As America flirts dangerously with theocracy/totalitarianism, as executive power assumes more and more the posture of entitlement, the lessons of Germany keep coming to mind. How long will the church be silent? How long will the church, at least expressed in its theocratic/fundamentalist expressions bless the collusion of spiritual, economic and political power? When will we learn? And so, this confession, from Bonhoeffer:
The church confesses . . . her fearfulness, her deviations, her dangerous concessions. She has often denied her office as watchman and as comforter. By so doing she has often denied to the outcast and the despised the mercy which she owed them. She was silent when she should have cried out because the blood of the innocent cried to heaven. She has not found the right word in the right manner at the right time.
The church confesses that she has misused the name of Jesus Christ in that she was ashamed of him before the world and did not oppose strongly enough the misuse of his name for evil purposes. She looked on while deeds of violence and injustice were done under the cover of the name of Christ.
The church confesses that she has seen the arbitrary employment of brutal force, the physical and spiritual suffering of innumerable innocent persons through oppression, hate, and murder, without raising her voice for them, without having found ways to hasten to their aid. She has become guilty of the life of the weakest and most defenseless brethren of Jesus Christ.
The church confesses that she has witnessed silently the robbing and exploiting of the poor and the enrichment and corruption of the strong.
The church confesses her guilt with respect to the countless numbers whose lives have been destroyed by innuendo, condemnation and slander. She has not convicted the slanderers of their injustice and so has abandoned the slandered to their fate.
The church confesses that she has craved security, peace quiet, possessions, honour, to which she has no claim, and so she has not bridled human cravings, but has furthered them, . . . By her own silence, the church has become guilty for the loss of responsible action, of the courage of commitment and readiness to suffer for what is known to be right. She is guilty of falling away from the Lordship of Christ.