Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day - Comments & Reflection

by Patrick Miller, MeckGOP Volunteer

It is Veterans Day and I find myself reflecting on the election this past week; why so many folks worked their tails off to see a Republican victory in the 2014 Mid-terms.

Those of us who have volunteered for months, helping with the GOTV effort – we say thank you to everyone who voted in the Mid-Terms this past week. For those who did so much more, thank you for your hard work, for you hours of phone calls, knocking on doors, distributing voter guides and your financial donations. You are the life blood of the MeckGOP and the freedom loving people of our nation.

This week has an interesting mix of important anniversaries.

Veterans Day - Today we honor our Veterans for their amazing and selfless sacrifices. You are worthy of true honor. We pray for you, for your fallen and for your families. We pray and we are genuinely humbled that you laid everything on the line – including your very lives.

This week is the anniversary of Armistice Day. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent on the Western front. Over 10 million lives lost, over 21 million wounded, and almost 8 million missing.

This week marks the anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall - The Berlin Wall was both the physical division between West Berlin and Communist East Germany from 1961 to 1989 and the symbolic boundary between democracy and Communism during the Cold War. Though the Berlin Wall is down, and Germany is now a free nation – let us not forget there are still many nations where billions of people still long for the freedoms that we have; freedoms that our ancestors, and some in our current generation have paid the ultimate price to protect and preserve.

One of our roles as freedom loving Republicans is to never let folks forget that it was Big Government Marxist beliefs or the philosophies of socialism that ushered in so many of these terrible and regrettable realities in the recent past, and in our current world.

Some history and its important message and significance for today – another important anniversary.

Seventy-six years ago this week (1938); an event that was executed across Germany called ‘Kristallnacht’ – The Night of Broken Glass. A series of coordinated attacks took place across Nazi Germany and Austria carried out by the SA Paramilitary forces and non-Jewish civilians. The German authorities and the vast majority of the German people looked the other way. Most historians consider that evening the beginning of the Holocaust.

There was then and is today a message in these events for all of us who revere freedom for people, and for those who believe in God. Here is an excerpt from the book titled ‘BONHOEFFER – Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy’ – by NY Times Best Selling Author Eric Metaxas.

Kristallnacht, 11.9.38

Bonhoeffer spoke of Jesus Christ as the “man for others,” as selflessness incarnate, loving and serving others to the absolute exclusion of his own needs and desires. Similarly, he believed the Church of Jesus Christ existed for “others.” And since Christ was Lord over the whole world, not just the church, and the church existed to reach out beyond itself; to speak out for the voiceless, to defend the weak and the fatherless. In 1938, Bonhoeffer’s views on the subject were particularly sharpened as a result of the disturbing events of November 9. It was now, for the first time, that his gaze was in a new way directed away from his own trials and towards the trials of God’s people, namely the Jews.

The infamous events of that week began on November 7, when a 17-year-old German Jew shot and killed an official in the German Embassy in Paris. The young man’s father had recently been put in a crowded boxcar and deported to Poland. For that and for the Nazis’ other abuses against the Jews, this young man had his revenge. As with the burning of the Reichstag, the shooting was used as a pretext that Hitler and the Nazi leaders needed. In a series of demonstrations that were camouflaged as “spontaneous”, evils would be unleashed against the Jews of Germany on a terrible scale.

Hitler gave the command to take action against the Jews, and he looked to the services of Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler’s second in command at the SS. The orders gave explicit directions on how to perpetrate the events of what has come to be known as “Kristallnacht” (Night of Broken Glass). The homes and businesses of Jewish families were destroyed and looted, synagogues were set aflame, and Jews were beaten and killed.

It was later the next day that Bonhoeffer heard what happened across Germany. In a conversation about it with his ordinands, someone put forth and accepted a theory about the “curse” upon the Jews. The young ordinands did not go so far as to condone what happened and were genuinely upset about it, but they quite seriously suggested that the reason for the evils must be the “curse” the Jews bore for rejecting Christ. Bonhoeffer had not known these young men to either be hateful or anti-Semitic, but he firmly and passionately refuted their interpretation and stated that they were clearly in error.

In refuting them, he circulated a letter throughout the local community a few days afterward. In order to make a bold point, he added a number of verses from the Bible within this letter including Psalm 74 Zechariah 2:8, Romans 9:4 & 11:11-15.

Bonhoeffer was using the words of Jewish men - David, Zechariah, and Paul - to make the point that both the Jews and the Gentiles are God’s people. He even went so far in using these verses to stand against the Nazis who at that time had forbidden Jews from being part of the German church.

The events of 1938 and thereafter combined with the inability of the confessing Church’s leaders to take a bold stand disheartened Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer at one point went to the United States because he became a marked man for taking a stand. He went on and made a heart wrenching decision in 1939 to leave the safe haven of America for Hitler’s Germany, and using extended excerpts from love letters and coded messages, eventually went on to participate in an attempted assassination of Hitler.

Readers of ‘BONHOEFFER – Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy’ - will discover fresh insights and revelations about his life-changing months at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem New York, and about his controversial position on why Christians are obligated to stand up for the Jews and those who are persecuted. The author Eric Metaxas also sheds new light on Bonhoeffer’s reaction to Kristallnacht, his involvement in the famous Valkyrie Plot and in “Operation 7,” the effort to smuggle Jews into neutral Switzerland. Bonhoeffer eventually paid the ultimate price; he was hung by the neck for taking a stand against Hitler and the Nazis. He is an example to us all.
As an American citizen who is a descendent of German ancestry; my great, great grandfather Hugo emigrated from Germany to the United States in the early 1800s. He publicly and passionately spoke out against slavery in the state of Missouri which was a state that had both free blacks and black slaves leading up to the Civil War. He was so vocal during the Civil War that the Confederate sympathizing Bushwhackers (terrorists) put a price on his head and he had to flee back to Germany and not return to the states until the war was over. My grandfather David served in the trenches of World War I on the European Western front. My family records indicate that cousins and relatives fought on both sides of both WWI & WWII. My uncle Patrick (who I am named after), paid the ultimate price losing his life on the island of Okinawa only four days before the Japanese surrendered in World War II.

Each and every one of these tragic wars; the loss of millions of lives - began first with a group of people whom subscribed to a philosophy or worldview that was the antithesis of freedom and liberty - the antithesis of a biblical worldview.

I know that many of you feel, as I do, that we are currently experiencing a raging war of ideas in our nation. We are having a national debate, and at times a heated conversation over the Big Govt. view and a Limited Govt. View. Ours is not the first time that such national debates have happened.

We know from history that our form government; a Republic that uses a democratic process to elect our representatives – combined with our unique and beloved Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights and Constitution – is the philosophical and written firewall of protection that has prevented our nation from the terrible fate that so many other nations have suffered. But our Constitution, structure of government and our history will never be enough to combat people who want to change who we are as a nation. It will always require courageous and ordinary folks like ‘YOU’ who are willing to get off the sidelines and get in the game.

Thank you for your hard work and sacrifice.

Today we offer special thanks with hearts of gratitude for all of those who have laid down their lives for freedom and liberty, and to preserve and protect our way of life.

Let us never forget the great responsibility we all have – May God Bless each of you, and May God Bless America.

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