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Category: Justice

How on earth did we let “never again” happen again?

As a student of World  War II history, I have been enamored by the question of how the Nazis rose to power. In particular, how did they manage to convince a whole nation that one group of people—simply by birth—was inferior to another? In other words, how did a political party with the most evil intentions convince a nation at the very least to look the other way when implementing the Final Solution to the Jewish Question.

In 1945, when entering the recently liberated Ohrdruf Concentration Camp and witnessing the piles of rotting corpses and the emaciated few survivors, Supreme Commander of the Allies, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, issued two orders.

German civilians burying Jewish corpses at Ohrdruf Concentration Camp.

First, he ordered members of Congress and editors of news organization to come to Ohrdruf and document the overpowering “evidence of bestiality and cruelty” of what he saw. His reason was prophetic: no one is going to believe the common practices of the Nazi concentration camp. There can be no doubt that this horror actually happened.

Secondly, he ordered his officers force German citizens of nearby towns to come and give the piles of bodies a proper burial. The citizen’s crime essentially was apathy. Now they must see and smell for themselves the stench and suffering the Reich thrust upon the Jews.

Apathy can never be an excuse.

Since the 1940s, the horror and shock of the Nazi death camps generated the phrase: never again.

“Never again” was the driving force to keep six million memories alive. “Never again” was the warning to make sure this does not happen in civilized society.

Unfortunately, “never again” is upon us.

It’s been a few weeks since a Hamas army shot rockets and invaded Israeli settlements, taking hundreds of men, women, and children hostage and slaughtering hundreds more.

The numbers of Israeli dead from this attack are staggering. It was the highest single-day death toll of Jews since the holocaust.

The stories and images are horrifying.

Israeli music festival attendees fleeing Hamas gunfire

The massacre of 260 unarmed attendees of a music festival by Hamas terrorists.

The beheading and killing of infants.

Children being ripped from their families and “stockpiled” as human shields.

A 19-year-old Israeli woman named Naama Levy, bloodied with her hands ziptied behind her, being pulled out of the back of a Jeep by her hair as her captors yelled  “Allahu Akbar,” a Muslim prayer meaning “God is great.”[1]

This whole attack seemed a clear case of good and evil. Innocent, unarmed civilians—some too young to even walk—were targeted and killed by the hundreds.

I heard a Hamas spokesman claim the attack targeted nothing but two military barracks.

Clearly that is a line of bull.

The images, corpses, and photos of missing women and children say otherwise.

This was a terrorist attack. Plain and simple.

Ah, but life today is never plain and simple.

Within hours of the slaughter, the narrative within media outlets, social media, and universities shifted to put the blame squarely on the victims. The victim became the bad guy. The aggressor the victim. The hashtag  “#support for Palestine” dominates TikTok, but that doesn’t mean much. First, there are fifteen million Jews in the world, and over 1.1 billion Muslims. Secondly, I am highly skeptical about what comes out of TikTok, given its primary audience has just enough critical thinking skills to pass on whatever TikTok algorithms tell them to.

This blaming the victim shouldn’t surprise me anymore. This insanity was foreshadowed last spring, when a trans individual shot up a Christian school in Tennessee, killing three and injuring. Within a day, the trans community became the victims, and Christians became the aggressor as though nine-year-old Christian kids had shot up a trans community.

It was bizarre enough, but with the help of the social media, that narrative got traction.

Fast-forward to the slaughter on October 7.

It started within a day of the attack and has progressively spiraled in the weeks since then. First came the obligatory statements of condemnation; however, they were closely followed with calls for a ceasefire.

This was nothing more than a rhetorical stunt. Knowing full-well Israel was going to respond gave pro-Palestinian protesters to change the narrative, making Israel the aggressor.

Since then, American Campuses and public squares filled with loud and increasing violent pro-Palestinian protests. The timing seemed a little insensitive, but we all have the right to be insensitive. If loud groups want to debate Israeli-Palestinians tensions, fine. I have just as much right to ignore them, and given their ignorance in history and lack of a moral compass, I find it not very hard to do.

However, in the weeks following, the rhetoric shifted from pro-Palestinian support to outright anti-Semitism. Every day, I witness a level of hate and violence toward Jews to come out of college campuses that would make any neo-Nazi proud.

Hitler would be smiling if his charred remains had lips.

