The Bruderhof and the State

September 24, 2020 by

The Bruderhof and the State

Questions of justice should matter deeply to all people of faith. But why do we so easily imagine that party politics are the answer? Join Plough Quarterly Magazine’s online panel discussion with Shadi Hamid, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution; New York Times columnist Ross Douthat; Jacqueline Rivers, executive director of the Seymour Institute; and John Huleatt, General Counsel of the Bruderhof. Plough’s editor-in-chief, Peter Mommsen, moderated the discussion, based on Plough Quarterly’s Spring issue, Faith and Politicsan online and print foray into the bigger questions we need to ask ourselves in a contentious election year. Watch the full event on YouTube.

Did you know? Plough Quarterly Magazine and Plough Publishing House are the publishing arm of the Bruderhof Communities. In the following article, first printed in our March 2020 issue of Plough Quarterly, Bruderhof General Counsel John Huleatt explains our beliefs in regard to politics: what civic functions our members take part in, what are matters of considered disagreement and what are non-negotiables, what our stand has cost us under various political regimes, and how this stance relies on the Biblical tenets that underpin our entire way of life.

The Bruderhof and the State

John Huleatt

As the Bruderhof marks its hundredth year, a lawyer who is a member reflects on how a Christian community interacts with government.

November 1933, Hesse, Germany. The Bruderhof, a community of about 125 men, women, and children recently established on a farm in the Rhön Mountains, had just learned of a new mandate from the National Socialist government: all citizens must vote in a referendum to demonstrate approval of the regime. The Bruderhof was warned by government officials that nonparticipation could mean imprisonment in one of the “concentration camps” the ten-month-old Reich had established for its enemies.

The ballot asked, “Do you … approve the policy of your Reich government, and are you ready to affirm and solemnly pledge yourself to this policy as the expression of your own conviction and will?” After prayer and discussion, members decided that instead of checking yes or no, they would each write out a statement…

This article first appeared in Plough Quarterly. Read the full article here


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