The Rev. Ron Johnson Jr. of the Indiana Pastors Alliance claimed during his April 27 Statehouse rallythat issues around the Religious Freedom Restoration Act had brought on a “Bonhoeffer moment.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor who created an underground seminary in Nazi Germany to train pastors for courageous leadership in dangerous times.
However, Bonhoeffer would not have affirmed Johnson’s statement or actions in promoting legislation to allow discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Hoosiers. Homosexuals were one of the populations persecuted under Nazi rule, and Bonhoeffer’s teaching, beliefs and eventual decision to participate in an assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler were evidence that he believed in the dignity and worth of all.
Johnson would do well to review Bonhoeffer’s writing in “The Cost of Discipleship” on judging others: “If when we judged others, our real motive was to destroy evil, we should look for evil where it is certain to be found, and that is in our own hearts. But if we are on the look-out for evil in others, our real motive is … seeking to escape punishment for our own sins by passing judgement on others ….”