April 16, 2015
German Lutheran minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer was killed 70 years ago on April 9, 1945, for sounding the alarm against the evils of Nazism. Bonhoeffer had been arrested two years before for his resistance to the Nazi regime. While he was in prison, Hitler survived an assassination attempt, which Bonhoeffer helped organize. Once this was discovered by the Nazis, Bonhoeffer’s days were numbered. He was executed just one month before Germany’s formal surrender to the allies.
From the beginning of Hitler’s reign, Bonhoeffer was trumpeting the warnings against the Nazis. Hitler used the state to take control of the German Evangelical Churches so he could extend his power. Ludwig Muller was elected imperial bishop of the new state church where he used his authority to impose acceptance of the Nazi agenda of racial supremacy. At the time, churches that rejected the political propaganda of the Nazis gathered together to form the Confessing Church synod of which Bonhoeffer was a member and leader. These churches fought to not only save the converted Jewish Christians, but they fought for the rights of practicing Jews. Even after being forced underground, the Confessing Church remained politically active protesting the euthanasia and persecution of the Jews.
After Adolph Hitler assumed power in 1933, he vigorously used persecution, torture and murder as his means of punishing and controlling his opponents. At first he started with his political enemies. However, Hitler was consumed by dreams of an Aryan Utopia, leading quickly to the oppression of the Jewish race. His goal was not only a racial cleansing, but to unite the German people by giving them a common enemy. (see ) The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 defined a person with three or four Jewish grandparents a Jew, while those with just two Jewish grandparents were regarded as Mischlinge, or half-breeds. This allowed for even Christians with Jewish ancestry to be abused.
Germany’s anti-semitism exploded in November 1938 during the “night of broken glass”, or Kristallnacht, in which windows were smashed in synagogues and Jewish shops set on fire. (see ) Most of the Jews that remained in Germany, instead of fleeing like hundreds of thousands did, were gathered up, imprisoned in camps and killed by execution or gas chambers. When it was all over, Hitler had slaughtered 6 million Jews.
Seventy years after of the end of the Second World War, Nazi concentration camps are sacred ground. They hold the memories of the atrocities committed there as silent reminders of the evil that man can inflict on his fellow man. We cry at the pictures of the people who were little more than walking skeletons and gasp at the horrendous experiments the Nazis performed on Jewish women and twins in the name of science. (See ) We become nauseous at the images of hundreds of dead bodies stacked upon each other. We speak the familiar refrain, “Never again!”
Liberty, my response is, “You hypocrites.”
Right now President Obama is trying desperately to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, the single largest supporter of Islamic Terror. Obama and John Kerry are trying to pen a peace accord while Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini declares that Israel should be annihilated. It astounds me the amount of anti-Semitic rhetoric I hear these days from people all across the globe. Do they not know history? Have they learned nothing? Even our administration can’t admit a Jewish French deli was specifically singled out by a Muslim for a terrorist attack. (see )
As wicked as the Nazis were, there is an evil out there even greater, more vile, more dangerous. It is led by Islamic extremist groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram. While these groups are targeting Jews, their current more aggressive goal is massacring Christians, which they are doing by the thousands. Parents are being murdered in front of their children. Women are being raped and tortured in the name of Allah. Christian boys are being beheaded in the streets. Christian girls as young as 9 are being sold as sex slaves. Where is the anger? Where is the outrage? This is a Christian Holocaust occurring right now and almost no one is talking about it, certainly not our government and more frightening, not our churches.
This ambivalence can have staggering results. At the time of Mohammad, 90% of Egypt was Christian. Since that time, Muslims have forced the conversion of those Christians or slaughtered them to the point that only 10% of Egypt is Christian. Today militants are quickly massacring them. The Coptic Christian church, one started by an apostle, is in grave danger of being destroyed.
Boko Haram, a militant Islamic terrorist group, is targeting 200,000 Christians in Nigeria forcing them to convert or die. So far, 200 churches have been lost and 15,000 Nigerians have died since the group increased its efforts in 2009. Another 1.5 million have fled their homes to escape the horror. Boko Haram abducted over 200 girls, sparking a fierce response by first lady Michele Obama. She tweeted #BringBackOurGirls. To date, this is the most aggressive policy action taken by the Obama administration towards radical Islam. At least the U.N. human rights chief is truthful about the extremism we are facing. (see ) Just this month he warned the world that Boko Haram was using children as "expendable cannon fodder" and "human bombs."
In February, Islamic extremist militants in Libya beheaded 21 Coptic Egyptian Christians on the shores of Tripoli. As I explained in my letter , this location was no accident. Islamic extremists have been fighting for the final caliphate since our country was founded. Tripoli was where Jefferson’s Marines defeated the Muslim pirates during the First Barbary Wars over 200 years ago. (see ) The extremists desperately want a rematch and to usher in the Apocalypse.
Less than two weeks ago, four Islamic extremists stormed Garissa University College in Kenya. They separated the students into Christians and Muslims. After releasing the Muslims, the four terrorists preceded to open fire, massacring 148 Christians. Somalia’s al-Shabab militant group took responsibility for the slaughter, claiming it was retaliation for Kenyan troops sent to Somalia to fight the extremists. Why then, were Christians singled out and everyone not killed? Obama would not acknowledge that religion played any part of the slaughter, only stating that some “folks” were killed. Even worse, Obama won’t acknowledge that ISIS is even an Islamic group. It’s this blindness to evil that has allowed an ISIS training camp to be created just 10 miles into Mexico on America’s southern boarder.
While these violent acts are occurring, a soft tyranny of thought is happening at the same time. Christian storeowners in America are being singled out and forced out of business by compassionate members of the secular community. The sensitivity of the secular left could only be enhanced by adding a Star of David to the store window to warn others of the evil people inside. Radical violence and separating people into groups is a clear goose step down the same road of Germany 1939.
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. (see ) As we contemplate what we consider to be one of the most disgusting moments of recent history, I pray to God, Liberty, that you don’t look back on my generation and ask, “How could they have been so blind? Why didn’t they do anything?”
Churches today do not like to be political. They don’t feel it is their job. But as Bonhoeffer charged in 1940, “the Church was silent when it should have cried out because the blood of the innocent was crying aloud to heaven. She is guilty of the deaths of the weakest and most defenseless brothers of Jesus Christ.”
May we wake up before our fate is sealed like that of Bonhoeffer’s. As he also said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Liberty, this is me speaking. This is me acting. Dear God, have mercy on us all.
That’s my 2 cents.
THEN & NOW