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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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If it weren't difficult, I wouldn't write you

To the president-elect: Choose between Machiavelli and Isaiah

Mr. President-elect:

We welcome you to our house, the white one, and to the most capital position citizens can offer a citizen. Yes, lead us. And yes, let there be change.

But I beg change at the root. Political attitudes and practices in our nation—and the principles by which our governors govern us—have become more than a little Machiavellian. Please, sir: Reject the counsels of that 16th-century Italian statesman. Honor, rather, the counsel of an Israelite who called kings and presidents to account, the prophet Isaiah.

A letter and a fountain penIn his private life, Niccolo Machiavelli wasn’t Machiavellian. Good and upright, he remained loyal to Florence even when the city forced him from power to poverty, loving her “more than my own soul.” Let no one blame the man’s more intimate behaviors: an affectionate father of five, generous, ardent, dying in the arms of the church.


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September issue

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