In Germany, leading up to the Nazi atrocities, the population kept allowing for encroachments on them that they knew were wrong because they were “small” enough not to make a fuss over. Over the course of about 8 years, though, the “small” things had added up to “it’s too late to do anything now,” and they were powerless against the heinous. They allowed it, little by little, because they thought the horrific could never really happen. “No one would actually do that.” The people won’t allow it.” But it did.
We must open our eyes to what is happening in America now. The warning signs are both ominous and ubiquitous.
- The rise of white supremacism. White supremacism is no small group of people, but a national cancer rising at a rapid pace. It’s a major trend of fear, violence, and bigotry.
- The escalation of racism. Following decades of attempts to minimize and even eliminate racism in America, it is alarmingly alive and hateful.
- The growth of Anti-Semitism. Attacks on synagogues are the tip of the iceberg. The Anti-Defamation league reports that 2017 and 2018 saw two of the highest numbers of anti-Semitic incidents in nearly 40 years of keeping records.
- Americans are at each other’s throats in an ideological civil war. Whether the topic is abortion, gender identification, politics, euthanasia, or religion, we are seeing not just disagreement but hostility and anger, and then violence. We are not so much a melting pot of people but a boiling pot of animosity. Our situation parallels what was happening in the country before the Civil War.
- The attempt to control the narrative by changing the definition of words. Whoever controls the narrative controls the ideology, and a war is raging by changing the definition of terms to sway public opinion.
- Suppression of a free press. Historically, one of the checks and balances on American culture was the free press, who brought all ideas to light for public consumption and debate, and who didn’t need to fear reprisal for investigative reporting. In our era of blatant media bias, inaccurate reporting (in the drive to be first), spiteful articles aimed more at injury than at accuracy, and attempts to silence journalists who take a different perspective, the environment is ripe for a media machine trying to create a worldview rather than one of honest reporting.
- Disallowance of free speech. While this is most obvious on college campuses (shouting down those who dare to speak another perspective, refusing to allow speech that disagrees with the liberal position, and even violence against others), the suppression of free speech only portends the free expression of oppression.
- False accusation of innocent people. Ignoring due process and the presentation of evidence to give rebuttal to accusations of such things as sexual abuse and police brutality consigns us to mob rule and indictment by the ignorance of the biased.
- Failure to indict the guilty. Social media, suppression of free speech and of a free press, and changing terminology all allow the dissemination of great amounts of false information and distraction away from the truly guilty to accusations of those who are innocent. As a result, the guilty are getting away with it, while the innocent are plagued with one confrontation after another.
- Cultural volatility with violence at the ready. It seems that our cities are like tinder boxes, boiling under the surface, barely contained, and the wrong spark at the wrong time over a hot issue will ignite a bonfire flame of violence of neighbor against neighbor. It reminds me of the situation before WWI broke out. The assassination of the archduke set the world at war.
- Perspective of relative morality: right becomes whatever I want it to be. Without the recognition of an objective morality, “right” is in the hands of the majority, the powerful, or the most violent.
- Irrational “tolerance.” Despite all our claims of “tolerance” (one of the words some are redefining to create an ideology), we are the most intolerant society of our lifetimes. Tolerance that goes in only one direction is nothing more than oppression. In the name of tolerance there is an active effort to silence or marginalize all who disagree with one while simultaneously allowing the most immoral behaviors that suit one’s worldview. Again, “right” is defined by the powerful.
- The intellectual persecution of Christians in America. Religious thought, values, beliefs, and actions are increasing mocked, marginalized, shut down illegally by the courts, and even legislated against. Free expression of religion is progressively being suppressed.
We wonder how educated, “religious,” civilized, moral people can act the way they are. We often heard in school that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. What we are seeing is frighteningly similar to the lead up to the American Civil War, WWI, WWII in Germany, the Holocaust, Stalin’s genocide in Russia, and Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” in China. We are allowing all of these encroachments (1) because they are so small we choose not to act against them, (2) because we feel powerless to do anything about it, and (3) because we live in fear of reprisal, censure, or violence against us. It’s an ominous atmosphere.
What should we do about it?
- We must insist on freedom of the press, but also require our media to give us unbiased reporting. Editorializing is fair and helpful, but not under the guise of objective reporting. We need a free and unbiased press to being able to think intelligently about issues.
- We must guarantee free speech in the country. The silencing of free speech is how the immoral powerful leaders oppress the masses and get away with their malfeasance. Of course, free speech requires a certain ethic of responsibility.
- We must guarantee freedom of religion for all (not just your own religion). As Cicero said, “Religion is indispensable to private morals and public order…and no man of sense will attack it.”
- Tougher abortion laws to protect the innocents who have no voice. A society that freely kills its babies has no regard for life, morality, justice, or order.
- Laws against euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. Allowing these practices suggests death for convenience and preference. The opportunity for abuse is far too great to cross this line.
- Return of the judiciary to judicial function rather than imperialistic executive intrusion, as we are now seeing.
- Return of the Congress to legislative function rather than perpetual attack, as we are now seeing.
- Responsible environmental stewardship. The Bible mandates that we take care of the planet as God would. Our current irresponsibility in the prospect of cataclysmic devastation is unconscionable.
- Return of values to education. A value-free scholastic atmosphere has proved to be not only both empty and false, but also dangerous, as we have watched society plunge deeper into immorality, violence, intolerance, depravity.
- The allowance of legal religious expression in schools, the government, and the public forum. Organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) have pushed (with threats of lawsuit or actual lawsuits) schools and governments to remove legal religious expressions from their respective contexts. This is not only contrary to law, but also contrary to the wellbeing of our country. We need to stand against these bullies. Society without religion is only an empty shell for immorality and an open market for oppression.
- What we need is a concerted ecclesiological, political, and educational suppression of the destructive and detrimental “isms”: supremacism, racism, and anti-Semitism. Without it, we will spiral downward into hatred and self-destruction.
During the rise of Nazism in Germany, good people failed to act, and we look back to that era as the worst atrocity of modern history, if not all history. Fifty to 80 million people died because of it, and to prevent the downfall of civilization. Silence and inactivity now, knowing where this leads, is not an option.