Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bonhoeffer and Anti-Semiticism

I've finished reading through Bonhoeffer's Life Together during this Lent season (My other Lent posts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), so I've been reading other material from Bonhoeffer during this time. In the early 1930s, as Germany began to adopt laws that became more and more explicltly anti-Semitic, Bonhoeffer was one of the few who recognized the dangers of the Church merging its interests completely with that of the State. The 'Aryan Paragraph' espoused by the German State/Church eventually led to a full-on legislation to distinguish the 'Aryans' from 'non-Aryans' with charts such as these:

If one has three or more grandparents (dark circles at the top), then you fall under the category of Jude ("Jew").

Against these kinds of ideologies, Bonhoeffer wrote a pamphlet titled 'The Aryan Paragraph in the Church' which is clear evidence of how differently he thought from the majority of German Christians around him. In it he writes:

"The German Christians say: We are not so much concerned with these thousand Jewish Christians as with the millions of our fellow citizens who are estranged from God. For their sake, these others might in certain cases have to be sacrificed. We answer: We too are concerned for those outside the church, but the church does not sacrifice a single one of its members. It may even be that the church for the sake of a thousand believing Jewish Christians that it is not allowed to sacrifice, might fail to win over those millions. But what good would it do to gain millions of people at the price of the truth and of love for even a single one?"

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