“The Church before the Jewish Question”
In the first half of 1933, Bonhoeffer criticized Nazi Gleichschaltung time and again in lectures and sermons and on the radio. He responded to the “Aryan Paragraph” of April 7, 1933 immediately with his essay “Die Kirche vor der Judenfrage” (The Church before the Jewish Question), which was printed in June.
In it, he not only rejected the application of the anti-Semitic legislation to the church’s own members of Jewish descent but also additionally demanded the church’s general solidarity with the victims of the state’s power. He saw – in spite of any duty to obey the state – three successive options for action: First, the church must clearly question the state about the lawfulness of its; second, it must be aware of its obligation to aid the victims; and third, in the extreme case, be it must be prepared not only to bind up the victims under the wheel but also to jam the spokes of the wheel itself.
Yet, he was convinced at this time that the necessity of immediate political action by the church at any given time has to be decided by a ‘Protestant council’ and can therefore never be formulated casuistically beforehand. Bonhoeffer repeated his reference to a council several times.
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