It’s better to be ruled by a wise Turk…

Many have tried to document the Luther quote: “It’s better to be governed by wise Turk than a foolish Christian.”

The problem is that Luther never said it quite so succinctly. But Pastor Ron Marshall (Seattle WA) has found a reference that comes very close:

“The question has been properly raised whether a prince is better if he is good and imprudent or prudent yet also evil. Here [in Deuteronomy 1:13] Moses certainly demands both. Nevertheless, if one cannot have both, it is better for him to be prudent and not good than good and not prudent; for the good man would actually rule nothing but would be ruled only by others, and at that only by the worst people. Even if the prudent man harms good people, yet at the same time he governs the evil ones, which is the most necessary and suitable thing for the world, since the world is nothing else than a crowd of evil people.”

Luther’s Works 9:19; Lectures on Deuteronomy, 1525 (emphasis added).