Don’t speak ill of your neighbor!

I was born, for  better or worse, with a keen sense of justice. In the immaturity of my youth not even Jesus escaped my  censoring judicial scrutiny. I  thought  that  Jesus was  not always fair, and prone to overstatements. Take the story of  Mary and Martha. Jesus entered the house of the two sisters as an honored guest. Martha runs into the kitchen to prepare the food. Mary however just sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to what her beloved master has to say. Martha comes complaining to Jesus, asking him to shoo  Mary into the kitchen where she,  without help is slaving away on his behalf.  Martha had my complete sympathy. But what did Jesus reply? “Mary has chosen the better part!” 

It took  a personal experience which made the scales fall from my eyes.  I had come back from a trip to Germany and was eager to share what I had experienced. But nobody was there to listen,  everybody being in the kitchen to prepare food for me when I wasn’t even hungry. My family tried to satisfy the wants of my body and ignored the wants of my soul.  And suddenly I understood. If  I felt my real wants ignored how much more should Jesus feel it, he who had a message to impart.

A second saying of Jesus: “Do  not speak ill of your neighbor! “  I did not misunderstand,  but I felt the punishment for ill words was harsh. Then one day, browsing through the stacks of the M. public library  I came across George Patton’s book War As I  Knew It.  Here is the momentous passage (p266-267)  which opened my eyes to the moral weight of Jesus’ command: “It was reported …that a certain number of German troops …had captured a hospital column…   The first reports, which came in at night, gave a most horrible account of atrocities, including the murder of all members of the hospital, the raping of all nurses, and the destruction of the ammunition dump. In this particular case an officer and two enlisted men were killed  in the first fighting. Thereafter, the Germans, while helping themselves to trucks and ambulances, which they used for their own transportation in no way molested the doctors, nurses, or enlisted personnel of the hospital… We rounded them up the next day... In all some eight hundred prisoners were taken and probably five hundred killed, as the soldiers were still under the impression  that atrocities had been committed.” Jesus in his infinite wisdom knew the power of words. In the beginning were the words,  and the words not only caused the death of  five hundred German soldiers, but left widows, orphans and young maidens, remaining barren because the young men had been killed. The  United States was brought into WW I against Germany with words,  words of atrocity propaganda. The Unites States again is at war brought about by words directed against  another “evil Hitler,” namely Saddam Hussein. What do I believe of Saddam Hussein?  I believe that Saddam  kept a fractious country together with an iron fist (remember Lincoln) and tried to keep within bounds the religious fervor of  the Shiah sect.

No other people had for so long  and so persistently ill words directed against them as the Germans. The predatory pack does not single out the strongest animal of a herd, but the weakest one and that is what Germany has become. What disturbs me most is that the Christian clergy is part of that pack. Is that a sign that the anti Christ is here, the great deceiver  pretending to do good,  but bringing death and  destruction.

In the book  Im Westen nichts Neues (Remarque)  three German soldiers knowing each other and how honorable they conducted themselves in battle can’t understand why the Allies  pour  buckets of atrocity  propaganda over the Germans. In the translation All Quiet on the Western Front  this passage is left out. Is that hint of a bad conscience, or   simply more lying by omission?

Accompanying my husband to a meeting in Toronto I  attended  a hearing of Ernst Zundel in front of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. The lawyer for the Jewish side, a  Mr. Rosen, grilled one of  Ernst Zundel’s  German witnesses who was in  the Hitler Youth. Mr. Rosen imputed that the witness during these years was indoctrinated with hate for the Jews. The witness replied: “No. we did not talk about Jews.” Coming back to his seat Mr. Rosen muttered under his breath: “You are a liar.”

My comment: No, the German witness  was not a liar. I and all the Germans whom I talked to after the war can tell you the same thing. Unlike the Allies  we were not inundated with atrocity propaganda against our opponents.

I dare to say it! We Germans, defeated, raped, plundered, starved  and still relentlessly maligned, especially with a transposed Holocaust, were the better Christians.