Upton Sinclair: The Profits of Religion

Book Four - The Church of the Slaves

Deutschland uber Alles

As a result of Luther's treason to humanity, his church became the state church of Prussia, and Bible-worship and Devil- terror played their part, along with the Mass and the Confessional, in building up the Junker dream. A court official - the Oberhofprediger - was set up, and from that time on the Hohenzollerns were the most pious criminals in Europe. Frederick the Great, the ancestral genius was an Atheist and a scoffer, but he believed devoutly in religion for his subjects. He said: "If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks." And Carlyle, instinctive friend of autocrats, tells with Jocular approval how he kept them from thinking:

He recognizes the uses of Religion; takes a good deal of pains with his Preaching Clergy; will suggest texts to them; and for the rest expects to be obeyed by them, as by his Sergeants and Corporals. Indeed, the reverend men feel themselves to be a body of Spiritual Sergeants, Corporals, and Captains, to whom obedience is the rule, and discontent a thing not to be indulged in by any means.

So the soldiers stayed in the ranks, and Frederick raided Silesia and Poland. His successors ordered all the Protestant sects into one, so that they might be more easily controlled; from which time the Lutheran Church has been a department of the Prussian state, in some cases a branch of the municipal authority.

In 1848, when the people of various German states demanded their liberty, it was an ultra-pious king of Prussia who sent his troops and shot them down - precisely as Luther had advised to shoot down the peasants. At this time the future maker of the German Empire rose in the Landtag and made his bow before the world; a young Prussian land-magnate, Otto von Bismarck by name, he shook his fist in the face of the new German liberalism, and incidentally of the new German infidelity:

Christianity is the solid basis of Prussia; and no state erected upon any other foundation can permanently exist.

The present Hohenzollern has diligently maintained this tradition of his line. It was his custom to tour the Empire in a train of blue and white cars, carrying as many costumes as any stage favorite, most of them military; with him on the train went the Prussian god, and there was scarcely a performance at which this god did not appear, also in military costume. After the failure of the "Kultur-kampf," the official Lutheran religion was ordered to make friends with its ancient enemy, the Catholic Church. Said the Kaiser:

I make no difference between the adherents of the Catholic and Protestant creeds. Let them both stand upon the foundation of Christianity, and they are both bound to be true citizens and obedient subjects. Then the German people will be the rock of granite upon which our Lord God can build and complete his work of Kultur in the world.

And here is the oath required of the Catholic clergy, upon their admission to equality of trustworthiness with their Protestant confreres:

I will be submissive, faithful and obedient to his Royal Majesty - and his lawful successors in the government - as my most gracious King and Sovereign; promote his welfare according to my ability; prevent injury and detriment to him; and particularly endeavor carefully to cultivate in the minds of the people under my care a sense of reverence and fidelity towards the King, love for the Fatherland, obedience to the laws, and all those virtues which in a Christian denote a good citizen; and I will not suffer any man to teach or act in a contrary spirit. In particular I vow that I will not support any society or association, either at home or abroad, which might endanger the public security, and will inform His Majesty of any proposal made, either in my diocese or elsewhere, which might prove injurious to the State.

And later on this heaven-guided ruler conceived the scheme of a Berlin-Baghdad railway, for which he needed one religion more; he paid a visit to Constantinople, and made another debut and produced another god - with the result that millions of Turks are fighting under the belief that the Kaiser is a convert to the faith of Mohammed!

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