Letter: Luther wasn’t a populist



I’m a Carmel resident and read the (Sept. 12 Current in Carmel) article on how Trump and Martin Luther had a lot in common. This surprised me, and I consulted my cousin, who is an Anglican priest.

My cousin pointed out that (author of the book “Twin Populist Reform Warriors 500 Years Apart”) Paul Swartz’s obvious mistake is thinking of Martin Luther as a populist. Luther was in many ways profoundly conservative – with a small c – figure.

Luther lived under the protection of a German princeling Frederick lll. Luther’s first important published treatise was addressed “To The Christian Nobility of the German Nation.” This doesn’t sound very populist.

The real populists of the Protestant Reformation were people such as Thomas Muntzer, a leader of the peasants rebellion of 1524.

Luther reacted to this rebellion by writing one of his most inflammatory pamphlets “Against the Robbing and Murdering Hordes of Peasants.”

Luther loathed Muntzer and regarded him as a diabolical agent of chaos. One can’t help thinking that, if Luther were alive today, he might have felt the same way about Donald Trump.

Anya Bass, Carmel


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