Pro-democracy rallies in Iraq, and more.
Dec 22, 2003, Vol. 9, No. 15
The saintly and courageous Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged by the Gestapo at the Flossenburg concentration camp on April 9, 1945--which is, we are informed, much the way those who oppose President Bush's actions are treated these days. The theologian George Hunsinger, for instance, announced on a panel about Bonhoeffer's thought at the American Academy of Religion this month that he is just like Bonhoeffer in his saintly and courageous opposition to Amerika. Indeed, Hunsinger--whose lonely moral stands have led to the torture of Princeton's appointing him the Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic Theology--explained that America is a "fascist state," and consequently, like Bonhoeffer, he declared, "I pray every day for the defeat of my country."
Hunsinger's relation to reality is a curious one. In the months before war in Iraq began, for instance, he took to the pages of Christian Century to deny that Saddam Hussein had actually gassed the Kurds or that Iraq had ever expelled the U.N.'s arms inspectors. But this claiming of the mantle of Bonhoeffer may be his furthest stretch into unreality. If there is anything more obscene than comparing America to the Third Reich, it is the self-congratulation of protesters comparing themselves to the Germans who opposed Nazism--where the personal risk was a little higher than the applause and promotion that America's self-righteous academics have had to suffer.