While I usually enjoy FIRST THINGS' sense of salon, the poem about John Calvin ("Visiting Geneva," February 2009) seemed cruel, forced, and needlessly provocative. I can think of a hundred ways of engaging the debate over the Reformation without playing the "Taliban" card or creating caricatures. Even within the Catholic tradition of that time, there were "double predestination" types--a broad range in the technical understanding of hot-button issues. Calvin was not, and does not deserve to be colored as, warped or freakish. He was just as much the product of his age as were the Catholics of that era. It is pointless to resort to slights and "gotcha games" or to throw stones at historical characters.
Source Citation:Nelson, Wilbur. "Provocative poetry.(Letter to the editor)." First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life 193 (May 2009): 12(1). InfoTrac Religion and Philosophy eCollection. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 16 May 2009
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