to respond in a different, counter-intuitive fashion,” Knop told The AJN.

Chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) Dr Dvir Abramovich sharply criticised the page, labelling the use of Hitler’s image and the accompanying quote as “disrespectful and offensive”.

“While Jesus did say ‘love thy enemy’, we doubt that most Christians and supporters of the Salvation Army would expect anyone to forgive and love a brutal dictator whose chief aim was to wipe Jews off the face of the earth and who has the blood of six million Jews and millions of non-Jews on his hands,” Abramovich said.

“If an image of such a monster as Hitler is to be used, it should be in the context of the unspeakable atrocities and crimes that he is responsible for and with the lesson of ‘Never Again’ for future generation to learn.”

Abramovich said the ADC feels the use of the image “was an incredibly tasteless misuse of history and a poor editorial decision”.

Knop emphasised that as a Christian publication which aims to increase awareness of Jesus through biblical teaching and culturally relevant expressions, there was no intention to offend any group.

“Please believe me that it would never be our intention to cause a minority or persecuted group of people further pain – particularly Jewish people, who we as Christians understand by God’s teaching, are His chosen people,” she said.

“Hitler has become an icon of hate … He represents the antithesis of everything that Jesus stands for.

“Please accept my sincerest apology if we have in any way offended anyone who has suffered at the hand of this man. That was certainly never our intention. Our focus was on trying to encourage people to pause and consider a radically different response to the next difficult situation they face.”

PHOEBE ROTH

The “disrespectful and offensive” image.