The voice of theologians in the public sphere has never been more needed than now. Why? Because people forget. And my greatest fear at this moment is not that Trump will be in office soon; that’s the new reality, like it or not.
Rather, I fear that too quickly those opposed to Trump will forget why they opposed him so vehemently, why he as a person drew their ire. The church in its various forms can do what it deems necessary and according to scripture to keep people awake, either retreat silently or shout at the top of its lungs. But alas, much of the church has shown itself to be congenial to no less than a demagogue.
But theologians, whatever their religious tradition or none at all, have the power and responsibility to articulate forceful and cogent arguments for sanity, for reason, for caution, indeed, for revolution.
One of the darkest hours in recent history was the capitulation of German theologians and pastors during the Third Reich. Despite initial reticence by some, too many were eventually drawn into the cords of Hitler’s nexus and contributed to his political propaganda machine.
The power of the written word must be wielded by those most capable of exploiting its power for good in the service of peace and against the tyrants and demagogues of this world. They will continue to come and we must continue to write.
Theologians are uniquely poised to answer this call. Indeed, we are compelled to do no less, if we truly believe that the scriptures we study are what they claim to be.