Martin Luther and The Need for Another Reformation

Jose VilsonJose6 Comments

Martin Luther Lego

Today marks the 495th anniversary of when Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Germany. It led to what we know as the Protestant Reformation and spurred bloody wars and even bloodier discussions, leaving ideas and humans lying in its aftermath. One of the things it highlighted for me when i first learned this in high school was that even amongst people who believe in one person or idea, there are so many divergent ways of believing in that end that the means is just as important.

This opens the door for the discussion about our belief systems when it comes to tons of stuff. For instance, a few posts ago, I wrote a letter to Barack Obama, stating how much I respected him as a man and father, but didn’t care much for many of his policies, primarily his views on education and the get-rich-or-go-broke-trying methods established by them under the umbrella of Race To The Top.

Many of you chimed in with comments I’ve been itching to repost, like …

I’m sticking with President Obama no matter how bad his education policies are. In fact, even in education he’s done more harm than good by saving jobs, forcing even “reformers” to accept pre-school and early ed, and saying the right things on community schools. My frustration with “reformers” as well as the President also relates to your previous posts. Because of the nonstop pressure to teach to the test, too many inner city kids can’t be exposed to a well-rounded education. I was the last teacher at my school who stood firm and still exposed the kids to Roger Wilkins and Charles Ogletree, or dare to play John Legend’s music, and I doubt they understand how their buddies, Klein, Rhee,, have leveraged their power to drive Black History, Multiculturalism, art, music, etc. out of poor schools. And the idea that a young teacher would dare to follow my example and expose the kids to Cornel West, Henry Louis Gates, much less Amir Baraka, seems impossible …

John Thompson


The Obama Adminstration’s Education Policy has been more of the same. The policies have been heavy handed, consistently supporting charter schools, and showing very little empathy for public school children and teachers. Having said that, the choices in November are between what we have and a full blown shift to the right.

We need to vote for moderates and continue to support the great innovations that are being made in public and charter schools, and work with parents, teachers and administrators to get it right

– Mark Halpert

Or, more succinctly,

I will not vote for Obama again, and sorely regret having voted for him at all. I’ve never voted against a Democrat in my life, but will begin next month when I pull the lever for Howie Hawkins of the Green Party. It’s not enough for me that the Republicans are more insane than the Democrats. For my vote, a candidate has to not only be not insane, but also someone who doesn’t take marching orders from Bill Gates, no matter how much money he has.

I refuse to vote for anyone anti-union, anti-teacher, pro-corporate nonsense ever again.

– NYC Educator

It made me think how education in the United States replicates the way Democrats and Republicans approach political alignment, and how it’s obvious that we need more than two parties. The two-party dichotomy in education doesn’t even work amongst the people whom I follow and respect in my circle, so what does that look like on a much larger scale?

Nevermind that there are way more religions than Christianity. We may need a Martin Luther to post a few tenets at the Tweed Courthouse in Brooklyn, NY. Then again, to do so may mean dire consequences for all of our belief systems as a whole. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Jose, who probably broke every rule of conversation in just one post …

Comments 6

  1. Jose, in Australia we have come to the same conclusion as you – a two party system just doesn’t translate into either courageous actions, or good policy. In our recent federal election we voted in a hung parliament, broken only by weeks of negotiations between the incumbent Labor centre- left, and Greens and independents – who now hold the balance of power. Leverage on key issues like education, climate change and immigration policy has increased, but we wait to see if the momentum will continue. Watching U.S. developments closely.

  2. Ever since I spent my Junior Year Abroad in France, I have desperately wished the U.S. had a muti-party system. Maybe it’s an illusion, but I feeel this country is polarized to a dysfunctional extent right now. But just tonight, I was talking to a colleague over dinner and we were lamenting the perception that voting for a third party is considered at best a “wasted vote” and at worst a sin only slightly better than murder. We have to find a way for more nuanced conversations to carry the day.

  3. Yeah, of course you’re right, but I can’t say it any better than Garry Wills — talk about a guy who speaks truth to power! — said it in the “questions for” feature in the Times magazine:

    “I always vote the party. It’s ridiculous not to. You may like a person who is Republican, but if you vote for that person, you’re voting for all the apparatus that comes along with it.”

    Yup. Until the viable third/fourth/twentieth parties come along, there’s that whole “elections have consequences” thing to consider.

  4. Post


    Jennifer, I must admit: having another party, whatever the consequences, makes me feel less like I’m voting for the person and more for the issues, especially if that party aligns with more of my “issues.” When I became independent, I didn’t do it because I felt it was the cool thing to do: I just got annoyed with being told that I had to vote a certain way because of this, that, or the other.

    Bill and Tim, I know in some places, especially around the Bible Belt, there’s lots of wavering in DNC vs. GOP, but in places like New York, my vote already feels wasted since the Democratic candidate wins most of the time (except for mayor, and I’m convinced those votes were bought).

  5. Jose, that’s exactly why I tend to vote for whomever the heck I want to. If an election is a foregone conclusion (more or less), why would I not vote to express support for the person with whose beliefs I actually agree? Where I get tied up in knots is where it is too close to call on the eve of Election Day and I really want a third-party candidate deep down. Do I vote my conscience and principles anyway, or do I vote for the person I consider to be best of the likely options?

    I don’t know, there has to be a way to get people to listen to each other. There just has to be.

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