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Dean Susan Garrett Lends Her Voice to American Values Religious Voices Series

Mar 07, 2017

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Dean Susan R. Garrett is among the participants in the “100 Days. 100 Letters” campaign organized by American Values Religious Voices. “100 Days. 100 Letters” is a national nonpartisan campaign that brings together scholars from a diverse range of religious traditions to articulate core American values that have grounded our nation in the past and should guide us forward at this time of transition.

Garrett 2For the first 100 days of the new administration, American Values Religious Voices is sending a one-page letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, cabinet secretaries and members of the House and the Senate. The letters offer insight and inspiration drawn from the collective wisdom of different faith communities and their sacred texts.

“I accepted the invitation to contribute because I agreed with the series' aim of showing the relevance of our deepest religious values and traditions to the common good of our nation and the importance of modeling constructive discourse in this difficult time,” said Garrett (pictured).

Garrett’s letter (“Letter 47”) was posted on the campaign’s website on March 7, 2017. Her letter focuses on how New Testament authors disagreed about how Christians should relate to governing authorities. For example, in Romans Paul exhorts readers to obey governing authorities (Romans 13:1), while in Acts 5:29 Peter says that we “must obey God rather than any human authority.”

Garrett states in her letter that, despite their disagreements, there were shared underlying principles:

“(The New Testament authors) all believed that the powers and principalities have a spiritual dimension that is much bigger than any individual who occupies a particular office. They all recognized that these powers sometimes serve good purposes, and sometimes evil ones. They all insisted that although Christians may respect earthly forms of power, God alone deserves their worship and ultimate submission.”

In addition to her role as seminary dean, Garrett is a professor of New Testament. She is the author of No Ordinary Angel: Celestial Spirits and Christian Claims about Jesus (Yale University Press, 2008) and has been a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Tübingen and a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology.

To read Garrett’s letter in its entirety, see http://www.valuesandvoices.com/letter47/.
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