What would Bonhoeffer say?

According to Glenn Milne, Kevin Rudd’s visit to a New York strip club gives lie to "his claims to be a churchgoing family man who counts as his hero Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor martyred by Adolf Hitler." But what would Bonhoeffer say?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer took right and wrong seriously. Confronted by Nazism he took a stand that cost him his life. But he had little time for pastors who grubbed around in other people’s personal lives. In a letter he wrote from prison, he likened them to "gutter journalists":

The secrets known to a man’s valet — that is, to put it crudely, the range of his intimate life, from prayer to his sexual life — have become the hunting-ground of modern pastoral workers. In that way they resemble (though with quite different intentions) the dirtiest gutter journalists — do you remember the Wahrheit and the Glocke, which made public the most intimate details about prominent people? In the one case it’s social, financial, or political blackmail and in the other, religious blackmail. Forgive me, but I can’t put it more mildly.

From the sociological point of view this is a revolution from below, a revolt of inferiority. Just as the vulgar mind isn’t satisfied till it has seen some highly placed personage ‘in his bath’, or in other embarrassing situations, so it is here. There is a kind of evil satisfaction in knowing that everyone has his failings and weak spots (p 127).

In an article for the Monthly, Rudd described Bonhoeffer as the man he admired the most.

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19 Responses to What would Bonhoeffer say?

  1. Jacques Chester says:

    The best part of the whole affair – to me at least – is that Warren “Snow the Mo” Snowden was there too. Which is hilarious since he loves to lecture crosstown rival David Tollner on what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour for an MP re: alcohol, the status of women, plus … oh … everything else.

  2. Jacques Chester says:

    I used to work for David and Snowden pisses me off royally, so I guess this qualifies as shadenfreude.

  3. I reckon poor Kruddy probably sat there throughout trying to spy out the exits.

  4. Jacques Chester says:

    He probably spent the time mentally translating the chinese characters on people’s tatoos, if you ask me.

    I’d still like to know what Snowden was doing there. He loves to tell everyone what a great MP he is and how well he represents the NT. But you pretty much have to play Where In The World Is Warren Snowden whenever you try to look the man up.

  5. Ahh, another Phantom? We used to say that about Les Darcy (the not so illustrious member for Woodridge).

  6. Thanks Don – that’s got to be close to the ‘most apt quote of the year’ award, especially as it is from Bonhoeffer. His experiences and actions – and the price he was prepared to pay – sort of puts all this soap opera frenzy into stark contrast.

    It’s also simultaneously both reassuring and dispiriting to be reminded that that type of muckraking was around back then – human nature I suppose. (although I expect that in the era of the internet, the mud can stick more easily and more widely).

  7. Jacques Chester says:

    Muckraking has been around since at least Homer. I think we’re stuck with it for now.

  8. David Coles says:

    There will always be muckraking, always has been. It’s something to laugh at and make jokes about. But it is a mark of our collective immaturity if we ever make judgments on the basis of such information. Fine to examine character but let’s have something relevant to his possible role as Prime Minister.

  9. derrida derider says:

    Well I must say I was mightily heartened to hear this story – it seems the Kruddster might have a trace of humanity after all. I’d always picked him for a sickly-pious bloodless bureaucrat, a la Ruddock.

  10. joe2 says:

    “I reckon poor Kruddy probably sat there throughout trying to spy out the exits.”

    Which would be the opposite of most males. Their eyes would, of course, be glued to the entrys.

  11. amphibious says:

    I am dismayed by the number of people in vox pops, including women?!?, who think it is acceptable for men to go to strip clubs. Why not brothels then – the principle is the same? Sex for hire.
    How does this NOT reflect upon the bloke and his day to day relationship with the women in his life?
    I’m all for running nekkid & bonking 24/7 but consensually, twice more feeling.

  12. derrida derider says:

    amphibious, we are talking about Scores here – definitely an upmarket club. It is most unlikely that the women there are being exploited in any meaningful sense. Their working conditions (not to mention their earnings) would be a lot better than those of most factory workers.

    In fact, I’m more concerned at Rudd being duchessed by a Murdoch tabloid editor than at him straying from the path of sexual righteousness. The latter should be sorted out between himself, his wife and a frying pan.

  13. Enemy Combatant says:

    What would Bonhoeffer say?

    “If you seek smooth passage to the Chancellery, stay away from the Cabarets, Herr Rudd. Such establishments are crawling with Glocke-spielers and spys.”

  14. Niall says:

    For those who stand proudly and claim they’ve never visited a strip club, I ask how they can know that what Rudd experienced was wrong? Get a life and then experience it, instead of picking holes in someone who clearly has, from a position of ignorance.

    Yes indeedy, I’ve been to numerous clubs where women disrobe and wrap their genitalia around cold chromed poles. They’re all the same, and all boring as batshit. Why make repeat visits? Well, if you never-never go, you’ll never-never know, will you?

  15. Ken Parish says:

    While we’re in confessional mode, I admit I too have visited strip clubs in my yoof. And more than once. When I was a young tacker in my early twenties, I flatted with a couple of young NSW coppers. At one stage we had an almost weekly ritual of capping off Friday evening bong sessions by riding over to the Cross on motor bikes late at night, where their police badges guaranteed us free entry to any strip club we liked. I was glad it was free too, because it mostly was indeed boring as batshit as Niall says. You’d have to be really sad and desperate as well as very drunk or stoned to bother paying to get in (more than once anyway).

    Nevertheless, Rudd’s claim that he can’t remember anything is almost certainly bullshit, conveniently calculated to avoid having to admit that he really did try to grope the talent and was warned off. Unless you have a very serious alcoholism problem, you don’t forget what you did when drunk (even if it’s sometimes a bit fuzzy round the edges).

  16. pablo says:

    Rudd has stated that he rang his wife the following day to plead forgiveness at his folly, which suggests a certain moral vigor had been pretty active over the intervening hours. I just hope that the government’s quizzlings in Defense Signals or whatever spy telephony monitoring agency aren’t able to out Kevvy on the veracity of that call next up.

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  18. paul walter says:

    Good post. Rudd gets a mention as a sort of modern-day Bonhoeffer, but the post post is surely more about a sad dark little poison dwarf comntemporary who persecutes him. Great material here for a movie. Either “Ship of Fools” or “Cabaret”?

  19. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    Ken is incorrect.
    Nevertheless, Rudds claim that he cant remember anything is almost certainly bullshit, conveniently calculated to avoid having to admit that he really did try to grope the talent and was warned off. Unless you have a very serious alcoholism problem, you dont forget what you did when drunk (even if its sometimes a bit fuzzy round the edges).

    I can confirm it is very easy to forget anything that has happened without actually getting blotto but being drunk.

    Given the reporting we now know of they were only there for a short time and nothing happened.

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