‘Anti-Semitic’ Mob Storms Russian Airport Looking For Israelis

Stories have come out of Jewish students locked away in a university library as pro-Hamas protesters banged on the doors and windows.[2] In Sydney, Australia, pro-Palestinian protestors chanted “Gas the Jews.”[3] In Russia, pro-Palestinian protestors stormed an airport shortly after a plane from Tel Aviv landed “looking for Jews.”[4] At Cornell University, Patrick Dai was arrested for threatening to slit the throat of any male Jew, rape any female Jew, and bring an AR-15 to shoot up a kosher dining hall.[5]

Is there a limit to this hate?

Apparently not.

As I write this, I saw a headline about a Jordanian man in Texas, living illegally in the United States, “studying ways to make bombs” to target Jews.[6] I even saw that the phrase “Hitler was right” was shared over 17,000 times on social media with zero response from Big Tech.[7] (Although I can understand why: they’re extremely busy shadowing or taking down pro-Israel posts).

Tweet by a BBC Journalist

Seriously, is all of this for real? Do people realize that the Holocaust happened less than a century ago? Have we really become that stupid? What happened to “never again?”

I have reached a level of horror that the catalyst behind “never again” is currently in the headlines. How is this happening? It goes back to the question of how Hitler managed to convince an entire society that Jews needed to be eradicated?

I now know: you can find that answer in American universities today.

Most of these anti-Semites have zero tolerance for racism. Why are Jews fair game? Do these protesters have any awareness of the irony here?

Sadly, I am guessing that if they do, it doesn’t matter.

Today, good and evil has been replaced with “oppressed” and “oppressor.” Right and wrong are decided not by a moral code but by who can shout the loudest or who can dominate the narrative. An evil act is good if it is against a person or organization defined as “oppressor.”

Apparently, that bound woman getting yanked out of a jeep by her hair is the oppressor. The young hostage waiting to be executed is the enemy. It doesn’t matter if the accusation of an Israeli missile hitting a hospital and killing 500 turn out to be a Jihadi missile that malfunctioned and hit the parking lot next to the hospital. Apparently, if it weren’t for the Jew, the Jihadi missile would not have needed to be fired.

Society has got to get back to the value system of good and evil. Unfortunately, I don’t claim to have the answer how to turn that big ship around. I am thankful that wealthy donors are now openly cutting off their donations to universities and businesses are withdrawing their job offers to antisemites.

I hope it is not too little too late.

For now, Christ-followers must call out evil for what it is. No additional context or nuance is needed.

Evil must always be called evil.

If an innocent person is kidnapped, used as a human shield or slaughtered, it is evil.[8]

“Never again” must mean never again.








[8] I am aware of the “what about the innocent Palestinian” argument. I am completely aware that some might claim that I am in fact justifying Israel’s action toward a civilian population. However, were it not for Hamas’s October 7 massacre, the majority of Palestinians in Gaza support Hamas, as well as Israeli dropping fliers telling civilization to get out only to be stopped from escape by Hamas and Hamas setting up headquarters in basements of hospitals and school, I would agree. This is not Israel’s responsibility. That lies solely on Hamas.

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Why I am silent on issues of race

During this first week of June, riots and protests erupted in cities across America, sparked by the brutal death of George Floyd, an African-American man, at the hands of a cop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The video of this arrest and death was shocking, and soon after protestors across the country hit the streets, and rightly so.

Sadly, however, these protests were quickly overshadowed by violent looting, rioting, destroying property, and even death. The sadness over Floyd’s death quickly evolved into anger as I thought what is happening now is no longer about George Floyd.

Yet I said nothing.

Among the reports and photos flooding the internet, I noticed a sign held by a protestor that read: “White silence = white violence.”

I have been thinking about that sign constantly ever since.

I am white. And I have been silent. Does this mean I don’t care?

Not at all. I am as horrified as everyone else by what happened.

So why am I silent? And does my silence equal violence?

My answer is multifaceted. Let me try to explain.

As the discussion of race has evolved over the last decade, we have made everything so binary, so “either / or,” that we have lost our ability to nuance.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, my heart breaks for the Floyd family. I have seen racism in many forms. In my home state of Montana, issues of racism center mostly around Native Americans and the reservations. Like people of every color and creed, I must continually watch for racism and prejudice in my own heart.

