"Ignoring the protests of Bonhoeffer and other dissenting pastors, in 1933 the Lutheran Church had adopted a set of Aryan clauses. Non-Aryans and those married to non-Aryans were no longer to be ordained or offered positions in the church.Bonhoeffer immediately called for all dissenting pastors to resign and refused the parish that had been offered to him. He sent a statement to church leaders declaring that the Aryan clauses were in direct conflict with basic Christian doctrines. When he received no response, Bonhoeffer helped Martin Niemoller form the Pastors’ Emergency League, which eventually grew to 6,000 dissenting pastors and the Confessing church.
Bonhoeffer believed that at some point the church must act against the state to stop it from perpetrating evil like the state's antisemitism and the murder of the mentally and physically handicapped. "This action is permitted only when the church sees its very existence threatened by the state as defined by God. Bonhoeffer added that this condition exists if the state forces the exclusion of baptized Jews from our Christian congregations or in the prohibition of our mission to the Jews."
Such thinking ultimately led Bonhoeffer to participate in a modification of Hitler's Operation Valkyrie. This was the unsuccessful plot to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1943.
"At the end of 1943 the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the Gestapo managed to arrest several Germans involved in plotting to overthrow Adolf Hitler. This included Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Klaus Bonhoeffer, Josef Mueller and Hans Dohnanyi. Others under suspicion like Wilhelm Canaris and Hans Oster were dismissed from office in January, 1944.
Ultimately some 6,000 Germans were executed after the July plot. Bonhoeffer, then 39 years old, was among them. Because Bonhoeffer was considered a possible source of information, he was kept alive for some time after the attempt. Hitler only ordered his execution after defeat for Germany became inevitable. Bonhoeffer was hanged at the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp on April 9, 1945."Major Claus von Stauffenberg now emerged as the leader of the group opposed to Nazi rule. In 1942, he had decided to kill Adolf Hitler. He was joined in the plot by Wilhelm Canaris, Carl Goerdeler, Julius Leber, Ulrich Hassell, Hans Oster, Peter von Wartenburg, Henning von Tresckow, Friedrich Olbricht, Werner von Haeften, Fabian Schlabrendorft, Ludwig Beck and Erwin von Witzleben."
All this raises many questions for the modern church in a world still dominated by racial discrimination, violence, hatred, deception and killing. Thank God there are still those willing to join Bonhoeffer in publicly witnessing against such evils.