In the World

Peter Berger mocks religious liberals for using a phrase they didn't use

Shorter Peter Berger:

  • Sometimes when liberals make public advocacy statements, they use the phrase “speaking truth to power.” This started in the 50s and got irritating by the 70s.
  • Now some faith-based groups are opposed to military efforts against ISIS, and a while back they wrote an open letter to President Obama about it. Some of them also do other stuff that makes them obviously liberal.

  • This liberal letter acknowledges the “dire plight” of “Iraqi civilians,” but it doesn’t detail the horrors or discuss the religious affiliations of the victims. Therefore the letter is obscene.
  • This liberal letter spells out an alternative strategy of peaceful diplomacy, but without delving into the deep details of the relevant foreign policy. Therefore the letter is silly.
  • President Obama probably already agrees with these liberals. Leaders of various groups in the region in question don’t care what these liberals think. Therefore the letter is pointless.
  • The Holocaust proves that Gandhi didn’t have a clue.
  • This liberal letter doesn’t count as speaking truth to power, because Peter Berger doesn’t think its contents count as truth and no one in power is going to drop everything because the United Methodists have something to say.
  • Not that the letter actually claims to speak truth to power or uses the phrase. But seriously, wouldn’t it be ridiculous if it did?

In sum, someone who disagrees with a bunch of faith leaders think it’s ridiculous that they’re speaking out at all. Noted.

Steve Thorngate

The Century managing editor is also a church musician and songwriter.

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