The Bible has many names for what we call sin. At the top of the sin hierarchy is a Hebrew word, toevah , which is most often translated as “abomination.” An abomination is not just wrong, not just sinful. It is a knowing and ruthless corruption. The recent Holocaust-deniers meeting convened by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not a conference, it was an abomination in the full biblical sense of the word.
The question is who ought to have the primary responsibility for correcting this abomination? I think it ought to be Christians, and not Jews, who lead the way in reasserting the truth of genocide.
American blacks do not need to understand the institution of slavery in the United States. Whites do. They need to try to comprehend how otherwise decent people could buy and sell human beings, like one might buy or sell chickens or pigs. How could anyone do this and still go to church and pray to God to bless their families? Selling another human being is not just a mistake. It is an abomination. American blacks understand slavery already. Slavery in the United States is a white problem.
What is true about slavery is also true about the Holocaust. The first response to Holocaust denial is almost always sought, or reflexively offered, from one or another Jewish organization. This is wrong. The Holocaust was a terrible wound for the Jewish people, but it is a supreme challenge to Christians, who need to understand how otherwise decent people could gas and burn and starve and torture and bury alive other human beings just because they were Jews or gypsies or homosexuals or socialists. How could a cultured people, the people of Beethoven and Goethe, do this and still go to church and pray to God to bless their families? Committing genocide is not just a mistake. It is an abomination.
Jews understand the Holocaust because one out of every three Jews who were alive in 1933 had been murdered by 1945. Six million dead out of 18 million. For Jews to respond to Holocaust denial is humiliating and ineffective. Christians must say that it happened and explain as best they can why it happened and why it must never happen again. The Christians who must fight the abomination in Tehran are not guilty. They are not the killers, and most of them are not the children or even the grandchildren of the killers. They must explain it, because the Holocaust was an abomination committed by Christians against Jews.
Christians must also fight Holocaust denial because they must understand that if it gains one iota in credibility among the merely semi-lunatic members of our world, as opposed to the fully lunatic ones who participated in the conference in Tehran, then something important will be broken in our moral calculus. If the Holocaust can be denied, then there is no radical evil that cannot be ignored. If Auschwitz was merely a detention stop for a few healthy Jewish workers, then the idea that the CIA was behind 9/11 suddenly seems reasonable. If the overwhelming historical documentation of genocide and mass murder means nothing at all, then we are all lost. If the Holocaust never occurred, then perhaps Rwanda and Bosnia and Cambodia and Uganda and Darfur and Biafra and the Gulags also never occurred, or at the very least all of them ought to be subjected to analysis by madmen.
Holocaust denial is not about Jews, it is about the truth, and supporting and defending the truth cannot be the burden of the Jewish people alone.
Holocaust denial must also be of primary significance to Christians, because now there is no difference between Jew hatred and Christian hatred. In the war against jihadism there is no difference any longer between being a Christian and being a Jew. When it was Christians killing Jews, we were separated by hatred. Now that it is Muslim fanatics killing Christians and Jews, we are united by hatred. And we are united with atheists and all freedom-loving people everywhere who do not want to see the world ruled by these fanatics' version of Sharia law. It is no coincidence that the convener of the Holocaust deniers is also the greatest threat to world peace. To believe in an abomination is the first step to committing an abomination.