All posts in “Donald Trump”

“Beware of ‘America First'” – Jürgen Moltmann on Donald Trump’s America

I have just shared about Jürgen Moltmann’s letter to me, which you can read here in its entirety. But I wanted to highlight a moving aspect of that letter, namely, Moltmann’s response to my question about Donald Trump as the new president of the United States.

I wrote my letter in February, during the time when Trump was attempting to ban Muslim’s and block Syrian refugees from entering the country. This was (thankfully!) blocked and deemed unconstitutional after protests and political opposition arose all around the country. But my concerns regarding the current president have not ceased, and Moltmann’s response beautifully summarizes all of the reservations which I have felt regarding our current president. In my opinion, Donald Trump’s America is the antithesis of the best principles America was built on, exemplified clearly in the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, “The New Colossus”: “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” But it is not only as an American that I am hesitant about Trump, but also as a Christian; I can’t help but think Trump’s America follows the path of a violent empire, which is not the way of the kingdom of God.

Professor Moltmann’s profound response is deeply moving:

“I can’t say how sad I am with your new president. This is not the America I love. And beware of ‘America first’ — the ‘first will be the last’, said Jesus. Humility is the virtue of the privileged.”

Read the full letter here.

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Jürgen Moltmann’s Letter

I was honored to receive a letter today from one of my theological heroes, the great German theologian of hope herr professor Jürgen Moltmann. I wrote professor Moltmann in February, and had almost given up “hope” that I’d ever hear a response. This was before checking my mailbox today to find this greatly-anticipated letter from Germany, much to my excitement!

I wrote Moltmann primarily to thank him for his books and for the profound impact they have had on my faith and theology. Readers of my articles and books will know that I consider professor Moltmann to be one of my three favorite theologians (with Barth and Torrance). I consider him, without any hesitation, the greatest theologian alive today. His work has had a profound impact on me ever since reading his masterpiece, The Crucified God, almost four years ago. In 2014 I wrote a short (if slightly premature) book that wrestles with Moltmann’s “theodicy”, entitled Where Was God? [LINK]. I am currently preparing to research and write a more fully-fleshed book on Moltmann as a part of my “Theology in Plain English” series. I also plan to write a book on Moltmann and Samuel Beckett, one of my favorite literary authors. So it goes without saying, I am deeply grateful for the theology of Jürgen Moltmann, and I was honored to receive this personal letter!

I asked Moltmann two questions after profusely thanking him for his theological work. First, I asked about the current president of the United States, Donald Trump. Like many other Americans I am profoundly disturbed with the president; I find many of his policies to be the very antithesis of the way of Jesus Christ. It shouldn’t be a surprise to those familiar with Moltmann to learn he also responded with sadness about our president, writing, “I can’t say how sad I am with your new president.” Second, I asked Moltmann if he has any comments about Samuel Beckett, and I mentioned my interest in placing his theology into dialogue with Beckett’s literary project. To this Moltmann said he is mostly unfamiliar with Beckett, but encouraged me to pursue the project.

My thanks again to professor Moltmann for kindly responding to my letter!

Here is his response in its entirety:

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