Calmeyer Lawyer 1s

Hans Calmeyer Righteous Gentile 1903-1972

“Dutch Schindler”

 Lawyer for Life

Resist Evil Law


When does a righteous lawyer DISOBEY the Law?

Civilizations and societies develop extremes at the edges. Dictators and false shepherds occasionally succeed with sheer might at bringing these extremes into the center, creating and re-interpreting Law to promote immorality. Judicial Activism is one such tool. An elite then practices naked power, as happened with the Nazis, for evil ends. This may even be sanctioned by a herd of sheep who democratically vote their consent to be led by propaganda and prejudice.

Conscientious Disobedience is the one refuge of the individual in case of egregious State (legal) misconduct. But is carries dire potential consequences until such time as the wrong is righted. When ruthless power retaliates, even the saving of lives is a difficult decision for any individual fearful for himself and his family. And so happens the intimidation of an entire society.

Rev 13:4   And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

Revelation, describing intimidated capitulation to the enemy

What did Calmeyer do about the evil he saw?

In Calmeyer’s estimation, not nearly enough.

What can we do? What can YOU do?

When Calmeyer resisted (non-violently) from within, he did not capitulate to the evil, did not assume that nothing could be done in the face of an overwhelmingly strong Nazi machine. Even Jews more often simply cooperated rather than resist the force of the Nazi State in any way. They in fact in most cases wanted to believe the lies that deportations by train might take them to “better places” where they would not be as mistreated as they already were in Germany and Nazi-occupied territories. Jews had a form of the Stockholm Syndrome, by which the oppressed, in being sufficiently intimidated by the power of the government of terrorists (sometimes one and the same), cooperate purely out of giving up of any control and rewarding their captors with cooperation and even respect and admiration in return for the hope of being treated better than the worst threatened outcome.

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.              Thomas Jefferson

“The Law is an Ass”

Bumble in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist Ch. 51

A culture that uses the law to disproportionately threaten its citizens with capital punishment for a non-capital crime is practicing immorality. Intimidation, including the death penalty, has its place in deterrence, but the Nazis and other “Cultures of Death”  are prime examples of bringing death to the forefront, rather than valuing life in all its forms. Death becomes us when death is no longer considered the most extreme alternative to life, and when death is not considered remarkable by the average citizen. Especially terrorist murder of innocent lives is rightfully abhorrent, and no culture should make its practice even infinitesimally praiseworthy.

And yet, our resistance must be measured and peaceful:

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.                 

Matthew 5:39

What is it about the above “non-resistance” passage that is so alien to our normal conviction that active resistance is the right thing, courageous and necessary? What Jesus said here, a Jew and respected and even feared lecturer in synagogues and large Jewish gatherings at the time, was not an expression of capitulation to the enemy and to deceivers, it was an expression of the moral power of peaceful resistance, patience, forbearance, and even personal sacrifice, rather than reflexive retaliation. For Jesus, every conflict and crisis was a teaching moment.

Shall we say then that resistance is futile and unjustified?

A movement from violent response toward peaceful but firm example was clearly a major change of viewpoint from the Old Testament to the New, but this was because Jesus focused on spiritual and eternal values, not temporary earthly concerns. Jesus did plenty to heal and reduce suffering, but while he described himself as a “Sword” that would split the nations, that was in the Spiritual realm. Godly conduct demanded being above the violence to lead by example and righteousness, even in the midst of evil.

Another note: “turning the other cheek” actually refers to not retaliating for a backhanded slap to the right cheek by a right-handed assailant, it does not refer to a direct blow so much as it refers to an insult that should not inspire retaliation. This does not undermine the peaceful message, but it also does not undermine the fact that “justice” will will eventually be done, on earth or in heaven, leaving the issue of punishment for God rather than ourselves.

Turning the other cheek does not undermine our need to defend the defenseless. We are to resist evil in the protection of and compassion for the weak, and this goes especially against terrorism, which preys on just those people.

calmeyer painting 2