God's Politics

God's Politics


Jim Wallis: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

posted by gp_intern

Sixty-two years ago today, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged at the Nazi concentration camp in Flossenburg, Germany, for his role in the anti-Hitler resistance. His books – Life Together, Ethics, The Cost of Discipleship, Letters and Papers From Prison, and others – continue to be read and discussed widely.

Last year, Harper San Francisco published A Year With Dietrich Bonhoeffer, short meditations drawn from his writings for each day of the year.

I wrote the foreword to the book, and later excerpted it as a column in Sojourners magazine, noting:

The more I read Bonhoeffer, the more amazed I became. He seemed to break all the categories. He was a brilliant intellectual (earning his doctoral degree at the age of 21), yet felt called by the crisis of his historical moment to act, not just to think. He was both a contemplative and an activist, who showed that you really can’t be one without becoming the other as well. His insistence on the life of personal discipleship to give belief its credibility was matched by his conviction that the life of community was the essential way to demonstrate faith in the world. All those paradoxes were necessary complementarities for Bonhoeffer and formed an integrated faith and life rare in his time, or in any time.

Bonhoeffer continues to appeal today to those who are drawn to Jesus Christ, to those who are hungry for spirituality, and to those who seek to join religion and public life, faith and politics. On this Easter Monday, we remember him one of many whose faith led them to make the ultimate sacrifice.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(41)
post a comment
Walter of Wikipedia

posted April 10, 2007 at 12:20 am


Widely regarded as one of the preeminent Christian theologians of the 20th century, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote The Cost of Discipleship in 1937. This book can be seen as the cornerstone of The Confessing Church movement for it was written at a time when the German State Church was struggling over whether or not to pursue or resist the onslaught of the National Socialist (Nazi) movement. Bonhoeffer claimed that the times represented a true divine test, much like the story told by The Book of Job in the Old Testament. Many Germans considered Bonhoeffer to be poignantly accurate in his remarks concerning the peculiar epoch in German history.The Confessing Church (German: Bekennende Kirche) was a Christian resistance movement in Nazi Germany. In 1933 the Gleichschaltung forced Protestant churches to merge into the Protestant Reich Church and support Nazi ideology. Opposition was forced to go “underground” to meet, and created the Confessing Church that September. In 1934 the Barmen declaration, primarily authored by Karl Barth with the input of other Confessing Church pastors and congregations, was ratified at the Barmen Synod through which it was re-affirmed that the German Church was not an “organ of the State” for the purpose of strengthening Nazi agendum but only subject to Christ and his mission When the Nazis were consolidating their power in Germany during the 1930s, one of the areas that they exercised significant influence over was the German State Church (Lutheranism). Various Lutheran pastors, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer decided to resist the encroaching Nazi influence. This underground resistance movement on behalf of German (Lutheran) pastors became known as the Confessing Church. Unfortunately, many leaders of this underground movement, including Bonhoeffer himself, were sent to concentration camps and later executed for their “treasonous” undertakings. Some of the leaders of the Confessing Church, such as Martin Niem ller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, were sent to concentration camps, and some died there. Christians who did not agree with the Nazis were left without leadership. The Confessing Church engaged in various forms of resistance, notably hiding Jews from the Nazi regime. The Confessing Church is a unique example of an underground Christian movement operating in a majority Christian country. .



report abuse
 

Hali

posted April 10, 2007 at 12:37 am


One of my favorite quotations ever from Sojourners’ Voice of the Day (which I have appended ad nauseam to my emails) is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Do what is right not only to respectable citizens, but especially to the disrespectable ones as well; be at peace not only with those who are peaceable, but especially with those who do not wish to let us live in peace.”



