“Speak truth to power.” The phrase resonates with the biblical prophets and the courage it takes to challenge those preoccupied with maintaining their power at the expense of truth. The phrase rings true in Robert Mugabe’s rule over Zimbabwe, or in the stonewalling silence of a church in the wake of a sexual abuse crisis.Yet in American culture, and especially in mainline Protestantism, the phrase has become hackneyed. Pastors invoke the phrase in sermons; seminary professors use it in classroom lectures; groups organize around it. One person even suggested that the phrase is the very heart of the pastoral vocation. Is it really?
Trained in satire: Comedian Al Franken intends to be taken seriously as a Democratic candidate for the Senate in Minnesota. "A satirist looks at a situation and sees the inconsistencies and hypocrisies, and he cuts through the baloney and gets to the truth," he says to those skeptical about his candidacy. "I think that's pretty good training for the Senate, don't you?" (Atlantic, May).