Religion: Better Without Principles?

Martin Niemöller began as a fighting man. After serving as a U-boat commander in World War I, he became a popular Lutheran minister at Berlin's fashionable Jesus Christus Kirche. The Nazis found him cooperative at first, but by 1937 he was arrested for his stubborn refusal to knuckle under to their church-control regulations. He was kept in concentration camp for eight years.

Politically, Pastor Niemöller has always been an ardent nationalist, in favor of a strong, united Germany. In recent months, he has been preaching a brand of religion that some Christians have found puzzling. One of his speeches, condensed in last...

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