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Bonhoeffer on America
Ethics by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, | 1949 | Dietrich Bonhoffer

Posted on 12/11/2011 11:31:33 PM PST by RobbyS

The American Revolution was almost contemporaneous with the French one, and politically the two were not unconnected; yet they were profoundly different in character. The American democracy is not founded upon the emancipated man bit. quite the contrary, upon the kingdom of God and the limitation of earthly powers by the sovereignty of God. It is indeed significant when, in contrast to the Declaration of the Rights of Man, American historians can say that the federal constitution was written by men who were conscious of original sin and of the wickedness of the human heart. Earthly wielders of power, and also the people, are directed into their proper bounds, in due consideration of man's innate longing for power and...that Power pertains only to God.


TOPICS: Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: americanrevolution; bonhoeffer; frenchrevolution; rightsofman; thekingdomofgod
The view of a theologian who was hanged for his involvement in the attempt to assassinate Hitler.
1 posted on 12/11/2011 11:31:38 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS
We are having problems with our government and schools and media because we do exactly as most Germans did in the face of evil.

Bonhoeffer was different. His words still ring so true today. If everyone does what he did--we could get our country back. We are the majority and we could force change at the local schools and cities. Get DOE out of our local schools, etc. It could mushroom.

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak, is to speak. Not to act, is to act.

Dietrich Bonheoffer

2 posted on 12/11/2011 11:44:39 PM PST by savagesusie
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To: RobbyS

Fantastic quote. Thanks for posting.


3 posted on 12/12/2011 12:46:56 AM PST by tanuki (O-voters: wanted Uberman, got Underdog....)
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To: RobbyS

is there a book or a web site?


4 posted on 12/12/2011 1:33:50 AM PST by fella ("As it was before Noah, so shall it be again.")
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To: RobbyS

Bonhoffer and Solzhenitsyn...prophetic words.


5 posted on 12/12/2011 2:23:34 AM PST by crghill (Silly Mormons, God is triune.)
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To: savagesusie; theKid51
"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak, is to speak. Not to act, is to act."

Worth repeating.

6 posted on 12/12/2011 2:32:02 AM PST by bmwcyle (I am ready to serve Jesus on Earth because the GOP failed again)
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To: RobbyS
and politically the two were not unconnected

So tell that to General Lafayette...or better yet tell it to the King of Prussia who locked him up for 5 years to prevent the spread of democracy beyond France.

7 posted on 12/12/2011 3:14:57 AM PST by Portcall24
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: RobbyS

Also note: prepared by the Maquis de Layfayette, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Tommy Jefferson, was in France as ambassador, and took part in writing up the Declaration of Rights of Man. The D of R of M has the following form: Right; walk back.
1. Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.
2. The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.
3. The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.
4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.
5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.
6. Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally eligible to all dignities and to all public positions and occupations, according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents.
7. No person shall be accused, arrested, or imprisoned except in the cases and according to the forms prescribed by law. Any one soliciting, transmitting, executing, or causing to be executed, any arbitrary order, shall be punished. But any citizen summoned or arrested in virtue of the law shall submit without delay, as resistance constitutes an offense.
8. The law shall provide for such punishments only as are strictly and obviously necessary, and no one shall suffer punishment except it be legally inflicted in virtue of a law passed and promulgated before the commission of the offense.
9. As all persons are held innocent until they shall have been declared guilty, if arrest shall be deemed indispensable, all harshness not essential to the securing of the prisoner’s person shall be severely repressed by law.
10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.
11. The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.
12. The security of the rights of man and of the citizen requires public military forces. These forces are, therefore, established for the good of all and not for the personal advantage of those to whom they shall be entrusted.
13. A common contribution is essential for the maintenance of the public forces and for the cost of administration. This should be equitably distributed among all the citizens in proportion to their means.
14. All the citizens have a right to decide, either personally or by their representatives, as to the necessity of the public contribution; to grant this freely; to know to what uses it is put; and to fix the proportion, the mode of assessment and of collection and the duration of the taxes.
15. Society has the right to require of every public agent an account of his administration.
16. A society in which the observance of the law is not assured, nor the separation of powers defined, has no constitution at all.
17. Property being a sacred and inviolable right, no one can be deprived of it, unless legally established public necessity evidently demands it, under the condition of a just and prior indemnity.


