Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian who watched the rise of Nazi rule in his home country in horror in the 1930s.
He is remembered as one of the Nazi regime’s staunchest critics and worked for years on underground efforts to build up the biblical Christian church in Germany.
However, there was a time, before he became a public enemy in his homeland, that he accepted a ministerial position safely on England’s shores.
He was rebuked by a friend, who asked him, “And what of the German church?” warning his friend, “the house of your church is on fire.”
Bonhoeffer ultimately decided to return to Germany, where he would spend the rest of his life trying to evade Nazi capture and training up the servants of the banned Confessional Church he helped to found.
Not only a great Nazi resister, Bonhoeffer is undoubtedly one of the great modern martyrs of the Christian church.
He chose to return to his home country in the face of one of the most wicked authoritarian movements the world had ever seen.
Now, many Europeans are finding themselves faced with the same difficult decision that Bonhoeffer was once confronted with as nations are implementing increasingly stringent COVID-19 measures including mandatory vaccinations, health passes, and lockdowns for the unvaccinated.
Not even 100 years after the Nazis rounded up undesirables, placed them in designated ghettos and, eventually, concentration camps, new, two-tiered societies are emerging in Europe.
“The government is attempting to transform the society into a totalitarian police state,” American Eric Hewitt, who lives in Austria with his wife and children, recently told CBN News.
The family has been barred from taking music classes and even shopping for birthday gifts at toy shops due to their vaccination status as Austria puts into place some of the strictest COVID measures in the world, and the most stringent in the west.
“The unvaccinated have already been in lockdown for almost a month and next year will have to pay $4,000 in fines every three months unless they not only get vaccinated but also get booster shots,” CBN notes.
German EU parliamentarian Gunnar Beck warns that policies are emerging that are greatly disproportionate to the threat of the virus itself.
“We are not talking about the Black Death here,” he said. “I’m not even sure the Black Death would warrant the effective suspension of the rule of law, constitutional government, and democracy.”
Catholic activist Alexander Tschugguel is refusing to back down on what he views as decidedly immoral encroachment on liberties in his home country of Austria, and he draws to mind Bonhoeffer’s deeply devout resistance to the Nazi’s philosophy and human rights abuses.
“Do you want the government, which enforces things like abortion, homosexual marriage, which definitely shows that they not only do not follow the teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but rather fight against it? Do you want them to have every information available, full control of where you are allowed to go and where you’re not allowed to go?” he says. “Like in China? I say, No. And that’s the reason we go and protest.”
Hewitt, for his part, has also decided to stay and protest.
“God has placed me at a critical battle in the spiritual war that we’re going through,” he told CBN. “And so what I want is to restore a human society and not a sort of a bureaucratic nightmare.”
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