Thursday, September 22, 2011

A shame too great to be ignored...

Touchstone's Mere Comments has a great piece on the relationship of faith and voting.  I reproduced it here:

The Orthodox Rabbis & the Shame of a Legislator

Robert P. George wrote last week at the Mirror of Justice about the New York congressional race won by a Republican. A factor, he says, was a statement made to Jewish voters by Orthodox rabbis:
In the run up to the election, a group of Orthodox rabbis, most from Brooklyn, but including others, notably Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky and Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, two nationally prominent Orthodox Jewish authorities, published a letter stating that "it is forbidden to fund, support, or vote for David Weprin."  The reason?  As a member of the New York state legislature, Weprin, despite his Orthodox Jewish beliefs, voted to redefine marriage to include same-sex partnerships.  This, the rabbonim declared, was chillul Hashem---a desecration, or bringing of shame, on God's name. The rabbis went on to say that "Weprin's claim that he is Orthodox makes the chillul Hashem even greater."
A commentator for Catholic Citizens of Illinois writes about this, and notes:
So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century.
We are constantly faced with the media disdain for Roman Catholic politicians who vote with their faith and conscience against such issues as abortion and gay marriage.  It seems that the only Roman Catholic the media likes is one who votes against his religion and therefore proves his integrity by showing what he confesses before the Lord can be ignored for political expediency and the higher purpose of electoral gain.  Now we have an instance in which Orthodox Jews find their voice in the face of one of their own who voted against his religion and faith and is called out on it by his teachers.  This led to the surprising defeat of a Democrat and the election of a Republican to succeed the rather flamboyant Congressman Anthony Wiener.  If there were more Lutherans in public life, we might find ourselves speaking of them in the same vein -- but then Michele Bachmann left her Wisconsin Synod Lutheran home rather than own up to what her church taught!

I respect those whose conscience, faith, and voting record are consistent -- even when I disagree vehemently with them.  It is for me the measure of integrity when the markers of deeply held belief, moral authority, and political choice fall in the same line -- especially when they extract some cost from the individual politician.  I disagree with the media.  Those who say they believe one thing and vote another way are not heroic or noble but cowardly and weak.  We need people of conviction and integrity and not more folks who turn whichever way the wind is blowing.

1 comment:

Carl Vehse said...

"If there were more Lutherans in public life, we might find ourselves speaking of them in the same vein"

According to the Jan. 26, 2011, Reporter article, “112th Congress includes six LCMS Lutherans,” there are six LCMS Lutherans, all in the GOP:

1. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.),
2. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.),
3. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.)
4. John Shimkus (R-Ill.).
5. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.)
6. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)

There are no LCMS Lutheran members in the U.S. Senate. Four of them were featured in an article in the September 2009 Lutheran Witness. The last two were elected to Congress in Nov. 2010. There has also been information in Missouri Synod publications and websites about an astronaut, an NFL athlete, a Miss America, and a jazz music star who happen to be members of LCMS churches.

The GOP governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, is also a Missouri Synod Lutheran, who signed an anti-illegal immigration bill into law last year and was sharply criticized for it by... a Concordia Seminary theology professor!

We should also recall past LCMS politicians such as MN Gov. Jesse Ventura (Reform Party) and IL Sen. Paul Simon (Democrat Party), who were less-than-exemplary Lutherans. After his death Simon was eulogized in the Reporter.