Not a Household Name
Maybe you have heard of this famous quote from Niemoller, outspoken critic of Adolf Hitler and pastor who was detained in prison for seven years (see a short bio here).
But Maybe He Should Be!
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
Niemoller was actually one of the "private prisoners" of Hitler and was interviewed/questionned by Hitler many times. On one occasion, Niemoller said to Hitler:
You can imprison me and you can torture me and you can kill me, but Herr Hitler, one day you will give an account to one who is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
"Having always been an ardent partisan of freedom, I turned to the Universities, as soon as the revolution broke out in Germany, to find the Unniversities took refuge in silence.
I then turned to the editors of the powerful newspapers, who, but lately in flowing articles, had claimed to be the faithful champions of liberty. These men, as well as the Universities, were reduced to silence in a few weeks.
I then addressed myself to the authors individualy, to those who passed themselves off as the intellectual guides of Germany, and among whom many had frequently discussed the questions of freedom and its place in modern life. They are in their turn very dumb.
Only the church opposed the fight which Hitler was waging against liberty. Till then I had no interest in the Church, but now I feel great drmiration and am truly attracted to the Church which had the persistent courage to fight for spiritual truth and moral freedom. I feel obliged to confess that I now admire what I used to consider of little value."
All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to do nothing. (Edmund Burke)
May you and I not be counted among those who do nothing.
May we have lives of such spiritual depth, vitality, intimacy and power that the Gospel of Light and Life is illustrated through us to a darkened world.
If you are called to a place of leadership, may you provide Heroic, Faithful Leadership in the Name of Jesus.
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International