Quote of Note #107: The Human Dignity of the Other

Lancaster County (Pennsylvania) Courthouse; photo by GAC

“There was a time when we could assume that people believed in the dignity of the human person, in the sanctity of a man as a child of God. This is no longer true. Communism tells us that a man has worth only if he is a communist. Hitler told us that a man was of worth only if he was of the Aryan race. Can we say we believe that a man who does not belong to our group has an inalienable dignity that must not be violated by slanderous word or violent deed? In our best moments we know the dignity of the human person. But must we not confess that we are tempted in these days to deny the real dignity of a child of God to a man who does not belong to our group?”

John H. Leith, “When Silence is Treason” (a sermon preached in 1957) in Pilgrimage of a Presbyterian: Collected Shorter Writings. Louisville, KY: Geneva Press, 2001, page 52.


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