Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Easter and Passover Greetings

This year on Good Friday, my family and I had the opportunity to visit the Holocaust Museum in Naples, Florida.  It felt like a wholly appropriate day—a day in history when the death of another Jewish man forever changed the world.  The museum images were disturbing and relevant.  We were most horrified by the Nazi rhetoric that helped to pave the way for a strain of thought that caused ordinary Germans to treat a segment of humanity as disposable garbage.    

The similarities to the political rhetoric in the US today and pre-WWII Germany were downright creepy.  One of the posters on the wall of the museum stated that Hitler originally stirred up the German people by inciting the economic dissatisfactions of the lower and middle classes (can anyone say “class warfare”?).  He also slowly began removing the rights of the people.  Today we see an assault on the 1st amendment—the freedom of the Catholic Church to practice it’s religion as it sees fit.  Another assault is in the making on the 2nd amendment:  the right to bear arms.  Hitler knew if the populace were unarmed, then resistance would be very difficult.  One of Hitler’s first acts was to disarm the Jewish populace (1938 Nazi weapons control law).  The docent in the museum shared with us his personal journey on this issue.  He said, like most peace-loving persons, that he was originally very “anti-gun”.  After studying history, he came to the conclusion that an unarmed populace is exactly what a dictatorial tyrant needs in order to brutalize them.  Our forefathers recognized this 200 years ago when they ensured this right in the Constitution.  We must stand together in unity to fight any actions to remove Constitutional rights from the American people. 

I was also greatly relieved to see the examples of Christian resistance to the Holocaust.  From the nun who hid a Jewish girl in the convent, to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to the “White Rose” resistance: committed Christians knew in their hearts that they were living in a time of unspeakable evil.  These were Christians who were willing to suffer the same fate as their fellow Jewish citizens at the hands of an evil regime.  On Good Friday and Easter, Christians are reminded that we are called to a life of “sacrifice” like Christ.  At Passover, Jews remember their deliverance from oppression.  We must ask ourselves: “What would we have done had we lived in 1940’s Germany”?  

Today there is another disturbing similarity in the current strain of thought that attempts to classify other people as “less than”, or deserving of less consideration than others.  I know this is a highly volatile and argument-producing position.  However, we need to educate ourselves on the VERY disconcerting correlation of the abortion industry propaganda to the line of thought that caused the Jewish Holocaust.  The EXACT SAME procession of thinking goes into all the justifications I hear today for abortion:  These are not “people”.  “They” are the cause of some obstacle or goal that needs to be eradicated for advancement.  “They” are expensive to maintain and are costing us money.  We don’t want to be “punished” by them.  They must be sacrificed in order to obtain some higher objective.  There was a poster on the wall of the Holocaust museum that showed how a German family of 5 can be maintained for the same amount of money it took to care for one mentally challenged person.  This was one of the few times that the German Catholic Church took a very strong stance against the Nazis—the Nazis eventually backed down by removing this type of propaganda. 

In our society today, as in Nazi Germany, human beings are reduced to their monetary value and not their intrinsic value as unique and beautiful creations of God—created in the very likeness of God as stated in our Jewish and Christian holy text (Genesis).  Obama-“care” (a bastardization of a word if ever I heard one) wants to enforce that all women get in-vitro testing—for the sole purpose of identifying who among us should be suitable for destruction—eerily reminiscent of the “testing” that went on in the Nazi Death Camps.  Many of you reading this may feel—so what?  Abortion is a woman’s right.  I urge you to reconsider this position in the light of Nazi propaganda—eerily reminiscent words and justifications. 

Lastly, I was struck by the “Rosenstrasse protest” story.  It seems that a small group of Aryan wives, married to Jewish men, revolted against the Nazi regime when their husbands were detained for potential transportation to a death camp.  The amazing part of this story is the Nazi regime actually BACKED DOWN and returned their Jewish husbands!  Imagine that—a small group of ticked off women took on Hitler and the SS and WON!

We MUST speak out.  Do not think that your ONE voice has no impact.  ONE Swiss man saved 1000 Jews by issuing them life-saving travel visas in defiance of the Nazi regime.  With the “power of the Internet”—from YouTube viral videos and blast emails, we have the power to resist evil exponentially.  Christians and Jews must once again UNITE against the forces that are trying to sell us the same evil strain of thought prevalent in the Nazi era that murdered 6 million Jews.  Americans are having their consciences seared in preparation for another coming persecution.  As someone (in my college days) who originally bought the line that it was “my body, my rights”—I have slowly seen the evil evolution of this strain of thought.  We need to study Nazi history and see the similarities of reducing persons to “disposable”.  We need to have compassion for women who have been sold this lie and now suffer from the physical and psychological consequences—consequences very similar to the “survivor guilt” experienced by Jewish Holocaust survivors.

I realize by vocalizing these opinions, that we risk social ostracism or offending some of our more liberal friends and neighbors.  We are taught not to discuss “religion and politics”.  Imagine how many Germans felt that way in the 1930’s?   This risk is insignificant when we remember the Jewish and Christian resistance forces that risked and sacrificed their very lives to speak out.  Once we truly value the sanctity of life….ALL life….

Only then can we all truly say “NEVER AGAIN”. 

To my Jewish friends:  Happy Passover. 
To my Christian friends & family:  Happy Easter.

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