The Rev. Martin Niemoeller, a respected German Lutheran pastor during World War II, offered this poignant confession:
“In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.”
The lesson is clear. We dare not remain silent when anyone is treated unfairly. If the freedom or justice of any person is compromised, the freedom and justice of all are at risk. Our futures are inextricably interwoven.
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)