Says who?




I doubt we’ll be hearing any responsorial protest chants like this anywhere anytime soon…even though this commodity essential for daily living is increasingly being questioned, but definitely what we need. Right now.

Seventy-four years ago last week young human rights activist Sophie Scholl was beheaded by the Nazis for daring to stand up for objective truth in Hitler’s Germany. But she and other members of the White Rose anti-Nazi group wouldn’t have been caught dead protesting loudly in the streets like many in this country have taken to lately. They’d be caught alive…and then they’d be dead.

Criticizing the powers that be in World War II Germany was verboten. So Scholl, her brother Hans, and others secretly produced leaflets exposing the atrocities and lies of the Nazi regime and risked execution to distribute as many as possible, an act of treason eventually resulting in many of them literally losing their heads.

Sophie Scholl

Sophie Scholl

I wonder how many in today’s Protest Party would put their lives on the line for the sentiments on their placards. I would guess…hmmm…zilch. Not that I blame them. The causes they are championing…immigration privileges, absolute parental autonomy, the suppression of unpopular speech…are of a different sort than what Sophie Scholl went to the guillotine for. They’re protesting perceived wrongs according to how their conscience informs them, at least those who aren’t along just for the fun. But under the Nazis such conscientious objecting was strictly forbidden and punishable by death. The Scholls were non-violently protesting for the basic, human freedom to act according to conscience. To do what protesters today, in the United States anyway, take for granted.

But where did they get this concept of an undeniable, non-negotiable, inalienable freedom? And why did they feel justified in demanding it from a government whose policies and practices conveyed a total rejection of it?

“Every individual human being has a claim to a useful and just state, a state which secures freedom of the individual as well as the good of the whole.” – from the third of six White Rose leaflets

Says who? the Nazis might reasonably respond. Indeed. The Nazis did not recognize any authority above themselves so probably felt completely justified in denying the freedom of the individual. But if in fact they had an obligation to allow dissent, from where, or who, does this obligation come?

“Man is free, to be sure, but without the true God he is defenseless against the principle of evil.” – from the fourth leaflet

The White Rose dissenters were referencing here the necessity of God’s help in securing freedoms, but the statement is supportive as well of the necessity of God in establishing and defending the freedom in the first place. If God does not exist, if the Nazis in fact were their own ultimate authority, Sophie Scholl and the others had nothing on which to ground their demands for freedom of conscience.

Which brings me back to the Protest Party of today, many of whom would deny or at least question the existence of God. It’s fair to ask those atheists and agnostics when they loudly insist that we are obligated to do this or that…

Says who?