I was dismayed that in the otherwise excellent pieces on Martin Luther in the Oct. 29 Outlook feature “From revelation to revolution” there was not even one reference to the flagrant anti-Semitism in some of Luther’s writings.
Among other restrictions on Jewish practice, Luther recommended in “On the Jews and Their Lies” that if Jews could not be converted, their schools and synagogues should be burned, presumably along with anyone who happened to be inside. The propagation of these anti-Semitic teachings through the publication of his writings undoubtedly confirmed and expanded such views among the populace. Some discussion, including the eventual rejection of the anti-Semitic portions by Lutherans in recent years, was certainly warranted in an overview of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Jeanie Lazerov, Highland
The essays included in the Oct. 29 Outlook feature about Martin Luther made the error of contrasting secularism with religion and ignoring spiritualism. Spiritualism is individual — the relationship between an individual and his or her god. A religion is an institution of men and women that develops unique rules and dogma to obtain the leverage of many members and their solidarity. But in the absence of healthy governance, the institution can become corrupt.
Most individuals seeking to satisfy their spiritual yearnings choose a religion, getting pleasure and satisfaction of worshiping with others with similar beliefs. And individuals will submerge their skepticism of specific dogmas to gain the satisfaction of worshiping with others. But if the dogmas become too extreme and the governance of their religious organization yields to corruption, individuals will start to leave this institution. Such departures do not mean they have adopted secularism. Their spiritualism and belief in the eternal continue.
Frank Nicolai, Fort Washington