report abuse
 

dlw

posted April 10, 2007 at 1:41 am


I personally think we shd have the house church community model for political activism. http://sodsbrood.com/antimani/2007/02/08/1021/ This wd have orgs like Sojo as providing critical info on issues for house churches or groups of stewards for house churches on how they act politically. They could also do more than that, but the dissemination of info wd be critical, and much in line with what is already being done…dlw



report abuse
 

Patrick Henry

posted April 10, 2007 at 2:58 am


In a curious contrast with Nazi Germany, a crypto-Christian Dominionist movement, funded by the military-industrial complex and supported by corporate power, has assembled a powerful Neofascist movement, embodied in the Republican Party, which nearly succeeded in taking over America s government from within, using election fraud tactics, networks, cells and cronies operating at the top of all government agencies. Pat Robertson’s decades-old goal has been to destroy democracy in America and replace it with a Fascistic Theocracy having totalitarian control over all aspects of America society. At the peak of their attempt to seize power, this Fascistic Theocracy had achieved control of Congress, stolen the Presidency, installed four extreme right wing Republican loyalists on the Supreme Court, usurped the Constitutional rights of all Americans, was routinely involved in spying on American citizens, and was well along in replacing our federal court system with extremists, loyalists and cronies. At this point, it appears the Christo-Fascist takeover of America is failing, in large part to their utter incompetence in governing America and their extreme corruption from the highest levels on down. This is what is coming out of the Justice Department scandals, presently unfolding. God knows, the Christo-Fascists have already wreaked untold damage on America the Beautiful. But if we are fortunate, democracy and integrity will be restored in our government without the need for any martyrs, as was the case in Nazi Germany. .



report abuse
 

jurisnaturalist

posted April 10, 2007 at 4:13 am


Patric Henry, I would love to investigate your points further. What is your source? Nathanael Snow



report abuse
 

Patrick Henry

posted April 10, 2007 at 4:59 am


Juris:I read the papers and connect the dots. It’s all out there in plain sight. This essay by Katherine Yurica is a good summary and a place to start your research. http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/TheDespoilingOfAmerica.htm Yurica has been studying Pat Robertson and the Dominionists for a long time. Let me know what you think of: ‘THE DESPOILING OF AMERICA.’ It was written in 2004. Now there’s a lot more information on the Dominionist plot to take over America. .



report abuse
 

Bert

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:03 am


To me, the interesting thing about Bonhoeffer is his involvement with the failed plot to assassinate Hitler. For much of his life he was a committed pacifist, but eventually decided that the Nazis had to be actively resisted. If I am in error here someone correct me. I’m not an expert on Bonhoeffer.



report abuse
 

Mike Hayes

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:10 am


May we all have the courage of persons like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who probably stood by, helpless, while their country was overtaken by persons they recognized as despicable, while their fellow citizens seemed not to realize what was happening. What about those who “were blind”? Were they “bad persons”? I think not. In the 50′s, during grade school, I met persons who also suffered under the Nazis. i remember the taunts to them as “krauts”, by classmates privileged to be born in our country. I remember their response, that their father had served “on the Russian front”. What would it be like, to watch our country be overtaken in similar circumstances? Would we have the courage of Dietrich Bonhoeffer? For me, I admit that I might not be able to be that courageous. What an example he is, Dietrich Bonhoeffer! How astonishing it is that such evil existed, in our lifetimes! How does that happen?



