How soon we forget
Recently, The News-Review published my letter excoriating our young President (using his own words) for his obvious lack of compassion, tolerance and empathy for millions of Americans. And I thought that would be the end of it. In fact, I had already completed a kinder and gentler excoriation planned for this go-’round, but it will have to wait. You see, something very interesting and, I believe, important and instructive took place regarding that letter.
Not once, not twice, but three times — three times! — adults I know took me to task over that letter, and not for it’s veracity. Oh, no, not for the uncomfortable truth of it; no, it was because of my (apparent) hypocrisy in defending Christians. You see, these folks know I am an atheist. And yes, it’s true. I am a lifelong atheist — swear-to-God.
But I was stunned each time it happened and am still incredulous over it. How soon we forget.
Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), a Lutheran pastor and initial supporter of Adolph Hitler, spoke his famous and sage words extemporaneously and often. Here is one version:
First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade-unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
Then they came for me, and there was nobody left to speak for me.