I appreciated Jacob Lupfer’s article on Harry Emerson Fosdick’s 1922 sermon, “Shall the fundamentalists win?” (“100 years on, Fosdick’s question still echoes,” June 17). The subtitle, though, gave me Christological whiplash. Does Lupfer equate “winning” with increased political power? Is that how Fosdick framed the contest in his sermon?
I don’t think either fundamentalists or progressives are really interested in basing their arguments on Scripture or on the Christ within the text. They’re both more worried about whether their ideological frame is powerful in winning elections and shaping policy.
Maybe we can at least agree it’s important that Christians strive to influence society’s political norms or ideologies to reflect the spirit of Christ — which is what I think Fosdick was really talking about.
I don’t think today’s progressives can blame large family size and large donations from Republican kingmakers (as Lupfer suggests) for the political heft evangelicals wield.
I do think the progressive movement’s — and particularly progressive Mennonites’ — abandonment of rural communities and rural issues has left them ineffective at shaping the faith-based understandings of the electorate and political party platforms today. But I still don’t think it means anyone’s won or lost.
If we’re even thinking in terms of winning and losing, it likely means we have missed the most critical aspects of the Christological narrative and of the passion of Christ — on both sides of the conservative/liberal divide.
Roy Brubaker, East Waterford, Pa.