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Fear God Alone, a Poem by Medical Student Andrea Gerberding

I ask first- and second-year Baylor College of Medicine students who take the Healing by Killing: Medicine in the Third Reich elective to submit a final paper that has been stimulated by the content of the course. Most write essays and a few like Andrea write poems. Another uncommon aspect of her submission is that it speaks directly about religion. In poetic form she addresses the  difficult problem of suffering in the world and a nation’s disastrous choice of a false messiah to relieve the suffering. Her poem is a short cautionary tale about the choices we all make.


Fear God Alone

By Andrea Gerberding

After hardship has fallen for many a year,

The whispers for change become yells,

Some in the government may lend an ear,

But little anger or sadness it quells.

When along comes a man of unorthodox cause,

Who promises change of great scale,

Many embrace him outright without giving pause,

The opening chapter of a familiar tale.

On whose shoulders to place the suffering of masses?

Those whose religion deigns them a stranger!

They threaten the safety of worthier classes,

Their presence is surely an imminent danger.

The man proclaims he alone is the answer,

He knows how to yield a society purer,

“We will be great again! We will crush the dissenters!”

All will rejoice the might of the Führer.

His swift rise to power caught many off guard,

At least those who thought his vision absurd,

Their silence has left the country a graveyard,

In which progress and amity are now interred.

What is there to say when hate conquers all?

The precedent has surely been set,

Naïvely we pray for a quick rise and fall,

But history will never forget.

They say not to worry, he’s only one person,

What could he possibly do?

On the wrong side of history, he pushes his mission,

Life as we know it is through.

“Fear God alone” the scriptures proclaim,

Do not dare to worship a fraud,

But when one man decides who is spared versus slain,

Has he not made himself our true God?

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