Nuremberg revisited

My family and I recently watched a movie that was based on the Nuremberg trials, named “Judgement at Nuremberg.”  This particular movie followed the trials of the Nazi judges, and one in particular named, Dr. Ernst Janning (pronounced, yah-ning).  It was a very good movie, and was very captivating.  I found myself going back and forth in my judgement of the Nazi judges with every speech.   Throughout the whole movie, the defending lawyer was saying that Dr. Janning had only stayed a judge to keep things from getting worse.  That he shouldn’t be punished, because he was only doing what he was made to do.  On both sides, the speeches were so impassioned.  I was often moved to tears. But, my favorite part of the movie came in the last conversation at the end of the movie.  The American judge, named Judge Haywood, had a private conversation with Dr. Janning, in which Dr. Janning said, “Judge Haywood… the reason I asked you to come:  Those people, those millions of people… I never knew it would come to that.  You must believe it, You must believe it!”  Judge Haywood’s response was amazing.  He said, “Herr Janning, it came to that the first time you sentenced a man to death that you knew to be innocent.”

Many people wonder how people could come to do such horrible things, such as what occurred in Germany under Hitler.  But what they fail to realize is that most of those who were involved in the Holocaust didn’t start off that way.  In general, when we fall into great sin, we don’t do it in one giant leap.  It comes slowly, unassumingly at first.  It comes with the small compromises we make everyday.  We don’t even realize the full impact of those compromises, and eventually, as with the Nazis, we can become desensitized to the evil we are committing.  Before you know it, all of the little compromises, the little tiny steps, have led us to that place, the end where we fall into “great sin.”  But, in reality, there is no such thing as a “great sin.”  Each of those small compromises were just as wrong, and just as condemning.  Just as Judge Haywood said in the movie, “It came to that (the “great sin” or compromise) the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.”

We can see examples of such small compromises in all areas of life.  But, the major one that comes to mind is called the Holocaust of modern times.  It is… abortion.  But, this vastly committed sin didn’t not become legal all at once.  Before Roe v. Wade, there was another decision, or small compromise, that paved the way for the full legalization of this brutal form of murder.  In this law that was passed, abortion became legal in cases of rape and incest.  Thus, the proverbial camel’s nose came under the tent.  Many people rationalize these compromises to murder by saying that the baby is unwanted, it came about from a sin, etc.   In the cases of the life of the mother being in danger, they say that the unborn must be killed to save the mother’s life.  But, the fact is, that it is still murder of an innocent, unarmed human being.  Back in the old days, it was considered cowardly to kill someone who could not defend themselves.  Now, this same act is done in staggering numbers on a minute by minute basis.

Even a little compromise in this area is devastating.  It led to the over 50 million lives that have been snuffed out so far.  People can rationalize their compromises away however they want, but that doesn’t change the truth.  It is still murder, and it is still wrong.  Those who supported the first law being past might plead, “All those millions of children.  We didn’t know it would come to that.”  But the fact is, it came to that the first time, for any reason, an innocent baby was killed.

Here is a very good speech to watch on this subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK9_NqQGrmw

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