Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s collapse, leading to the quick implosion of Soviet-imposed Communism in Eastern Europe, climaxing with the quick Christmas Day execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his dragon lady wife by their former subjects.
Happy holidays indeed!
Other than the Ceausescus’ unplanned Noel firing squad, and the later bloody dismemberment of Yugoslavia, the collapse of the East European Marxist police states was miraculously peaceful. It was an unexpected deliverance by Providence after a half century or more of totalitarian horrors.
At that time, in 1989, I was early in my work of challenging the United Methodist missions board for supporting Marxist regimes and guerrilla movements under the aegis of Liberation Theology. IRD, whose staff I joined five years later, was formed in 1981 to challenge churches and ecumenical groups that supported totalitarian movements instead of human rights and democracy.
After the Berlin Fall, officials at the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches sheepishly admitted they should have addressed religious persecution behind the Iron Curtain. Yes, they should.
Praise God, the United Methodist missions board is a very different place from 25 years ago, now much more missions focused than radical politics focused. The National Council of Churches is barely alive and more constrained in its politics. And the World Council of Churches, which once funded guerrilla “liberation” movements, is also comparatively more temperate.
But here’s the rather cluelessly banal statement from the current WCC chief on the Berlin Wall anniversary:
The Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 did not fall all by itself but, rather, thanks to a movement of many people who demonstrated peacefully in the streets. Along with political players, they were convinced that just peace is possible. In this way, they transformed the Cold War and the rivalry among superpowers in Europe into the vision of a continent founded on reconciliation and peace, and on sharing a sustainable economic and social development.
This vision and this movement for just peace and an economy dedicated to life is today more urgent than ever—especially wherever walls, fences and deep trenches of hostility divide peoples, such as at the border between North and South Korea, in the occupied territories of Palestine or on the Island of Cyprus, in Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Hmmm, “rivalry among superpowers?” The WCC chief is Norwegian, and I wonder if he’d call the German WWII occupation of his country part of the “rivalry” between Axis and Allied powers. And is the Berlin Wall really comparable to Israel’s security fence against suicide bombers?
The United Methodist bishop in Germany, in her commemoration of the Berlin Wall’s collapse, actually compared it to the U.S. border with Mexico:
Since I worshipped at the wall that divides the USA and Mexico near San Diego a few years ago together with fellow bishops, I also pray that the American nation might overcome fear and welcome neighbors.
Maybe the German bishop doesn’t know that the U.S. accepts many more legal immigrants annually than does her own country. She and the WCC chief seem not to understand the difference between fences that imprison and fences that guard against the uninvited and dangerous. I lock my house doors every night against intruders. But if I kept anybody inside my house against their will, I’d be guilty of a felony. An important distinction.
Kumbaya church elites don’t like to make sharp moral distinctions. They prefer mindless clatter about “reconciliation.” The WCC chief even rambled on from the Berlin Wall to the fight for “climate justice.” Yes, carbon dioxide is just like Communist prisons and secret police.
The fall of the Berlin Wall was glorious not because people got to group hug but because it signaled a blessed end to one the most vicious prison empires in human history, which murdered millions across 70 years and brutalized many more, and which defined itself by rejecting God.
When recalling the Berlin Wall, we should remember the groans and shrieks of the countless millions shot in prison basements or starved or frozen to death in Siberian gulags, the many more millions who lived their whole lives in fear and unable to speak the truth, under constant surveillance by an unparalleled police state, the millions brainwashed in anti-human, anti-God propaganda, the many thousands martyred for Christian faith, the destroyed churches and war on faith, the barbed wire, machine guns, and goose stepping guards, all supported by a nuclear arsenal prepared to destroy half the earth in defense of the Marxist-Leninist nightmare.
That nightmare ended not with calamity but with a merciful whimper no thanks to prattling church elites in the West but thanks to brave millions behind the Iron Curtain who refused to believe in and surrender to lies and terror, and thanks to leaders in the West, supported by their people, who cherished liberty and human dignity over peaceful servility.
God intervened 25 years ago on behalf of suffering humanity when He tore down the Berlin Wall and the monstrous tyranny that defied Him but of course could not defeat Him.