9 posted on 12/12/2011 3:33:30 AM PST by donmeaker (e is trancendental)
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To: RobbyS

Thanks for this RobbyS. D. Bonhoeffer is one of my favourites. And so spot on as he draws this comparison.


10 posted on 12/12/2011 5:36:31 AM PST by grame (May you know more of the love of God Almighty this day!)
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To: fella

Book.


11 posted on 12/12/2011 10:39:22 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: donmeaker
Indeed, you miss the point. The French Declaration is based on reason, as its ultimate principle. The American one, on the sovereignty of God. No small irony that Lafayette was driven into exile, and Jefferson's friends the Girondins, went to the Guillotine.
12 posted on 12/12/2011 10:50:14 PM PST by RobbyS
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To: RobbyS

To me the irony was that Louis Capet, as king, improved the design of the Guillotine (the original had a curved blade, Louis suggested the diagonal edge.)

The other irony was Tommy Jefferson was a slave holder.

I didn’t see any marks in the Constitution asserting the sovereignty of G-d.


13 posted on 12/16/2011 12:13:14 AM PST by donmeaker (e is trancendental)
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To: donmeaker

Try the Declaration of Independence or many of the state constitutions. As to the style of the Constitution, two points: 1) Gouverneur Morris belonged to a generation more secular than the previous two , or of the one succeeding his; if it has been composed after the horrors of the French Revolution, it probably would have tipped a hat to the Deity. 2) The Federal Government being proposed was NOT a national government, but one of modest powers subordinate to the people but controlled by the States. Thus it is the anti-English Constitution: No king, no Church, no Lords. No pretense that anyone ruled by divine right. But as Christopher Dawson, the Catholic historian, once wrote, John Wesley can be counted as a founder of the American Republic. No class of professionals except the physicians was more completely whig than the evangelical clergy. The lawyers as usual were divided right down the middle. The journalists were radical, but not professional. They were the bloggers of the day.


14 posted on 12/16/2011 7:43:51 AM PST by RobbyS
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To: donmeaker; RobbyS

I think that the general differences between the English/Scottish Enlightenment and the French Enlightenment are often missed and those differences are the issue, not the just the documents produced by either era.

My favorite explanation is Hayek’s from Chapter Four of the Constitution of Liberty. If you are interested, see this old thread:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/836099/posts


15 posted on 12/16/2011 9:05:44 AM PST by KC Burke
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To: KC Burke

And I think there tends to be too much attention paid to Americans who like Jefferson were more attuned to the opinions of old world liberals and too little to men like Henry who were closer to popular opinion. Madison and Jefferson were sympathetic to the New Light clergy and the unlicensed preachers of western Virginia, but Henry was their actual champion. And if New England was solidly opposed to the Quebec Act, it had little to do with general objections to royal authority and almost everything to do with its grant of religious liberty to the French Catholics, with whom the New Englanders had been at war for generations.


16 posted on 12/16/2011 9:21:13 AM PST by RobbyS
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To: KC Burke

And I think there tends to be too much attention paid to Americans who like Jefferson were more attuned to the opinions of old world liberals and too little to men like Henry who were closer to popular opinion. Madison and Jefferson were sympathetic to the New Light clergy and the unlicensed preachers of western Virginia, but Henry was their actual champion. And if New England was solidly opposed to the Quebec Act, it had little to do with general objections to royal authority and almost everything to do with its grant of religious liberty to the French Catholics, with whom the New Englanders had been at war for generations.


17 posted on 12/16/2011 9:21:30 AM PST by RobbyS
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