Yet I also have real problems with what has happened since.

I have a problem with the riots burning businesses to the ground–many built and owned by blacks, destroying their livelihood. (1)

I have a problem with city officials looking the other way as communities burn, leaving citizens and business owners to fend for themselves (which, on a side note, seems to strengthen the case for gun rights).

I have a problem firefighters being blocked by protestors from doing their job.(2)

I have a problem with politicians and media pundits throwing fuel on the fire, spinning the narrative and turning Americans against one another.

On the other hand, I do support the Floyd family, as well as those who’ve suffered injuries, loss of businesses in their neighborhoods, and in some cases their lives. I also support the huge majority of police officers who are doing their best to prevent these losses. Logically speaking, I am curious why the public narrative says we must view all police officers as murderous brutes (a generalization that is not okay), but we cannot view all protesters as riotous thugs (a generalization that is also not okay).

In both cases, shouldn’t we be able to distinguish good actors from bad ones?

But mentioning such points is likely to release an apocalyptic wrath such as the world has never seen since, well, last night on (insert any media outlet here). That’s one reason I keep quiet.

Here’s another: As a white guy, if I stay silent I am labeled a racist, but if I speak out I am labeled a patronizing wannabe white savior of the black community. I have been told that I am not permitted to speak because I am white and have nothing to say because I come from a position of privilege. And because I can never truly understand, I am often told that it is best for me not to speak at all – or if I do speak, I should do so only to voice support for the only acceptable opinion (3), not to voice any inner thoughts or questions that trouble my mind.

I once heard a sermon series in which the pastor passionately challenged his listeners to have “hard conversations” about race issues. Of course I agreed. However, when we as a congregation began trying to comply in the weeks that followed, I quickly learned that those “hard conversations” went only one way. Any question or comment that strayed from the approved talking points was met with anger, labels, or demands to “check your privilege.”

So I stopped talking.

And now I am chastised with “white silence equals violence.”

In all honesty—and please understand that there is no sarcasm here and I truly speak from my heart—I have no idea how to engage, what to do, or what to say.

So what do I do? Do I mark my social media accounts with a blackout screen labeled #blackouttuesday, as was done by many on June 2? Does that help? (4) What if I believe hashtags are an empty gesture that does little good – or actually does harm, as has been said by some activist leaders themselves? (5)

Again, as a Christ-follower, I know I must confront issues of racism, both around me and inside me. Jesus is all about justice. But he is also about peace and understanding. And understanding is hindered when only one side of the conversation is allowed.

I ache inside as our nation tears itself apart. I ache for the Floyd family, for the black community, for the peaceful protestors who need to be heard, for the rioters and their victims, for police officers trying to protect people despite zero support, for politicians treating this issue like a football. My heart longs for truth and justice to win the day.

In my uncertainty, I realize that there actually is something I can do. I can pray (though saying that is even ridiculed today). I can imitate Jesus as much as possible. I can confront the evils of racism inside me and around me as I do my daily work, meet with my faith community, and go about my everyday business.

This plan is not perfect, and I know that some may harshly critique it as wrong or inadequate. But in my conundrum, I honestly don’t know what else I can possibly do.

And when the craziness of this earthly life is finally over, I will be judged. But I will be judged   not by the media, not by the pundits, not by the protestors, or guilt-inducing do-gooders but by the holy one on the throne—the one I desire to follow with all my heart.



(2) See Richmond, VA news sources (

(3) For a good analysis, see

(4) About hashtags – remember these? In 2014, the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 young girls in Nigeria. As if to illustrate the public’s fickle attention span, the hashtag “#bringbackourgirls” exploded on social media but was within a day or two replaced by “#icebucketchallenge,” a campaign to fund research for ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease). Most of Boko Haram’s victims were not directly helped much by the hashtag activism (; however, the cause of ALS was greatly helped by it ( The point is, raising awareness is not the same as actually investing time or money – though even those investments can sometimes backfire and cause harm; see such well-known books as When Helping Hurts (Corbett and Fikkert) and Toxic Charity (Lupton).

(5) See and


Discussing race with grace

th0N86DEBTWriting or talking about race relations is something I strive to avoid. Great passion and real emotion surround the topic, and I’m deathly afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, however unintentionally. I absolutely don’t want to “go there” – so I deliberately keep quiet.

