Martin Luther is my Toby Flenderson
by Katelynn Browne
Features & Lists Co-Editor
I am so tired of hearing about Martin Luther and his 95 theses. Like, look. I get it. It was revolutionary and important because of how fast it was circulated due to the advent of the printing press, the formation of Protestantism as a massive religious force, calling the Catholic Church out on its bullshit, and it allegedly being a form of proto-social media. I get it. He did some pretty revolutionary stuff. But oh my God. I get it.
Having gone to Catholic school my whole life (sixteen years and counting), I grew up learning about Martin Luther quite frequently, and that it was his fault that there are Protestants. And while I have no problem with Protestants (because why would I?) I was not a tremendous fan of Martin Luther as a child because I hate when changes such as massive Church schisms occur. But he always confused me, because he had some good ideas – like having the Church not sell indulgences, and that priests should all be educated in the same way so they don’t teach blasphemies to the uneducated German pauper. And, so when I was in high school, I thought, hey, maybe Martin Luther isn’t so bad – he was just a guy who saw a problem, wrote his opinion on that problem, and tried to spark positive change in the world. What’s so wrong with that?
But then I got to college. And turns out, Martin Luther is highly problematic. For example, he was a massive anti-Semite, which I learned in both required theology courses I took here. He wrote a book called “On the Jews and Their Lies,” in which he encourages Christians to burn the homes, synagogues and schools of Jews, and to show them no mercy. Yikes.
Aside from the Anti-Semitism, I’m tired of hearing about Martin “Problematic” Luther because somehow he seeped into my communications courses, more specifically, into my Social Media course.
This was it. This was the line. It’s one thing talking about his importance as someone who altered the Catholic Church and changed the course of Western religion in theology class and relevant historical discussions, but when Martin Luther comes up in my social media course I McFreakin’ lost it. (Martin Luther in MY social media class? It’s more often than you think.) The writer of the article we read for class argued that Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of that Church was like him posting his opinions on someone’s Facebook wall, and everyone buying pamphlets of it was like people sharing his post. Which is an interesting idea but it makes me very irrationally angry! Because I cannot! Escape! Martin Luther! Everywhere I turn he’s there! He’s like the Geico Gecko, always watching me, always waiting to slam dunk his 95 theses into my skull.
Hearing about Martin Luther has become similar to my hatred of the band Foster the People (they sang the Pumped up Kicks which is a good song and they are a good band and the reason I hate them is because when I was a freshman in high school, my friend’s grandma drove us 1hr 45mins down to New Jersey to meet our favorite author, who didn’t show up to the meet and greet because he got sick, and he was not a massively famous author or anything so there was no way for the bookstore to notify us, so we drove home, and the whole time on both trips, my friend played her Foster the People CD, and also did not talk to me that much because she was in the front seat with her grandma, leaving me alone in the backseat.)
So, I can’t listen to the Pumped Up Kicks without shuddering mildly, and soon, too will I not be able to be taught about Martin Luther without my mind yelling a soft, Michael Scott “No, God please, no. No. Noooooooo.” at the return of Toby Flenderson.