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Call Protestant leaders to resist.


Shortly after obtaining power, Hitler decreed that members of the German Evangelical Church would hold a national election for church leaders on July 23, 1933. To the everlasting shame of German Protestants, more than 70 per cent of the voters backed a slate of outright heretics, the self-styled "German Christians," who proceeded to adopt the "Aryan Paragraph," a Nazi-inspired rule that barred all Jewish converts to Christianity from church office.

What had gone wrong? Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the brilliant young Lutheran theologian and pastor, lamented in a letter to a theological friend: "The most sensible people have lost their heads and their entire Bible."

The heretical majority of German Protestants flouted the plain teaching of the Bible that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Instead, they embraced the then fashionable antisemitism. They ignored the admonition of St. Paul: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind so that you might know what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Today, we scorn the "German Christians" who were complicit in the crimes of Hitler. We laud all the resisters, including hundreds of faithful Christian martyrs like Bonhoeffer and thousands of other pastors, priests and lay Christians who were consigned to concentration camps.

We salute Blessed Cardinal Klement yon Galen, Bishop of Munster, for his heroic defence of the sanctity of human life. In a celebrated sermon on August 3, 1941, he roundly condemned the Nazi euthanasia program.

In timeless words of truth, yon Galen exclaimed: "Woe to mankind, woe to our German nation if God's Holy Commandment 'Thou shalt not kill,' which God proclaimed on Mount Sinai amidst thunder and lightning, which God our Creator inscribed in the conscience of mankind from the very beginning, is not only broken, but if this transgression is actually tolerated and permitted to go unpunished."

Note the irony: many Christians who condemn the Nazi collaborators and admire the heroic faithfulness of Bonhoeffer and yon Galen are themselves complicit in the evils of abortion. Instead of upholding the plain meaning of the Biblical commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," they have conformed their thinking to the fashionable opinion that the deliberate killing of an innocent baby in the womb is sometimes, if not always, justifiable.


Prior to the 1960s, every major Christian leader, Catholic and Protestant, condemned abortion. Bonhoeffer flatly stated in his renowned treatise on Christian ethics: "Abortion is murder." His mentor, Karl Barth, likewise affirmed in his Church Dogmatics that "deliberate abortion is irrefutably seen to be sin, murder and transgression."

Today, many, if not most, theologians and clerics within the United Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Anglican Church of Canada still honour Barth and Bonhoeffer. Yet, with few exceptions, they condone abortion.

The ruling General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada has declared, first, that all human beings, including the unborn, have "the fundamental right to live," and, second, that "a danger to the mother's health indicating the likelihood of permanent or prolonged mental or physical impairment (can) be regarded as grounds for abortion." That is typical of trendy, liberal theologians and clerics: their stance on abortion can make no sense, except perhaps to the practitioners of Orwellian double-think who have mastered the art of holding two contradictory ideas in the mind and simultaneously believing both to be true.

Eventually, of course, the truth will prevail. Sooner or later, the great majority of Canadians will again understand that the deliberate killing of an innocent human being is a grave moral disorder that can never be justified.

Then, members of our corrupt generation will surely be called to account. Many of us will be weighed in the balance and found wanting. We shall have no excuse.

Inspired by the dauntless courage of Bonhoeffer, von Galen and countless other Christians who risked even torture and death to defend the truth, let us pray that by the grace of God, we will not fail to do whatever we can within the democratic process to denounce, deplore and curtail the unmitigated evils of abortion and euthanasia.
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Title Annotation:German Christians on abortion
Author:Leishman, Rory
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:May 1, 2009
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