Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Luther said he would rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian?

From The Beggars Mailbox: The Wise Turk:

"I was listening to the KFUO broadcast IssuesEtc and the host says he wished some Luther scholar would point him to where Luther is believed to say that he would rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian. Or something to that effect. I thought of you since you are such a scholar."

With all the presidential hype surrounding Mitt Romney as a Mormon candidate, I was almost certain this quote would pop up. I'm keen on not "reinventing the wheel" so to speak, so if someone else has already done some work on a subject, I'd rather simply refer to their efforts. Gene Edward Veith has posted an article entitled, Luther's "Wise Turk" Quote He Didn't Say (and this earlier post as well The Wise Turk Quote). Please read the article and the discussion. Veith  states,"Right now, the quotation, while perhaps true in what it says, seems to be phony, making me wonder what else Luther didn't say." I would agree that I've never come across anything that verifies this statement came from Luther.  The quote is certainly not from the following from Luther's treatise, An Open Letter to the Christian Nobility:
"It is said that there is no better temporal rule anywhere than among the Turks, who have neither spiritual nor temporal law, but only their Koran; and we must confess that there is no more shameful rule than among us, with our spiritual and temporal law, so that there is no estate which lives according to the light of nature, still less according to Holy Scripture."
This quote really isn't all that close, but has popped up on the Internet as the reference. Veith's entry shows that if one goes through Luther's writings about Islam, one will not find any concession that it would be better to be ruled by them rather than an incompetent Christian. Luther at one point in 1528 wrote, "But as the pope is Antichrist, so the Turk is the very devil."