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“First They Came…”

“There is a time for everything,” says Solomon, the wise author of Ecclesiastes. Are we mindful enough of when it is necessary and right to proclaim justice on behalf of others? Let us not be silent when we have good opportunity “to speak truth to power.” Pastor Martin Niemöller had it right in his short, popular poem:

“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

Mary Theroux of the Independent Institute updates Niemöller with some analogous language that perhaps hits closer to our immediate political situation:

“FIRST Truman went to war against Korea without Congress,
and I didn’t speak up because the communists had to be stopped.

THEN Clinton passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,
and I didn’t speak up because innocent people don’t need habeas corpus.

THEN Bush passed the USA PATRIOT ACT,
and I didn’t speak up because terrorists don’t deserve trials.

THEN Obama ridiculed the Supreme Court,
and I didn’t speak up because I don’t like corporations.

THEN Obama classified the Constitution as messy rules standing in the way of important ends,
and by that time no one could remember what a root principle is.”

Will you speak up today? Don’t you think that it’s time?

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Dr. Norman Horn

Norman founded LibertarianChristians.com and the Libertarian Christian Institute, and currently serves as its President and Editor-in-Chief. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the Austin Graduate School of Theology. He currently is a Postdoctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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