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What Dietrich Bonhoeffer Would Do About ISIS

Today I was at a physician’s office for a routine appointment. While awaiting his entry into the exam room, his P.A. was updating some of my medical information in the computer. At one point she advised me that I had not yet taken advantage of on-line access to my medical records and could do so by simply choosing a username and password. I asked her if doing that would allow the government to then access my records or whether the hospital had already computerized its system of record keeping and it didn’t matter whether I chose on-line access or not. Here reply shocked me. She said,” Well, we went to computerized records about 4 years ago but you don’t have to worry. I don’t think the government can access your records. They’re confidential.”

BonhoefferThis is an educated woman. She actually believes what she said. Now what I don’t know is 1) whether she is so naïve that she has some sort of blind faith in the integrity of the government or 2) whether she is so scared of the power of government that she can’t bear to think otherwise.

Regardless, I think her statement points to a widespread problem in this country which, in light of ISIS and other potential incursions into our liberty and overall continued well-being, threatens our future.

We cannot afford to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to things we find uncomfortable or unnerving. While you may not have to watch videos of beheadings to know that the people who are committing them are barbaric, it’s not enough to intellectually know it. It is only enough when you are vocal and actively opposed to an ideology that promotes such barbarism.

Silence in the face of danger is an action unto itself. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Lutheran pastor, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident said: “Not to speak is to speak. Not to stand is to stand.”


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