This self-protective strategy of silence may cause some to think I’m apathetic or that I don’t care. That’s not true; I do care. But in my view, it’s far better to speak little and be wrongly labeled as apathetic, than to speak clumsily and somehow get wrongly labeled as racist. Because the latter charge, no matter how undeserved it may be, is a death sentence; all you have to do is throw that label at someone one time, even if it’s baseless, and it sticks for life. Their reputation never recovers.

So, to avoid the horror of possibly being misunderstood or mislabeled, my game plan has always been to stick my head in the sand.

Not the most noble response, I know.

Yet here I am, “going there” – joining the discussion.

Why am I choosing to do this now? This time I was forced into it: My church is doing a sermon series in which several different speakers are addressing the topic, and I am the facilitator for my home community’s post-sermon discussions. So sitting quietly was not an option.

Further, I knew God was pushing me into it. When I considered asking someone else to lead the discussion, I felt certain it was the wrong thing to do (after all, passive avoiding is one thing, but proactive dodging is another). So after each sermon I replayed the podcast several times, trying to hear what God might be saying through each speaker.

And it was stressful. Very stressful. “Sleepless nights” stressful.

Not because I rejected the material, but because I knew I would have to lead some tough dialogs, and I was terrified I’d mess up.

For me, the question of race relations, especially racial injustice, is a hard thing to get my mind around, like a pulsating blob of ambiguous definitions, unsolvable problems, fiery rhetoric, and equal levels of passion, pain, guilt, and shame. As I approach this scary blob and try to pull off pieces small enough to examine, honest questions arise that I have been too afraid to ask out loud.

As the sermon series has progressed, many of these questions have been raised and discussed (not debated—there is a difference!) among my home community members, and I am grateful to them for bringing grace into this overheated area. But one thing that has not come out of the discussions is a cure-all. Race relations simply cannot be solved with a simple three-point plan.

Instead, throughout the series, the only thing I have felt sure of is the need for more discussion. Real discussion. Even for an avoider like me.

Beyond that, I’ve become aware of a few helpful things to keep in mind in discussions about racial issues. If you are involved in such discussions (and I hope you are), maybe these points will help you too…

  • First, create a safe place. A one-sided discussion is no discussion at all – it’s a monologue. Everyone must commit to allow all viewpoints to be shared. Everyone must have the freedom to talk, listen, and learn without censure or shame, and even to make some mistakes. I have been fortunate enough to be able to do all of that in a close, caring home community of love and grace.
  • Second, hear each other. Listen—really listen—to each other’s stories. Hear the pain behind the passion. A friend raised this point recently, and I know she nailed it. People’s hurts and needs are too complex to reduce to simple arguments. The goal is not to win debates, but to heal hearts. The only way to do that is to step alongside and carry each other’s burdens. And the only way to do that is to hear each other.
  • Third, seek truth along with justice. To me, this is critical. If the facts of a case are in debate, then people start quibbling over those and stop listening to each other. Let’s work for justice, based on truth that has been verified. In the 1960s, the effects of segregation and Jim Crow laws were still very real in the South and Rosa Parks already had been arrested, but people far away hadn’t actually seen or experienced those events. Then images from Selma were published and televised, and everyone saw the police dogs, the water cannons, the tear gas, the beatings. It was horrible, but because the facts were documented, the truth was verified and the nation collectively agreed: “That’s not right.” And changes came. Justice must be based on truth.
  • Finally, approach the issue with a spirit of grace. In any truly honest discussion, someone will put their foot in their mouth; someone will say the wrong thing. But nothing freezes a dialog faster than a look or a word that conveys disapproval or condemnation. Under grace, everyone is free to stumble through difficult issues to a place of deeper understanding. That is the goal – but it is possible only if we love each other before, during, and after every conversation.

anti-racismI know God’s heart breaks whenever anyone suffers under the burden of injustice. And I know it breaks when his children show animosity and bigotry toward each other. (Even worse are attempts to justify such sins with Scripture!) The church should be the perfect avenue for real discussion and mutual understanding. I don’t claim to have solutions, but the graciousness of my home community has created a small circle where a few people feel less hesitant to talk. I’d like to see that circle grow, one conversation at a time.

The most important thing is how we come to the table. Our approach makes a big difference in whether people feel welcome to enter the discussion – and perhaps even to help lift the burden.

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