Red Star Coven: First they came for the Jews? has an interesting post about a historically misleading T-shirt, which misquotes the German pastor Martin Niemoller, speaking about resistance to Nazism, as saying "First they came for the Jews".
Red Star Coven: First they came for the Jews?: gives the first line of the original, followed by the English translation of the whole poem:
Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist.
When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.
The makers of the T-shirt say that Niemoller's words "are testimony to the horrific consquences of abandoning human solidarity", and so they are, but by omitting all the groups other than the Jews they themselves dilute and weaken the message.
Niemoller's poem was often quoted in South Africa during the apartheid era, and in South Africa, too, they first came for the communists. The Suppression of Communism Act (1950) was one of the first pieces of legislation the Nationalist government passed to suppress political opposition after they came to power in 1948.
Then they came for the African Nationalists. The ANC and PAC were banned in 1960.
Then they came for the Liberals, and the members of the Liberal Party were picked off one by one until the party was forced to disband by the Prohibition of Improper Interference Act of 1968.
And the Jews?
Well, they never actually came for the Jews.
The National Party indulged in a lot of antisemitic rhetoric before 1948. When King George VI and his family visited South Africa in 1947, the Nationalist media suggested that he should rather visit the Jewish state that the British were developing in Palestine.
But the Nationalists came to power in 1948 in the same year that the state of Israel was formed, and as time went on there was increasing cooperation between the National Party regime and Israel in such things as the development of WMD.
Many Jews were active in opposition groups, including the Communist and Liberal Parties, but many of those had abandoned Judaism and were atheists or agnostics. Official Jewish organisations were often very muted in their criticism of apartheid, if they criticised at all. They weren't the only ones, of course. Many other religious bodies were equally muted in their criticism, and some were quite sycophantic in their support of the government. And Jews were as quick to abandon human solidarity as others, in spite of the Holocaust.
It is all very well to say "Never forget", but we do, especially when it is comfortable or convenient to do so.
RLCC: That is speaking truth to both power and weakness. The truth is the real power.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
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Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
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Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
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Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)