Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What a sad day...

Mollie Ziegler put it well with the attention given to Michelle Bachman:  Are you now or have you ever been a Lutheran?  Others wonder about the Mormon Moment of folks like Mitt Romney and John Huntsman and whether or not Americans can vote for a Latter Day Saint.  You surely have not forgotten President Obama twisting in the wind while his home church and preacher spent unwanted time in the news headlines until he finally distanced himself from it all.  Pawlenty was Roman Catholic, might have been a Lutheran for a time, and now is comfortably a member of a premier evangelical congregation (Wooddale Church) whose pastor is a darling of left and right.  Gingrich came from Lutheran roots, went Southern Baptist, and more recently became Roman Catholic (in the midst of marriages coming and going).  Ron Paul was raised Lutheran and his brother is a Lutheran Pastor but he left a long time ago.  I could go on, but I won't... it seems the one common thread here maybe if you are Lutheran, you gotta change religions or give up seeking to be President?!?

My point is this.  It seems we want our Presidential candidates to distance themselves from their religious faith, to be religious but not very pious, to have values but not values shaped by their faith, and to govern without being influenced by that faith or those values...  It all started with JFK and the fear that Pope John XXIII would pull the strings on his puppet in Washington (having admired him for some time, would it have been so bad to have John XXIII influence the morals and values of the White House?).  This is in stark contrast to the Presidents of previous eras who spoke out loud their faith and whose political speech was clearly informed and shaped by that faith (though this did not automatically make their great Presidents).

I am so confused by all of this.  I know Luther is supposed to have said better a pagan magistrate or political leader than a Christian who is a scoundrel, but... would it not be better if our political leaders WERE influenced by their faith and values?  Don't we want the folks who lead us to be people of conviction and faith, morals and values?  If we don't like their faith and values or how these influence their governing, we can always unelect them, right?  It is as if we want our political leaders to have faith that helps them as people but does not affect how they govern or make decisions.  Is anyone else offended by the shallowness of such faith?

I do not have any particular take on the current candidates and I am not grinding a political axe here except to suggest that we are somewhat duplicitous to suggest that our leaders be religious but not too religious, have faith but not let that faith affect their judgment or decisions, or have values but not to replace the values we have as informed by the latest poll on important matters... It just does not sound right.  Sadly, our political leaders will give us what we ask of them -- they will be as shallow and rudderless as we often are as a nation, with a great history but clearly uncomfortable with much of that history...

I am sure you will be hearing much more about this.... the political season has barely begun and we have a couple of long years to go before we get a brief respite... at least with respect to a Presidential contest.


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

While you can lie to different political groups and promise them different things, and no one thinks anything of it -- if you make religious statements to opposing groups and they hear about it, they will tear your head off. Therefore, your religion must be simple, bland, and moralistic.

Historically that hadn't flown well in Lutheran Circles.

Anonymous said...

America needs Presidents who have
strong moral character and integrity.
They need a value system of high
ethical behavior they will not

A "Christian" President can be a
disgrace when his moral behavior is
sinful. Bill Clinton, John Kennedy,
Franklin Roosevelt all had sexual
affairs while president. Quaker
Richard Nixon had Watergate.

Anonymous said...

You would hope that a "Christian"
President would not be a shallow
veneer of a real person committed
to Christ. Jimmy Carter seemed to
be a committed Christian but had no
aptitude for our nation's highest
office. Ronald Reagan and George W.
Bush were strong Christians but were
vilified by the liberal media as
inept. There will always be a media
persecution of Christians in all
walks of life.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't bother me so much about their "faith" if politicians could just learn to keep it in their pants. A lot of politicians seek more power than they should have, which leads them down these lewd paths. I personally hate politics.

scredsoxfan2 said...

Amen pastor...

Though we should all recognize the danger of great power and the increased responsibility that comes with it...

Archbishop Chaput has a great book on this topic called Render Unto Caesar.

God Bless

Anonymous said...

While I understand that one should be faithful to their own confession (i.e. it is just weird to have people switching religions all the time, especially for political gain; that gets no respect from me), how does the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms play here? At what point do laws become laws because of the sound Christian judgment of a leader or the over-reaching actions of the Church? Is the point simply that the leader is an individual, whilst the Church is the "communion of saints?"

Anonymous said...

I think I understand perfectly well why Bachmann left the WELS. If you live any place other than a small town in Wisconsin or Minnesota, and are a member of the WELS, you mark yourself as a narrow, intolerant, unchristian, sort of person. I know this from having lived among these people, and I left because of it. They are an utterly closed society.

Terry Maher said...

The thing is, our political leaders ARE influenced by their faith and values. The problem is, their faith and values are not ours. Or even those of their professed denominations -- another example, Pelosi, Kerry, the Kennedys, RCs all yet hardly exemplars of the RC faith.

In Bachmann's case I'd be more concerned about her Willow Creek mentored megachurch present affiliation than her WELS past.