The Slippery Slope
I’m working on a new book. Behind the compelling WWII story, a sweep of romance, and its theme of the sacredness of life, is an exploration of what it means to step onto a slippery moral slope—how easy that is to do, and how hard it is to regain our footing.
No one imagined when British, American, German and scientists of other civilized countries invested heavily in eugenics research early in the 1900s that conclusions would lead to sterilization of those without rights or voice in this country, or that Hitler would birth an entire philosophy to rid the world of people he deemed “life unworthy of life.”
The astounding thing, in retrospect, is that no one seemed to believe either the scientists’ conclusions detailed in scientific journals or the ranting of Adolf Hitler. At least, many have claimed that they had no idea Hitler would do the things he did. Yet he spoke plainly—wrote his intentions in black and white in Mein Kampf years before he came to power. It’s made me realize how seriously we must take world leaders who threaten outrageous strikes against others.
When Hitler began “restoring” Germany, raising it from the “ashes of the Treaty of Versailles,” the people applauded him. After years of depression, inflation, and hopelessness, Germany was going back to work, building its military, holding its head up among the nations. But this building, the people were told, required hard decisions—decisions to suppress others and take away their rights in order to give “the people” the rights they so richly deserved. It was a slippery moral slope—not only for Hitler and the Third Reich, but for the German people.
At first that slope didn’t seem so horrific to most—at least not to those it didn’t adversely affect. But the moral compromises snowballed. One rationalized decision opened the door to another until the horrors of those compromises stole the rights of innocents, destroyed whole groups of peoples, and drew the world into a war more horrifying than anyone could have imagined. The legacy? The Holocaust.
I’ve been thinking a lot about moral compromises as I’ve researched and begun writing this book, and as we stand on the threshold of this presidential election. Psychologists are fond of saying, “Past behavior provides the best window into future behavior.” It’s one of the things I find most fascinating and most daunting about history.
As we humbly, prayerfully prepare to cast ballots November 6 it’s also time we took a good look at our country’s moral decisions and ask if they reflect the standard we as Christians hold dear—the righteousness of God as revealed through Scripture. Whatever compromises we or our leaders have made, and the slope upon which we, as individuals and as a nation stand will outlive us, reaching beyond this decade into the world and into the future. I’m thinking long and hard about the legacy I leave my children and grandchildren.
The woods swirl red and gold in snowglobe leaf showers this morning, and gray squirrels hither and yon gather their winter hoard.
Our daughter and son-in-law have come for the weekend. Tonight, we’ll mull apple cider in spices and roast hotdogs and marshmallows over an open campfire. All that’s missing is our son and his guitar. Stop by—there’s plenty for all!
Looking forward to meeting you here, next week, in the garden.
God’s blessings for you,