report abuse
 

Walter of Wikipedia

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:12 am


Bonhoeffer was born in Breslau, Silesia into a middle to upper-class professional family. He and his sister Sabine were twins and the sixth and seventh of eight children. His brother Walter was killed during World War I. His sister was married to Hans von Dohnanyi and was mother of the conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi and the later mayor of Hamburg, Klaus von Dohnanyi. His father, Karl Bonhoeffer, was a prominent German psychiatrist in Berlin; his mother, Paula, home-schooled the children. Though he was initially expected to follow his father into the field of psychology, Dietrich decided at an early age to become a religious minister. His parents supported his decision. He attended college in T bingen, where he received his doctorate in theology from the University of Berlin. As Dietrich was just 24 at this time, he was unable to be sustained [one must be 25 by church regulations]. This however, gave Dietrich the opportunity to go abroad. He then spent a post-graduate year abroad studying at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During this time, he would often visit the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where he became acquainted with the musical form that ethnomusicologists call the African-American Spiritual. He amassed a substantial collection of these spirituals, which he took with him back to Germany. Bonhoeffer returned to Germany in 1931, where he lectured on theology in Berlin and wrote several books. A strong opponent of Nazism, he was involved, together with Martin Niem ller, Karl Barth and others, in setting up the Confessing Church. Between late 1933 and 1935, he served as pastor of two German-speaking Protestant churches in London: St. Paul’s and Sydenham. He returned to Germany to head an illegal seminary for Confessing Church pastors, first in Finkenwalde and then at the von Blumenthal estate of Gross Schl nwitz, which was closed on the outbreak of war. The Gestapo also banned him from preaching; then teaching; and finally any kind of public speaking. During this time, Bonhoeffer worked closely with numerous opponents of Adolf Hitler. During World War II, Bonhoeffer played a key leadership role in the Confessing Church, which opposed the anti-semitic policies of Adolf Hitler. He was among those who called for wider church resistance to Hitler’s treatment of the Jews. While the Confessing Church was not large, it represented a major source of Christian opposition to the Nazi government in Germany. In 1939, Bonhoeffer joined a hidden group of high-ranking military officers based in the Abwehr, or Military Intelligence Office, who wanted to overthrow the National Socialist regime by killing Hitler. He was arrested in April 1943 after money used to help Jews escape to Switzerland was traced to him. He was charged with conspiracy and imprisoned in Berlin for a year and a half. After the unsuccessful July 20 Plot in 1944, Bonhoeffer’s connections to the conspirators were discovered. He was moved to a series of prisons and concentration camps ending at Flossenburg. Here, he was executed by hanging at dawn on 9 April 1945, just three weeks before the liberation of the city. Also hanged for their parts in the conspiracy were his brother Klaus and his brothers-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi and R diger Schleicher. .



report abuse
 

Mike Hayes

posted April 10, 2007 at 5:22 am


Walter, Thank you for this informative, and somewhat depressing, insight to the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. How many of us would have his courage? Not me… but maybe that is what he also thought…



report abuse
 

Kristopher

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:19 pm


Patrick Henry…? I don’t even know what to say.weird…i guess.



report abuse
 

Hali

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:46 pm


Mike Hayes wrote, “What would it be like, to watch our country be overtaken in similar circumstances?” Mike, would we realize what was going on? The concentration camps weren’t built overnight. The Nazis built up tolerance for inhumanity over time. We are not allowed seriously to compare that woeful period of human history to anything in the present. The Holocaust was a singular event, that manifestation of pure evil in the world now vanquished. But is it? I swear I can’t believe that the Germans are any less human than the rest of us, nor that people in the 1930s-40s were that much less enlightened. Maybe they had less history to learn from. But what was it like, day to day? How much did they know? How did they come to be so hateful and fearful? Were they detached from it? Made to feel helpless? I see hate and racism and arrogance even creeping into our conversations on a supposedly Christian blog. And there are always justifications, rationalizations. Evil is still alive and well. May God grant us all the wisdom and temperance to eschew it and the courage to overcome it.



report abuse
 

jk

posted April 10, 2007 at 8:53 pm


Ahh… here we go again. We have a nice salute to Bonhoeffer that turns into another conspiracy theory. Of course you failed to point out the plot that the left leaning new agers are using to take over our country through our schools… then of course there was the Clinton conspiracy, the communist conspiracy, the one world conspiracy…don’t forget the Protocols…



report abuse
 

HASH(0x116fa970)

posted April 10, 2007 at 9:03 pm


Hali, I agree with your comments. Maybe not to the same degree, but we certainly have seen the same signs of our country being taken over by those with evil intentions. It was only a couple of years ago that those of us who voiced disagreement with our current administrations’ policies were branded as unpatriotic, unAmerican, even terrorist sympathizers. It was all over the airwaves. Thankfully, we do still have places, like the internet, where the voices of civility and reason can be heard.Of course, that was pretty small potatoes compared to what happened in Germany. But I believe we must stand up against even small injustices or they will grow up to be monsters.



