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.
I was teaching ethics with the MCYM students this week, and as I do every year I facilitated a discussion on the ethics of “they came for the Jews”. I was discussing social responsibility and why we do this. I had always thought the writing encouraged doing the right thing, the ethics of duty (deontological). One of the students suggested that perhaps it reflected the values and motives of consequences, that someone was only doing it because you had to look after others, otherwise there would be no one to look out for you when you were oppressed.
I have blogged several times on motives, and the difficulty of sometimes discerning why or why we don’t do things. Without wanting to sound too pragmatic perhaps honest Christianity, is about fulfilling our social responsibilities and refining our motives along the way.