A Protestant town's 'conspiracy of good' in Vichy France
The Christian Scient Monitor has posted an interesting article telling the story of the people in a small town in France. They never lost sight of the humanity of their neighbors:
'Weapons of the spirit'
Trocme gave a dissenting sermon the day after the Vichy government signed an armistice with Germany: "The duty of Christians is to resist the violence brought on their consciences, through the weapons of the spirit. We will resist whenever our adversaries demand obedience contrary to the orders of the Gospel. We will do so without fear, without pride, and without hate," he said from the pulpit.
Trocme was a pacifist from Belgium who saw first hand the horrors of World War I and "never wanted to relive the ghastly brutality and killing," says Ms. Aubin. He saw the incredible ravages, and said we can't allow this again…. He had a deep scriptural piety and a modern progressive outlook. He said don't fight the Germans, but then said don't collaborate with them."
Trocme's sermon turned Nazi theology on its head.
If the Hitler youth handbook argued that "The foundation of the National Socialist outlook on life is the perception of the unlikeness of men," Trocme and Theis rallied Chambon "like a flame to the dry wood of the Huguenot town," says Aubin, to stand up for the equality and dignity of all human beings.
The Chambon example represents both a transcendence and a concreteness that Henry and others say is often lost in many current ideas of good. The rescuers stated plainly, in interviews before they died, that the Biblical injunction to love one another implies that something is owed to one's fellow man, regardless of race or creed.