report abuse
 

lilou

posted April 10, 2007 at 9:09 pm


The Treaty of Versailles which ended World War I was extremely punitive toward Germany and some have suggested that this created a national resentment which Hitler used to advance his agenda. Also, Germany, like the US, suffered horribly during the worldwide depression of the 30s, and this was made even worse by the destruction of German cities and the German economy as a result of World War I. In some ways, I think Hitler seduced Germans with his vision of Teutonic “superiority” (set against the “inferiority” of those he sought to exterminate) and of a strong Fatherland which would take back territories lost and resume a dominant role in world affairs again after the setbacks of the Great War. It’s interesting what hurt pride, anger and resentment can lead to. Perhaps the Allies of the Great War reaped what they sowed with that vicious Treaty of Versailles. If they had forgone revenge and practiced more forgiveness, one wonders how things might have been different.



report abuse
 

Carl Copas

posted April 10, 2007 at 10:04 pm


Hali: “I swear I can’t believe that the Germans are any less human than the rest of us, nor that people in the 1930s-40s were that much less enlightened.” Hali, I think it’s precisely because the Germans were NOT any less human than the rest of us that the entire Hitler and Nazi era in Germany history is so scary. As Camus suggests in “The Plague,” the fascist contagion lurks in the dark corners still, and can rear its ugly head at any time if we don’t keep careful guard.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted April 10, 2007 at 11:27 pm


“We are not allowed seriously to compare that woeful period of human history to anything in the present. The Holocaust was a singular event, that manifestation of pure evil in the world now vanquished. But is it?” Well, we are allowed, you just have to be careful as to how those comparisons are applied. For example, people will always be arrogant (especially those with whom you disagree, you’ll often find). However, it wasn’t arrogance that gave us the Holocaust.You are correct that the groundwork for the Nazi movement was laid well in advance of the Holocaust. The eugenics movement flourished with the advent of biological discovery, and with it the potential to alter the course of evolution.Of course, there had to be an instigating event that created the nationalistic fervor necessary to practice this philosopy on populations. Germany’s defeat in World War I fit the bill perfectly. The need to create a perfect race was not, per se, born of explicit racism. Rather, it came a result of a desire to remove the weaker members of society. Of course, the definition of weakness was going to skew toward the prejudices of the majority. So, depending on your ideological preferences, you could learn a number of lessons from the Holocaust. For me, I look at our government’s willingness to make choices as to what constitutes protected life and see a very slippery slope. That we have an entire industry waiting for the advent of legal human cloning is disconcerting, for example. For others, they see a need to remedy the social stratification that has occurred on account of racial divides, owing to the fact that this stratification allowed for one race to be so brutally subjogated. Either way, I do not see signs that we are building toward a Holocaust in our own country. For one thing, Americans tend to bristle at the idea of fascism, and I don’t see anyone on the upcoming presidential ticket who even comes close to that descriptor. So yes, we can learn lessons, and apply them to our own political situation. But when we cry wolf by using the Holocaust as a bludgeon with which to beat our political opponents, we unlearn the lesson.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted April 10, 2007 at 11:31 pm


“It was only a couple of years ago that those of us who voiced disagreement with our current administrations’ policies were branded as unpatriotic, unAmerican, even terrorist sympathizers. It was all over the airwaves. ” It was? Where? Either way, now Republicans are labelled as Nazi’s, evil, etc… Which, of course, is fine by you.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted April 10, 2007 at 11:38 pm


kevin s. — Concerning the statement that anyone who disagreed with the Bush Administration was unpatriotic etc., this was absolutely true and those of us who are not conservatives understood this.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 12:06 am


