Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time online knows of Godwin's Law, the adage that as an online discussion progresses "the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler" increases. Yesterday, Godwin's Law jumped from cyberspace into real life as the Georgia Baptist Mission Board's Public Affairs Director and Capitol Lobbyist compared members of the Georgia General Assembly to Hitler for their failure to pass “religious liberty bills” that would could be used to discriminate against others.
According the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), Griffin published an update in the Christian Index last week that exclaims, “We must not let the government do to us what Hitler did to the pastors and churches of his day. He got them to accept this protection from government action if they would agree to stay out of government. He basically said, you take care of the church and leave government to me. Pastors, this is happening before our eyes today.”
Griffin later removed the language, and took to Twitter to explain, but did not apologize.
My statement in question today was simply a warning of the historical dangers of the church not standing up for Religious Liberty.— Michael R. Griffin (@mikegriffinsr) March 10, 2016
Georgia lawmakers, predictably, were not amused. Some took to the well of the House floor today to express their anger.
As reported by the AJC, “Rep. Dominic Lariccia, R-Douglas, one of the most conservative members of the House, said he refused to mention out loud who Griffin compared them to.” But, he wanted to clearly call out Mike Griffins:
“I’m going to mention Mike Griffin’s name,” Lariccia said. “I hope that my life says a lot more about who Jesus is to me then any words that I can publish or any words that come out of my mouth.”
There are two truisms to come from this situation. One is that people do not like being compared to Hitler. The second is that it is especially inappropriate to make a comparison to the Third Reich when the legislation that Georgia lawmakers are hesitant to pass would allow individuals to discriminate against the LGBT community based on their religious beliefs.