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Letter to the Editor

Clergy, speak up

To the editor: In southeastern Pennsylvania lies a rural hamlet known as Schoeneck. Legend relates that years ago an itinerant German shoe peddler paused here to sample one of their fine cigars and exclaimed, “What a beautiful corner!” Thus, they took the town name, translated “auf Deutsch.” Last Memorial Day, the rustic residents of this area honored my dad, a surviving veteran of World War II, by seating him in a chauffeur-driven, red convertible Mercedes and including him as the main attraction in their holiday parade. A real hero!

In the war in which my father’s generation fought, there was no confusion about who the enemy was. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Wehrmacht, allied with the ruthless Japanese Empire, and their ambitions to conquer the entire civilized world, simply had to be stopped. Today, things are not quite so clear.

Often, history revisionists claim that, in the years preceding the war, the church in Germany failed to adequately address Hitler’s rise to power or to speak out against the horrible atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis. Actually, at least 80 German clergy and theologians, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, did indeed vigorously protest the growing scourge of evil and even plotted to assassinate “der Fuhrer.” Unfortunately, Hitler dealt with them just as he handled anyone who got in his way, either by execution or by exile in one of his notorious “work camps.”

As citizens of these United States, our spiritual leaders are guaranteed the rights of free speech and the freedom of the press by the First Amendment to the Constitution. However, especially during the previous Democratic administration of President Barack Obama, our church pastors and elders were reluctant to voice their opinions in the public forums in fear that the IRS would revoke their tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization. Today, I sincerely doubt that President Donald Trump would ever allow any federal agency to threaten, harass, intimidate or blackmail any free citizen.

These are trying times. Many momentous and often contentious issues face the people of Alaska and our nation. We desperately need to hear from anointed men of God, to expound upon and exegete the Lord’s divine will, as revealed in the Holy Bible. Let them not be afraid to give us the valuable benefits of their discriminating discernment, theological training and considered convictions. Shepherds, do not neglect your flocks.

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