” Concerning the statement that anyone who disagreed with the Bush Administration was unpatriotic etc., this was absolutely true and those of us who are not conservatives understood this.” I’m sure some people used the unpatriotic card, just as some use the Nazi card. But to pretend that you were in some way unsafe for opposing the Iraq War is ridiculous. I had major questions about the war (initially), and was never called unpatriotic. I don’t pretend that I am afraid to speak out for conservative values because I might be called a Nazi. But it would be disingenuous, given that most of the people who label me as such are completely bats.



report abuse
 

c kitty

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:30 am


Kevin s No one here has called Republicans a nazi or evil, so you can knock off the snotty remarks. It’s hard to understand how you have missed all the name-calling of dissenters if you are listening to newscasts and reading newspapers. The newest catch-phrase of the curent White House occupants is that those who disagree with them “embolden the terrorists”. The President uses that phrase almost daily now. Hopefully, he will come up with something new soon,I’m a little tired of all this emboldening.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 8:50 am


“No one here has called Republicans a nazi or evil, so you can knock off the snotty remarks.” You obviously have not been around long enough.



report abuse
 

sharon

posted April 11, 2007 at 3:18 pm


A question to consider: What does the fact that the United States now openly engages in torture (while claiming that tactics that like water-boarding, that until recently were unquestionably considered torture, for example when done by the Viet Cong ,are merely “coercive tactics”) say about the slippery slope we may be on? What happened in Germany happened incrementally. Jose Padilla is a United States citizen, who was taken into custody by the U.S. government and tortured repeatedly. His case finally came before the U.S. Supreme Court, but not before he’d been in custody for years, and been subjected to extreme treatment. What do our constitutional protections really mean if a U.S. citizen can be wisked away and held incommunicado, and tortured, for months or years, because the Executive declares one an “enemy combatant”? Padilla was not captured on a battlefield; he was on U.S. soil when this all began. Will we look back in 10 years on this as the beginning of our slippery slope?



report abuse
 

John

posted April 11, 2007 at 3:30 pm


Check out the new book by Chris Hedges, “American Facists: The Christian Right and the War on America” http://www.amazon.com/American-Fascists-Christian-Right-America/dp/0743284437/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-1838410-7750211?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1176298132&sr=8-1



report abuse
 

Kristopher

posted April 11, 2007 at 4:00 pm


Sharon, You make it sound as if the Padilla situation could happen to just about anybody. I don’t think that you have anything to be afraid of, unless you have known ties to terrorist groups, and there is overwhelming evidence that shows you are a TERRORIST. Innocent people aren’t being whisked away at night to be tortured. There are no interment camps being set up anywhere. Slippery slope? You make it sound as if Padilla was a regular guy, minding his own business, who was just chosen willy nilly to be tortured by the oppressive administration who made up bogus charges against him. How can you in any way relate this to what happened in Nazi germany 65 something years ago? If the guy was tortured, and coerced to admit to things, and if he really is just a patsy, what has happened to him is wrong. But, if he was just made to be uncomfortable for long periods of time by loud music, and hot/cold temperatures, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. I have asked this before on this blog, but will ask it again: What is the definition of torture? At what links would SOJO be willing to go to get information that could save possibly thousands of lives?I honestly don’t know what the answer is, but I would be interested to know what some of you think.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:29 pm


