Pastor Martin Niemoller, a former submarine captain, refused to capitulate to the Nazis.
Pastor Martin Niemoller, a former submarine captain, refused to capitulate to the Nazis. (Pixabay/tpsdave)

The time is fast approaching when the church will need to remember the lesson of German pastor Martin Niemoller.

Pastor Niemoller was a man of great courage. He had been a submarine captain before he entered the ministry. As a minister, he spoke out against the atrocities of the Nazi regime. On March 2, 1938, he was sent to prison, where he stayed for the duration of the war because of his Christian beliefs.

Nevertheless, this Christian hero apologized for his delay in opposing the Nazis. Here is what he said:

"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

"Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me."

You may think Nazi Germany is far removed from today's America, but you should think again. There are forces in America that no longer believe in individual liberty and democracy. Our freedoms are being diminished day by day, and most Christians remain silent.

When the courts in California overruled the democratic vote against gay marriage, there was little outcry. When the government sabotaged the Defense of Marriage Act, few noticed. When Christians were fined for refusing to participate in gay marriage ceremonies, we were told we were bigots. After the Supreme Court forced gay marriage on the nation, hundreds of florists and bakers have been attacked because of their beliefs. Now the "progressives" want our daughters to be forced to shower with confused boys. We are getting perilously close to the old Soviet communist concept of religious "freedom," where you could have religious beliefs so long as you said nothing and did not act according to your faith.  

Freedom of speech has been under attack in the cause of "politically correct" speech. University students, who used to demonstrate for free speech, new demand censorship on college campuses. In the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, so adamantly opposed by the "progressives," the government actually argued that they had the right to censor books and movies. Must we wait until they are burning books to arouse from our slumber?

Under the guise of fighting crime, the government has passed thousands of laws which entrap innocent Americans every day. People have gone to jail for getting lost in a snowstorm on federal lands or failing to follow packaging regulations of foreign countries. The government can seize your money without proving anything, and you have to hire a lawyer to get it back, except you can't pay a lawyer because the government took your money. You can become a criminal even if you have no criminal intent, and the "progressives" fiercely resist any attempt to bring this elementary human right back into our legal system.

You may not have much sympathy for a business man who can't defend himself because the government took his money. You may not agree with Catholics who are persecuted for their opposition to birth control. And the airways and internet are full of obnoxious political speech.

Just remember: If you are cheering for the government as it moves against others, you are only bringing the day of destruction closer to yourself.

Stand up for freedom before there is no one left when they come for you.

Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God, and the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage, and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.

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