"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 reminded of the poem after watching Fr. Robert Barron's latest commentary (see below) on prejudice in America; not so much based on race or ethnicity but on religion, specifically Catholicism.
Those of us who hold true to the values and the teachings of our faith are being meticulously and calculatedly marginalized by the same laws and lawmakers who are supposed to protect our rights to practice freely.
Now, while anti-Catholicism has been around since the infancy of our nation, Barron uses the recent egregious example of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who stated during a speech that "extremists," referring to conservatives but waving a broad stroke by including those who are "right-to-life" and "antigay" (meaning those who oppose gay marriage), "have no place in the state of New York."
The theologian contemplates the effects of Cuomo's father, Mario, who is Catholic and professed being against abortion privately but for it as a matter of public policy, on his son, who just one generation removed is now aggressively attacking and willing to oust anyone who opposes abortion and believes differently then he does (i.e. the purging of "undesirables").
In other words, the problem of religious prejudice goes much deeper than at first glance. Unless people are willing to live what they believe publicly, including speaking out when injustices occur, even when it's unpopular or not directly against them, as Niemoller pointed out, there is a troublesome danger between political rhetoric and it's degenerative consequences.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it."...