“What does the fact that the United States now openly engages in torture (while claiming that tactics that like water-boarding, that until recently were unquestionably considered torture, for example when done by the Viet Cong ,are merely “coercive tactics”) say about the slippery slope we may be on?” Actually, waterboarding has now been expressly forbidden by the military. The United States has never openly engaged in torture, and we are having a hearty debate about what constitutes torture. The presumptive front-runners from both major political parties oppose waterboarding. I don’t see that slippery of a slope here. “What happened in Germany happened incrementally. Jose Padilla is a United States citizen, who was taken into custody by the U.S. government and tortured repeatedly.” The incremental changes in Germany happened by way of changes in the public ethos. First, those deemed handicapped were isolated, then certain women were forbidden to have children. it was all a means to a profound ideological end.”What do our constitutional protections really mean if a U.S. citizen can be wisked away and held incommunicado, and tortured, for months or years, because the Executive declares one an “enemy combatant”? ” The question here is whether we can treat enemy combatants as enemy combatants, even when they are U.S citizens. You can have your opinions on this, but Padilla was manifestly an enemy combatant, and one who had killed someone to boot.So, on one hand, you have a murderous enemy combatant being denied the privileges of a citizen, and on the other you have a movement to cull the weak. As I said, it’s not that you can’t make Holocaust comparisons, its that you must make them with a sense of perspective. “I passionately disagree with policy x” is not tantamount to “policy x is another step toward a new Thrid Reich”.



report abuse
 

Aaron

posted April 11, 2007 at 5:58 pm


The question here is whether we can treat enemy combatants as enemy combatants, even when they are U.S citizens. You can have your opinions on this, but Padilla was manifestly an enemy combatant, and one who had killed someone to boot. Laughable, purely laughable. We treat U.S. citizens as U.S. citizens, that’s a Constitutional issue.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 6:13 pm


“Laughable, purely laughable. We treat U.S. citizens as U.S. citizens, that’s a Constitutional issue.” This isn’t an argument. The question is whether enemy combatants retain certain Constitutional rights in spite of their enemy combatant status, and whether the military must then give up important intelligence in order to prosecute in accordance with their rights as a citizen. This would tremendously compromise our ability to root out terrorism (or engage in any military effort). Precedent is not necessarily on your side either, so it is insufficient to just say “Constitution, dumbhead.” And pretend that this question is settled.



report abuse
 

Aaron

posted April 11, 2007 at 6:33 pm


This isn’t an argument. It wasn’t supposed to be one as there is No argument. Constitution dumbhead, sufficient here. Sorry there’s NO debate about this. We prosecute American citizens as American citizens, who are afforded certain legal protections. Without this, we have no basis for society. You don’t like living under the Constitution, then fine, leave.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted April 11, 2007 at 7:43 pm


I’m sure some people used the unpatriotic card, just as some use the Nazi card. But to pretend that you were in some way unsafe for opposing the Iraq War is ridiculous. I had major questions about the war (initially), and was never called unpatriotic. Kevin — it happened, mostly to non-Republicans. Case closed.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted April 11, 2007 at 8:09 pm


“Kevin — it happened, mostly to non-Republicans.” And, to the extent that it happened, you have blown it out of proportion on order of magnitude. “Constitution dumbhead, sufficient here.” The question is whether the Constitution afford our military the right to prosecute citizens if they are engaged in an act of war.



report abuse
 

Aaron

posted April 11, 2007 at 8:40 pm


Wouldn’t they then be tried under treason? And not in some nebulous military court after years of secret detention and limited access to legal teams while being subjected to interrogation tactics that would be thrown out in any civilian court of law.



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted April 11, 2007 at 9:12 pm


And, to the extent that it happened, you have blown it out of proportion on order of magnitude. Uh-uh — nothing Karl Rove does can ever be blown out of proportion. Besides, it was in all the media; here at my newspaper we took more that a few calls and published several letters insisting we support the war for fear of sounding unpatriotic.



