August 23, 2023



Today is the international commemoration that has been "Black Ribbon Day". In Europe it is referred to as a Day of Remembrance for the Victims of all Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes.

It is an important opportunity to reflect on governmental totalitarianism wherever and however is starts to show signs of creeping in. The Church in the United States has been bringing this issue to the forefront for a number of years now, insisting upon "religious freedom" that they are concerned is being chipped away at. Totalitarianism, a hallmark of Communist and fascist regimes, is by far not a thing of the past or something that only occurs in distant lands. It is something that could creep into the great democracies of the west. This is not that complicated. All it takes is for religious groups, Christians for example, to lose a sense of the importance of their faith and allow society and government authorities to dictate to them as to what is the appropriate practice of their faith. On a social level, it also can take hold by not keeping an eye open for minority groups and religions - especially when their rights are being infringed upon.

We are well aware of the horrors of Communist regimes like that of the Soviet Union and, even more so, the horrors of fascist regimes like that of the Nazi Germany. This was long ago... last century. We can not become so complacent. The lessons from such historic tragedies include the easiness of manipulating almost entire populations by limiting their access to information and by fanning their fears - real or imagined. This can be the temptation of any authority that may think it is easier to control than to convince. The results can escalate into injustices and violence that would make the heads of future generations spin in unbelief... until they too forget.

Black Ribbon Day can serve as a time to come together and pray for victims of totalitarian regimes - past and present - and to scan our own society, our own country, and discern if there may be reason to be concerned about trends and rulings that perniciously overstep into basic human rights and freedoms of faith, speech, inquiry and opinion.

We have all heard some version of the famous observation of Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller (quoted in part above) who lamented the silence of religious leaders and others who remained silent as the Holocaust unfolded during World War II. That "confessional" has been adapted to various situations over time to more effectively speak to the heart of those who may be repeating the choice to remain silent. Perhaps a version for our day might be something like....

They came for the unborn and the elderly, but I would never be involved with an abortion and I certainly wasn't old, so I didn't get involved...

They came after that group, but I remained silent, because I did not belong to that group...

Then they came for that religious congregation, but I remained silent, because I was afraid of being "cancelled" or "shamed" in the media.

Then they came for this group and I said nothing, because I didn't really know the whole story (and didn't want to) and I was afraid of losing my job...

Today they came for me, and no one said anything....

Learn more at the Black Ribbon Day website [HERE]

See the website of the Central and East European Council [HERE]

and [HERE]


The Ukrainian Canadian Congress sent out this information...

On August 23, Canada marks Black Ribbon Day, the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe.

We pause to remember the millions of innocent victims of the Nazi German and Soviet Communist regimes. We condemn the horror that these regimes inflicted upon the world. May the Memory of the Victims Be Eternal. Вічная Пам'ять.

"The evil doctrines of Nazi Germany and Soviet Communism, both of which targeted Ukraine and its people for conquest and annihilation, are being continued today by the Russian Federation which is engaged in genocidal war against Ukraine and its people," stated Alexandra Chyczij, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. "We must heed the lessons of history to ensure that the crimes of the past are not repeated by today's tyrannical dictators."

More information on Black Ribbon Day is available on the website of the Central and Eastern European Council of Canada:

CEEC - Black Ribbon Day [LINK]

Join the 2023 Black Ribbon Day Social Media Awareness Campaign!

Find out more here: [black ribbon day]

Background on Black Ribbon Day:

Established through a unanimous resolution of Canada's Parliament in 2009, Black Ribbon Day coincides with the anniversary of the signing of the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and the Communist Soviet Union.

Soon after the Pact was signed, the two regimes jointly invaded and dismembered Poland, starting World War II. Millions of men, women, and children were murdered, imprisoned, and subjected to dreadful brutality by the Nazi and Soviet regimes.

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