Alabama might rank last in brain health among the 50 states, but there’s really no excusing the massive brainfart a Christian ministry recently had. For some reason, Life Savers Ministries in Opelika, Alabama thought it’d be a great idea to quote Adolf Hitler on a billboard featuring smiling children, as well as a verse from the Book of Proverbs:
After it was pointed out to him that Hitler was a somewhat controversial historical figure, ministries’ founder James Anderegg, said, “We are pulling the billboard and certainly never intended to cause confusion.”
Hitler gave a speech to a group of Nazi youth in 1935 in which he said, “He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.” The Proverbs passage reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Which is an interesting juxtaposition. Hitler knew what countless religious leaders throughout history have known: Get them while they’re young.
Most religious people were inculcated with faith as children, around the same time they’re told about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. But unlike those characters, god is seldom outgrown since he promises not just petty earthly rewards, but an eternal afterlife. He also promises constant supervision — a terrifying prospect, especially for a child. As such, many children are simply frightened into believing religion to be true, and so viewed in this light the Proverbs quote is instructive.
And at least in Alabama, they’re honest about it.