The Sunflower: on the possibilities and limits of forgiveness is a book I won't forget, recommended to me by one of the kindest and most beautiful souls I know. This is some book. I listened to it, so I wasn't sure who all of the respondents were, but wikipedia has a nice listing of them, that was very helpful.
Simon was asked by a dying Nazi to be forgiven for the crimes he had committed, well, one specific crime, one that kept him up at night. Simon refuses to give an answer and he wonders if he did the right thing.
He asks the question, "what would you have done?" and at first, and actually, at second, I am just floored by the people who felt they could answer this question. Granted, many who did answer the question admitted that they didn't really feel like they COULD answer the question, but they tried.
It just seems to me that I don't know what I would have done if I were Simon in this horrific situation. I can say with certainty that what Simon did was the right thing. If he had chosen something different, that would have been the right thing, too. I feel like he had every right to do what he felt led to do, with no comments that I or anyone could make being fair or worthy or moral.
While I have had great respect for the Roman Church in the past, I admit I am troubled by how many Roman Catholics felt the need to vote for now President-Elect Donald Trump because he is "pro-life." While Mr. Trump may very well be anti-abortion now (he was pro-choice in the past) he is not pro-life for Muslims, African Americans, Mexicans, and those of the LGBTQ community.
Additionally, I have been very outraged by the Reichskonkordat. Of the 53 respondents, 10 said "forgive." Of those 10, half were Roman Catholics, 2 were Tibetan Buddhists, 2 Protestants and one listed no faith.
10 people were "uncertain," among them were 3 Jews, 3 Protestants (one of Jewish ethnicity), 1 Muslim, and 2 who listed no faith.
The 43 others all said to "not forgive." 19 Jews, 3 Roman Catholics, 2 Protestants and 9 who listed no faith.
So 55% of the Roman Catholics said "forgive."
33% of the Protestants said "forgive."
100% of Buddhists said "forgive."
100% of Jews said "do not forgive."
I simply can't say that I would be able to forgive. There is no way, no way that I could presume to put myself in that horrible, horrible position. All I can say is that Wiesenthal did the right thing. Not that he needs my approval, indeed, I think it is even presumptuous of me to say as much. So instead, I will just pretend that I am at least more "moral" than the Roman Catholics who suggest that Mr. Wiesenthal should have forgiven the Nazi. (Delusional, yes, but I am angry right now, and at least I know that most priests would forgive me, right?)
I had to give this 3 stars because the "forgive" responses troubled me so very much. For Wisenthal's part- a 5 all the way.
What's Going On Here?
There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.