How Would Bonhoeffer Vote?

We know he told his friend Hans Hildebrandt that only the Catholic Center Party had half a chance of defeating Hitler. While there is no easy parallel to U.S. politics, the core convictions of the Zentrum do not seem to lend themselves to the GOP.

The Catholic Center Party adhered to a strict separation of church and state, to belief in strong government and the welfare state, and to the facilitation of nonpartisan policy.

The Catholic Center attracted aristocrats, priests, bourgeoisie, peasants, and workers. While its membership was majority Catholic, the party remained interconfessional and committed to the democratic ideals of the Weimar Constitution. When the Nazis came into power the Zentrum was forced to dissolve itself as one of the last bürgerliche parties, not, alas before signing the Enabling Act and thus proving Bonhoeffer’s argument against Hildebrandt to have been naïve.

The Project on Lived Theology at the University of Virginia is a research initiative, whose mission is to study the social consequences of theological ideas for the sake of a more just and compassionate world.