After years spent openly opposing Adolf Hitler and encouraging Germans to turn against his regime, Dietrich Bonhoeffer — a Christian minister, theologian, pacifist and German citizen — made a deliberate turn from civil disobedience to secret participation in a cabal whose aim was to assassinate the Fuhrer. Bonhoeffer laid aside his Christian pacifism when he woke up to the fact that Hitler was engaging in genocide. This outraged Bonhoeffer, who held the deep religious conviction that the Jews were a people precious to God and deserving of protection, whatever the personal cost.
As a pacifist, Bonhoeffer had quietly refused to join the military. With his newfound commitment to Hitler's murder he changed direction and joined the German Abwehr, the wartime intelligence agency headed by Admiral Wilheim Canaris. Canaris was secretly opposed to Hitler and was using Abwehr to launch a variety of plots against the Reich, including assassination attempts. Bonhoeffer never participated directly in such plots — they had to be carried out by the military, because officers were the only ones who could get close enough to the Fuhrer to kill him. Nevertheless, Bonhoeffer aided and encouraged these plots from his post inside the Abwehr. Pretending to be a loyal servant of Hitler's Reich, Bonhoeffer was in fact a double agent working towards Hitler's forcible overthrow.
The July 20 Plot on Hitler's life is retold in Tom Cruise's recent film Valkyrie, the plot's code name. It came very close to succeeding but nevertheless failed, enraging Hitler and setting off a ruthless hunt for the conspirators.
Bonhoeffer never claimed that God was "on his side" in this effort. On the contrary, he wrote that his decision to work for Hitler's assassination would make him guilty of breaking God's law. His conviction was that he had to follow the dictates of his conscience, even though he felt certain that he would be judged guilty by God should he cause Hitler's death. His only moral hope, he believed, was that he might find grace to cover his sin through his faith in Christ.
His position seems at first glance to be a tortured ethical contradiction. What drove Bonhoeffer to discard his pacifism in this instance was the realization that in a world broken by sin and suffused by evil, certain horrors simply could not be tolerated, and could only be stopped through violence.
Bonhoeffer saw himself obeying the call of Christ to lay down his life for others. He in effect sacrificed his own moral convictions in the hope of saving Jews from the death camps.
The question I would pose is this: Is it legitimate to suggest that there is a moral equivalency between Dietrich Bonhoeffer's violent opposition to Adolf Hitler and the recent cold-blooded assassination of doctor George Tiller, the unapologetic abortionist? I believe there is.
A thoughtful musing, one that feeds my own internal struggles on this.
Read the rest.
Charlie puts meat on the bones of an issue that tests the sincerity of the pro-life movement.
Several years ago, I went to a conference of abortionists. Some of the late-term providers were there. A row of tables displayed forceps for sale. They started small and got bigger and bigger. Walking along the row, you could ask yourself: Would I use these forceps? How about those? Where would I stop?
The people who do late-term abortions are the ones who don't flinch. They're like the veterans you sometimes see in war documentaries, quietly recounting what they faced and did. You think you're pro-choice. You think marching or phone-banking makes you an activist. You know nothing. There's you, and then there are the people who work in the clinics. And then there are the people who use the forceps. And then there are the people who use the forceps nobody else will use. At the end of the line, there's George Tiller.
Now he's gone. Who will pick up his forceps?
George Tiller used forceps and other instruments to pluck, literally pluck, the unborn from the wombs of mothers in their third trimester. 60,000 times as some outlets are reporting. 60,000.
In your mind, line those unborn babies up in neat little rows of one hundred babies per row. 600 rows later, your task would be complete. How long would that tasking take?
Once completed, would you continue to think that Tiller's death was heinous?
Honestly... would you?
I don't understand the mindset, the logic, the mental manipulations necessary to consider it so.