September 11, 2017

A spoke in the wheel

Recently, apropos of nothing of course, my friend the Rev. Jeff Allen, executive director of the WV Council of Churches, sent me the following quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was a German Protestant minister and leader of the anti-Nazi Confessing Church who was executed by the regime in 1945.

The quote is from an essay titled "The Church and the Jewish Question." It was published in April 1933, shortly after the Nazis gained state power.

"All this means that there are three possible ways in which the church can act toward the state:  in the first place, as has been said, it can ask the state whether it's actions are legitimate and in accordance with its character as state, i.e. it can throw the state back on its responsibilities.  Second, it can aid the victims of state action.  The church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society, even if they do not belong to the Christian Community.  'Do good to all people" . . .  The third possibility is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to jam a spoke in the wheel itself."

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