Neutrality, Danger of

Neutrality, Danger of

by Rubel Shelly

Published in LoveLines (Mar. 5, 1997)

Some Issues Will Not Bear Neutrality

A word that some have thought respectable is being revealed in the public press for what it really is. It is a disreputable, vile, and loathsome term. The word is neutrality.

"He who is not with me is against me," said Jesus, "and he who does not gather with me scatters" (Matt.12:30).

The truth of this apparently harsh statement from my Lord is being illustrated in what we are just now learning about Swiss "neutrality" during World War II. We know, for example, that Switzerlandís bankers were bragging of their neutrality even as they were taking hundreds of millions of dollars in stolen gold and laundering it for the Nazis.

Swiss neutrality in 1938 meant turning down a request from the United States in 1938 to host an international conference on the desperate plight of Jews in Europe.

The Swiss government itself collaborated with the German authorities to restrict Jewish immigration. That decision led, in turn, to a despicable proposal by the chief Swiss police official that the Nazis stamp a red J (for Jude) on the passports of all "non-Aryans" whom they wished to expel from their country.

While the country boasts of admitting some 28,000 Jews ó charging the Swiss Jewish community and other groups a head tax for their upkeep ó it is undeniably true that it turned away 30,000 Jews, many of whom were headed directly to the Gestapo.

Honorable people cannot be neutral about places like Auschwitz and the secrets of its gas chambers. Yet it was that nationís vaunted neutrality that caused Red Cross inspectors, headquartered in Switzerland, to turn their heads from the atrocities being carried out in Hitlerís concentration camps.

To declare oneís "neutrality" in the face of hatred and racism, greed and steeling, violence and murder is more correctly to declare oneís cowardice, degeneracy, and moral bankruptcy. And that is not meant as an indictment against a Swiss official in 1943 as opposed to a detached and passive Christian who is confronted with such things at his workplace, in her school, or in their church.

There are ultimately two great kingdoms. There is light or darkness, right or wrong, the Kingdom of God or the Empire of Satan. Every person belongs to one or the other. To attempt to be neutral is to choose darkness, wrong, and Satan.

You can respond to "Chocolate or strawberry ice cream?" with an "I donít care" or "It makes no difference." But you canít be so blasť about anything that really matters. Your husband or your neighbor? The truth or a lie? Protect or harm? Care or ignore? Christ or Satan? Heaven or hell?

Some issues are so important that neutrality is simply not an option.

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