During the first five weeks of this class, “Theology in the Public Square,” we’re reading Martin Luther King Jr, Dorothy Day, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Professor Culp explained to us that she had attempted to update the syllabus to include more recent public theologians, but found none of the same caliber. ETA: At the very least, these theologians still permeate public discourse.
Is this really true? And if it is, why?
I’ve been puzzling over this for three and a half weeks now, to no avail. The most satisfying answer I have come up with is that the Religious Right has taken control of the public discourse on religion. Their conversation revolves around individual morality as opposed to social change.
Or perhaps, the plurality of religious views in the country at this time is pushing us away from the use of religiously charged language in the public square.
I am curious to hear what others think: Why haven’t we seen a King or Day or Niebuhr or Heschel since the 1960s? Or have we? If so, who?