|The Man Of The Millenium|
Too Bad He's Being Used
(photo from content.time.com)
This is weird and intellectually dishonest. Seems to me that if Luther's relentless rants about how society should be run are the basis for a civil moral code, then those who use him as their theological front man should heed the rest of his rigid rules of conduct and beliefs. Picking and choosing the ones that coincide with their attempts at running society according to their own moral precepts is just plain disingenuous. I've been going through a dog-eared old volume (# 46 to be exact, titled "The Christian In Society") of Luther's Works, published in 1967 by Fortress Press, that I read as a young man along with other volumes in that extensive and exhaustive collection.
First off, motivational giant that he was, Martin Luther nevertheless counseled his followers that their Christian duty forbade them from entering the secular fray. From page 31 of the above-referenced tome, Luther wrote in his essay "Admonition to Peace": "For no matter how right you are, it is not right for a Christian to appeal to law, or to fight, but rather to suffer wrong and endure evil; and there is no other way." Fighting payday lending may well be one of the worthier endeavors in our community these days, but I'm pretty sure Martin Luther himself would have been aghast at the effort being spurred on by the religiously self-righteous.
More troubling is the way that anti-payday lenders have seized on Luther's contempt for "usury" as a goad for South Dakota's religious leaders to join their crusade. This bizarre "call
|Luther On A Bad Day|
To Be Read, Not Followed
(photo from shop.ziowicki.com)
Are we to disdain Jews, homosexuals, payday lenders and a panoply of others (read what he has to say about Turks) because Martin Luther says so? This business of bringing Luther and his works into the payday lending debate is a transparent ploy to take the argument out of the secular realm where it belongs and into the polemical spheres of influence within our churches. I hope churchgoers can see through this attempt at using their faith as a force to create a society based on the visions of a few self-righteous busybodies who expect us to live the way they want us to.
More power to a debate on the merits and demerits of payday lending, but fie on the effort to bring the Christian community's considerable resources into the shouting match. Those piety-pushers swayed by his writings should remember that Luther understood the Christian's challenge to endure, not fight. "There is no other way," said he.