“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil….
not to speak is to speak,
not to act is to act.”
DIETRICH BONHOEFFER 1906 – 1945
“There remains an experience of incomparable value. We have for once learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcasts, the suspects, the maltreated — in short, from the perspective of those who suffer. Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior. Christians are called to compassion and to action.” (Letters from Prison, p.16)
“In following Jesus, people are released from the hard yoke of their own laws to be under the gentle yoke of Jesus Christ. … Jesus’ commandment never wishes to destroy life, but rather to preserve, strengthen, and heal life.”
Having read the short biography of this German pastor and social activist who was imprisoned by Hitler’s Nazi regime and executed by hanging in 1945 just a month before the collapse of the 3rd Reich, I can only ask myself, “What would I do?” And then without hesitation I ask, “What would Jesus do?” I pray that my actions would mirror those of Bonhoeffer and Jesus when confronted by the challenges of pursuing social justice. What would you do?
Darkness in today’s political climate is real. Evil exists in the policies of a regime intent on instituting white, Christian control of this country and evil abounds in the minds of those who support those policies. That evil is fed by fear and by greed. It is no longer an issue which we can hope reason and compassion will remedy. Non-violent confrontation, not only in action but also in spirit and intention, mirrors the lives of Bonhoeffer, Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr. and certainly the example presented by Jesus of Nazareth. For contemporary church leaders to disavow these teachings while sanctioning racism and xenophobia is heretical doctrine akin to the regime Bonhoeffer confronted before his murder.
Lord, open our eyes to the evil within our own hearts and then guide us to non-violent confrontation of the evil existing in our nation.