report abuse
 

neuro_nurse

posted April 11, 2007 at 11:19 pm


Kristopherif he was just made to be uncomfortable for long periods of time by loud music, and hot/cold temperatures, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.So, if you were arrested, regardless of whether or not you committed a crime, would you accept that kind of treatment as reasonable? How should U.S. soldiers be treated when captured? Is water boarding acceptable? Stress positions? Sleep deprivation? Dear Mom, I got captured, but don t worry, things aren t so bad. They won t let me sleep and the water boarding is kind of annoying, but it could be worse. Love, SonWhat is the definition of torture? It s what you don t want done to you. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 (Gushee, D. P. (February 1, 2006). 5 reasons torture is always wrong. Christianity Today. http://www.ctlibrary.com/38136 Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2297 http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt3sect2chpt2art5.htmwhat links would SOJO be willing to go to get information that could save possibly thousands of lives?Ah, the Jack Bauer argument! Torture is not an effective technique for gathering intelligence. 24 is entertaining, but it s fiction and, IMHO, loaded with propaganda. Turn off your TV.The question here is whether we can treat enemy combatants as enemy combatantsThe question is: what is the definition of an enemy combatant and who made/makes that decision.The Detainee Treatment Act, or D.T.A., enacted on December 30, 2005, provides that no individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, as defined by reference to the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, regardless of the nationality or location of the individual. For the purpose of determining whether a statement must be excluded under section (a) of this rule, torture is defined as an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incident to lawful sanctions) upon another person within the actor s custody or physical control. Severe mental pain or suffering is defined as the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from: (A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (C) the threat of imminent death; or (D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality. Military Commission Rules of Evidence Section I, General Provisions. http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs/Part%20III%20-%20MCREs%20(FINAL).pdf



report abuse
 

genie

posted April 12, 2007 at 2:33 am


The slippery slope we are inching closer to is a nationalism that says “my country right or wrong.” Yes, the fact the speaking out against the war gets you labeled an unpatriotic is one of the signs. Germany was at one of their lowest points following WWI, and looking for anything that could allow them to find their pride again. Hitler knew the right buttons to push. Racism was something they could grasp and hold on to in order to regain a sense of power and superiority again. The clergy who supported Hitler were many. Flags with swastikas on them were hung prominently in the churches. (and I wondered why my British friends were so astonished to see the American flag displayed in my church sanctuary?). Folks who rarely get emotional about the poverty and injustice in our own nation, get all teary eyed over a patriotic song and a waving flag. It often seems there is a fine line between worshipping God and “worshipping” America. I’m thankful to be an American, but I don’t see it through rosy colored glasses. Our own arrogance in believing our way is always the best and the only way to do things; believing that anyone who differs with us is treaonous and deserves punishment–even when they are trying to make peace–these are all characteristics that consumed the German culture and allowed Hitler’s venom to take root. We need to be careful–very careful



report abuse
 

jim cooke

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:58 pm


Jim Wallis web story today indicates that on this day, 62 years ago, that Bonhoeffer was hung . . . less than a month before before VE Day, May 8, 1945!



report abuse
 

Bill Samuel

posted April 12, 2007 at 9:30 pm


Some of the comments remind me of the remarks attributed to Bonhoeffer’s colleague Martin Niemoller. There are various versions of it, one of which is: They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. In the US, would it be “They came first for the enemy combatants?” And remember that an “enemy combatant” is anyone declared so by the executive, with the White House maintaining that there is to be no review of that whatsoever. It is vitally important that we push back against all such efforts. We have moved in this direction before, but never have gotten quite to the Nazi stage. In the 40′s, it would have been “They came first for those of Japanese national origin” and in the 50′s “They came first for the Communists.” We only retain our liberties by vigorously standing up for them.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted April 13, 2007 at 6:45 am


“Uh-uh — nothing Karl Rove does can ever be blown out of proportion.” This is an inherently false statement.



report abuse
 

kevin s.

