As of 1 June 2018, the symbol of the cross has to be shown in all state offices of Bavaria in Germany. In order to chart the churches’ reaction, I return to a conversation that Robert N. Bellah and Martin E. Marty had during the 1960s and the 1970s. Drawing on the core concepts of this conversation, I analyze and assess today’s cross controversy as a case of what I call the ‘populist predicament’. I argue that Marty’s programme of public theology provides a path out of the populist predicament because it combines the celebration and the critique of identity. Ultimately, I advocate for a pluralist position of public theology in the post-migrant context.
- public theology