10 DECEMBER 1937, Page 19


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] hope that you are right in your expectation that Herr Kerrl's speech heralds considerable relief to the churches in Germany, but the report of this speech, as given in The Times, affords, I think, more ground for anxiety than for. hope. That Church supplies are to be cut off is clear ; that the Church is not to be separated from the State and given freedom is equally clear. There is no indication that the Confessional Church in Prussia will be allowed legal existence, no indication of the withdrawal of State interference with strictly religious matters in the Church.

Herr Kernl said that" the State had only one object in view— the complete security of religious freedom." If this is the object of the State, why has Pastor Niem011er been kept in prison some six months without trial ? Again, some 620,000 copies of Dr. Rosenberg's new treatise against the Protestant Church have been sold ; Dr. Kiinneth's reply on behalf of the Protestant Church was seized before it was published, and the publishing house has been closed by the police (November r6th).

It is in the light of such facts as these that Dr. Kern's talk af freedom is to be interpreted.

Religion in the sense of pious experience or either-worldly hope is free in Germany. If a church or pastor, however, should express in the name, of religion any view at variance with the Weltanschauung a the Party, it is by the laws against Communism, not by lasis against religion, that action is taken against him. If the common courts will not convict, special courts must be set up. Hence the long delay in the trial of Dr. Niemoller for high treason. Thera is no indication what- ever that Herr Kernl is offering what we mean by religious freedoin.—your obedient servaiat?. NaTammt. MicicLara. Mansfield College, Oxford,