Christian rhetoric and escalating threats of violence
I have always characterized the Third Reich as the fact of twentieth Century (and also it seems, the twenty-first). This is not because the German people, 1933-1945, were unique but precisely because they are not. Jesus came to earth bearing the sword of division because the light must always contend (actively and boisteroulsly) with the darkness. The passion for unity can be a lovely thing; but it can also transform us into monsters. Thank you for saying Nein!
Kristin, again, many thanks for your posts and reflections, and in this case sharing your experience as a high school exchange student living in Germany with two different hosts - and the privilege, the impact of hearing the stories of their grandfathers during the Second World War and the impact that that horrific event had on their lives. Such a great experience for teenagers to be able to step out of their national/worldview silo - your were so fortunate. When I started my history/civics teaching career in 1968 in an Ontario high school, the principal had served in the Canadian Army - other staff members in the Royal Canadian Navy and 'Bomber Command' of the RAF/RCAF - but there was also another brilliant staff member who was able to teach in a host of subject areas; he had served as a teenager late in the war on the Eastern/Russian Front in the German 'Wehrmacht,' captured and served time as a POW; somehow made it back to Germany and eventually with a scholarship journeyed to Queen's University, Kingston, ON! Both as a person and as a young history teacher, I learned so much listening and interacting with him - and having him share his story with my students a number of times. He had a similar impact on many students. Yes, 'words matter' - may you continue to stay strong and courageous.
Thank you, Kristin, for your dedicated scholarship and for your courage to speak out. I'm sorry that you face so much ugly blowback. May God give you continued strength and protection, and please God mercifully forgive and transform our church and country.
You write, "Trump's supporters are not Nazis. Not even close." However, for many of us, they are too close. In his book American Fascists, Chris Hedges quotes the French philosopher Blaise Pascal: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."
Hi Kristen, thank you for your thoughtful post. You are very brave. I so appreciated your willingness to stand up for what is right and endure the the violent and nasty pushback. People like you are evidence that God is at work during these very dark times. Your book J&JW helped me to understand how we ended up here. Please continue with your very important work.
Thank you, Kristen, for your thoughtful and courageous voice. Stay safe!
I appreciate this perspedtive! Everyone needs to speak up and call it for what it is. Silence is complicity!
I know I should not be watching Man in the High Tower but I got sucked in as Netflix does so well. The story opens with the US having lost WW II, being ruled by The Germans in the East and Japan in the West with a neutral zone between. While I know the fictionality of it, the ethos and themes are all too resonant and eery.
Your final statement, “ Scholars who study political violence often identify a period where resistance is possible, but too often during those periods, people perceive the risks as too great and end up going quiet when it matters most.”
concerns me most.
Southlake, where my son graduated is making waves on a national scale for being a shining example of Christian Nationalism. We have had endless conversations, spoken at board meetings, supported thoughtful candidates in local elections. And so many people see no real danger in the direction we are headed, and seem to embrace a quiet righteous, we are doing God’s work. sigh.
Thank you for this reflection. I have been feeling in my body a sense of foreboding recently. I’m not one to be overly alarmist either. Given the right combination of events and rhetoric we are on the precipice of a wave of violence we haven’t seen yet.
In my own life I have broken the silence on a local level. I’m writing letters to the editor, engaging in town FB groups, supporting campaigns where I can, forming a circle of support that can weather what may come. Not “prepper” kind of stuff, but more like mutual aid, establishing who is safe, and could be relied upon if we legitimately have to start hiding people.
I can’t believe I’m even saying this out loud, but it feels real, and I don’t want to ignore the signs or stay quiet when the rhetoric points in that direction.
Kristen, I appreciate everything you write and I often read it to my husband. He asks me where you get your polling information ( he’s a lawyer who questions everything!) So, how do I answer him?