"West and Union are perfect for each other. But their reunion is a sad footnote to once predominant Mainline Protestantism." -- Mark Tooley, IRD President
Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell, jwalton@TheIRD.org
WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Deemed radical by his critics and dynamic by admirers, Professor Cornel West, whose work melds socialism and Christianity, is leaving Princeton University for New York's Union Seminary, once one of America's most prestigious seminaries.
Union's former illustrious teachers include Reinhold Neibuhr and Harry Emerson Fosdick. Famed anti-Nazi pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was once a student at the school, though critical of its liberal theology even in the 1930s. Union adopted liberal theology over 100 years ago.
IRD President Mark Tooley responded:
"Once cutting edge, Union Seminary now incarnates the failures of declining liberal Protestantism and has struggled financially in recent years.
"Having recently suggested America's battle over federal debt and entitlement programs may be settled 'in the streets,' West almost certainly will enliven and further radicalize Union Seminary, which has proudly served as a chaplaincy to Occupy Wall Street.
"Union Seminary's trek from Reinhold Neibuhr, architect of 'Christian realism,' to leftist Cornel West dramatically illustrates the school's and Mainline Protestantism's collapse from mainstream liberalism to counter culture marginalism.
"Almost certainly West routinely will issue forth brilliantly absurd extremist commentary about public events, gaining more attention for Union. But this attention will broadcast how inconsequential most liberal Protestantism has become to most American church goers.
"Himself a regular speaker to motley Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, West and Union are perfect for each other. But their reunion (West previously taught there 25 years ago), is a sad footnote to once predominant Mainline Protestantism."
The Institute on Religion & Democracy works to reaffirm the church's biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.