500 Years Later, the Battle Against Authoritarianism Continues

Happy Reformation Day! 500 years ago, Martin Luther acted on conscience and unknowingly started a revolution. He questioned clerical authority, taking the first step down what turned out to be the slippery slope towards equality and self-determination.

And he did not collapse before fearsome authorities. Instead, he proclaimed, “Here I stand. I can do no other.”
Today in church, we sang his hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.” This was my favorite verse:
Though hordes of devils fill the land
all threat’ning to devour us,
we tremble not, unmoved we stand;
they cannot over-pow’r us.
Let this world’s tyrant rage;
in battle we’ll engage!
His might is doomed to fail;
God’s judgment must prevail!
One little word subdues him.
Granted Luther was no democrat himself, and he was virulently anti-Semitic. Still, his emphasis on the “priesthood of all believers” contains the seed of radical egalitarianism that started to blossom overtime — but it continues to need water.
We cannot know what the future consequences of our actions will be. But if we do what we consider right, hopefully Good will follow.

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