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24 August 2006

Comments

Rebecca

Hi David,
I am sure whatever decision you take would be guided by the Holy Spirit because whatever you do or say as pastor is out of a genuine concern and regard for what affects others. You speak up for things that are wrong or unjust even though they dont seem to affect you but that they affect others is enough for you to speak out and that's what makes you a good pastor and leader of the church.

You dont stay silent. Yet there will always be those that do justifying their silence by asking 'Why speak up about things that dont seem to affect us?' Pastor Martin Neimoller's poem 'First they came...' answers this question.

Pastor Martin Neimoller was the man who stayed silent when he shouldnt have and then atoned for that reminding the world never to stay silent in the face of opression, tyranny and injustice. Like many ordinary Germans he supported the Nazis until he realized what they were really about. But by then it was too late and he was sent to Dachau concentration camp. He narrowly escaped execution and survived imprisonment to abandon his earlier national conservative views and become a left-wing Christian pacifist opposed to nationalism, anti-Semitism and racism of all kinds. He is honored by Israel as a 'Righteous Among the Nations'.

There are many versions of Pastor Martin Neimoller's poem but here are a few.

The most commonly known version is the one supplied by Sibylle Sarah Niemoeller von Sell, Martin Niemoeller's wife which reads:

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Social Democrats,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Social Democrat.
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 Jews,
and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew,
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

The version inscribed at the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston, Massachusetts reads:

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.

The version printed in the Time magazine on August 28, 1989, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the start of World War II reads:

First they came 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 Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left
to speak up for me.

You can read more on Pastor Martin Neimoller and the famous poem 'First they came..' here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Niemoller
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came...
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Niemoller_quote.html
http://www.veni.com/articles/firsttheycameforme.html

God's blessings,
Rebecca

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