posted April 13, 2007 at 7:05 am


“The slippery slope we are inching closer to is a nationalism that says “my country right or wrong.”I think we are inching further away from this, whether that is right or wrong. “Yes, the fact the speaking out against the war gets you labeled an unpatriotic is one of the signs.” Not really. Further, noting that some people are not patirotic is not the same as decding they should die, or that they should be marginalized. “Racism was something they could grasp and hold on to in order to regain a sense of power and superiority again.” Sort of. Rather, they trumped up “evidence” based on eugenics. Thus, “science” could make the case for them. “The clergy who supported Hitler were many. Flags with swastikas on them were hung prominently in the churches. (and I wondered why my British friends were so astonished to see the American flag displayed in my church sanctuary?).” First, did you really WONDER why, or did you just sort of assume they would be astonished? Displaying the American flag, even while America is engaging in a war you disagree with, is not probelmatic for most. “Folks who rarely get emotional about the poverty and injustice in our own nation, get all teary eyed over a patriotic song and a waving flag.” They also get teary-eyes at “The Notebook”. That said, you establish a false choice here between caring about poverty and “justice” (whatever that means) and being a teary-eyed patriot. “It often seems there is a fine line between worshipping God and “worshipping” America.” Fair enough, so long as you acknowledge that the line between being fervent in faith and worshipping Christ is not so easy as you imagine. “I’m thankful to be an American, but I don’t see it through rosy colored glasses.” Show of hands, does anyone have colored glasses, with respect to America? Just checking. “Our own arrogance in believing our way is always the best and the only way to do things; believing that anyone who differs with us is treaonous and deserves punishment” This is hyperbolic in the etreme. Which way is right? The president’s way? If he supports amnesty for illegal immigrants, I will oppose him on that idea. Do you think the administration thinks I deserve punishment? Under what circumstance am I guilty of treason? You clearly differ from the administration, but you are not in prison, correct? Have you been punished? “these are all characteristics that consumed the German culture and allowed Hitler’s venom to take root.” Except that you mischaracterized them and took them out of perspective. Do you want Hitler’s ideas to take hold there?



report abuse
 

Rick Nowlin

posted April 13, 2007 at 4:44 pm


This is an inherently false statement. You wish, Kevin — given what’s always come out of the Bush White House, the burden of proof that it isn’t comes from the conservatives themselves. And so far they’ve failed miserably.



report abuse
 

ajj

posted February 28, 2008 at 1:06 pm


I think I agree with Lilou. Hitler made use of what happened to Germany after Versailles. I think that he just used them…I lived in Germany in the 1990s and I visit often. I’m an African and it is the country I would be most comfortable living in, in Europe. But some of them do still have this habit of deference to authority. I think that was also exploited. And the Jews, as a ‘landless’ people, were targeted partly because of envy, also because it was realized that they could steal a great deal of wealth from members of Jewish communities and partly because Hitler and his cronies realized that the treatment of Jews would probably not be condemned widely. So this notion of the perfect Aryan was used to defend persecution of the Jews. And it was baloney – if the nazis were so interested in aryanism why did they have significant alliances with Japanese and Arabs and disaffected Indians?
All of us, in whichever country, must be very very careful when it comes to believing whatever our leaders tell us.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting God's Politics. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:14:07am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Why I Work for Immigration Reform (by Patty Kupfer)
When I tell people that I work on immigration reform, they usually laugh or say, "way to pick an easy topic." Everyday it feels like there is more fear, more hate. Raids are picking up in Nevada, California, and New York. A number of senators who supported comprehensive reform only a few months ago

posted 12:30:52pm Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Audio: Jim Wallis on "Value Voters" on The Tavis Smiley Show
Last week Jim was on The Tavis Smiley Show and talked about how the changing political landscape will affect the upcoming '08 election. Jim and Ken Blackwell, former Ohio secretary of state, debated and discussed both the impact of "value voters" on the election and what those values entail. + Down

posted 10:11:56am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Verse of the Day: 'peace to the far and the near'
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will lead them and repay them with comfort, creating for their mourners the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and the near, says the Lord; and I will heal them. But the wicked are like the tossing sea that cannot keep still; its waters toss u

posted 9:35:01am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »

Daily News Digest (by Duane Shank)
the latest news on Mideast, Iran, Romney-Religious right, Blog action day, Turkey, SCHIP, Iran, Aids-Africa, India, Budget, Brownback-slavery apology, Canada, and selected op-eds. Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail » Blog action day. Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green

posted 9:31:25am Oct. 16, 2007 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.