Tuesday, July 8, 2014

There is a benefit to so few Lutherans in politics. . .

Though for a long time I have lamented the lack of Lutherans in the public square, at least officially as elected members of Congress or in the White House, I am not so sure it is as big a problem as I once thought.  I do believe that Lutherans, specifically LCMS Lutherans, have much to bring to the public square both as people inside as well as outside of government, there is a dilemma faced when those who claim to be Lutheran speak and act in ways that contradict that Lutheran confession.  Witness the specter of the Roman Catholics abundantly in politics but less abundantly in step with the doctrine and witness of their own communion.

No less than Nancy Pelosi, sometime Roman Catholic, has contributed much to my growing ease at the fact that we have too few Lutherans among the ranks of senators, congressmen, and presidents.  Recently she suggested that the her bishop, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, cancel his attendance at the June 19 March for Marriage in Washington.  To be truthful, she did much more than that.  Pelosi compared those in favor of traditional marriage to bigots and hatemongers who confused vitriolic hatred as virtue.  She insisted that her church leaders should have nothing to do with such people.  The Archbishop responded in a nuanced, reasoned, and yet forceful rebuttal of Pelosi's charge and insisted that his office compelled him to march for marriage.

The Archbishop insisted that his responsibility as a shepherd of souls required his involvement in the event.  He stated that the “intrinsic human dignity of all people” not only required him to defend the sanctity of all human life, but “to proclaim the truth — the whole truth — about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing.”  “I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. That is what I will be doing on June 19th,” he stated emphatically.

The Vatican’s chief justice, Cardinal Raymond Burke, said the California Democrat should no longer receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, according to CNS News.

You know, now that I think about it, we have enough Lutherans embarrassed about their Lutheranism, without giving them access to a national microphone and the full media to disown the faith they claim.  It is almost a relief to know that there are so few Lutherans among the ranks of elected officers or representatives of our government and they are generally so hidden from public view that we seldom face the kind of heresy and apostasy Rome faces from its very visible and vocal politicians.  Why, just maybe there is a blessing to be hidden among the hills in the ethnic and cultural ghettos of the Midwest and generally small towns across America.  Our people may not be much more consistent with their faith than these Roman Catholics but at least the news media does not throw it in our face day after day.  I almost sympathize with Rome in this regard.  It is clearly one aspect of their life I do not envy.

An update even before posting:

The Vatican has finally had enough of U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi illogically insisting she’s a “good Catholic” while consistently supporting unrestricted abortionBurke iv“Certainly this is a case when Canon 915 must be applied,” Burke in a Sept. 5 interview with The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly, CNS News reported Monday. “This is a person who obstinately, after repeated admonitions, persists in a grave sin — cooperating with the crime of procured abortion — and still professes to be a devout Catholic.”
Burke emphasized that Catholics have to at least attempt to live their faith.
“This is a prime example of what Blessed John Paul II referred to as the situation of Catholics who have divorced their faith from their public life and therefore are not serving their brothers and sisters in the way that they must — in safeguarding and promoting the life of the innocent and defenseless unborn, in safeguarding and promoting the integrity of marriage and the family,” the cardinal said.

While I am glad somebody finally told Pelosi that publicly opposing core church teaching does not make you a good Roman Catholic, it might come as a bit of relief to those charged with ecclesiastical supervision in the LCMS that we have enough on our plate with those teaching and preaching and, sigh, do not have to deal with politicians presuming to be theological spokespersons for their church and opposing what their church believes, confesses, and teaches...


Carl Vehse said...

"it might come as a bit of relief to those charged with ecclesiastical supervision in the LCMS that we have enough on our plate with those teaching and preaching and, sigh, do not have to deal with politicians presuming to be theological spokespersons for their church and opposing what their church believes, confesses, and teaches..."

... and, if history can serve as a teacher, when those times of heretical LCMS Lutheran politicians have occurred, those charged with ecclesiastical supervision have shown a lack of action that is pukingly pathetic.

For years LCMS leadership did little-to-nothing in disciplining pro-murder-by-abortion politicians, Paul Simon and Jesse Ventura to name two notorious politicos.

In fact, an official synodical publication gave the traitorous senator, Paul Simon (1928-2003), a glowing eulogy that only gently mentioned, "As a senator, Paul Simon was criticized by Synod and Lutheran pro-life leaders for his support of abortion rights."

But, hey, ecclesiastical supervision isn't even used anymore on heretical pastors and teachers in the Synod, much less a radical leftist leader of an RSO.

Anonymous said...

It is very unlikely any LCMS political leader would attain national office due to the Book of Concord (BOC) position on the papacy (i.e., the papal office is the antichrist). Such a position alienates even those "in name only" Roman Catholics. Michelle Bachmann (Republican primary candidate for the presidency and former WELS Lutheran) was attacked for the BOC position.

I do find it ironic that, in my opinion, the majority of LCMS Lutherans don't even know the BOC position regarding the papacy. Yet, the national media dug this up on Michelle Bachmann. And they would do the same for any future LCMS national candidate.


John Joseph Flanagan said...

In my opinion, the fact that many Christians have failed to enter politics today has had negative consequences on our society and culture. There is a way for one to work in the political arena and still avoid compromises that go against principles....but it takes one thing.....guts. I would like to see more LCMS in politics, media, and public academia....and we should encourage participation...not leave it to progressives and other's whose aim is to marginalize the influence of Christianity on society. I am not calling for a theocracy.....but one does not abdicate our civic responsibilities while our society is in decline.

Carl Vehse said...

In a 2006 campaign debate a WCCO reporter asked Bachmann about the WELS position on the pope as the Antichrist," Is this true, do you share the views of your church, and why should any Catholic in the Sixth District vote for you if it is true?"

Bachmann answered: "Well that's a false statement that was made, and I spoke with my pastor earlier today about that as well, and he was absolutely appalled that someone would put that out. It's abhorrent, it's religious bigotry. I love Catholics, I'm a Christian, and my church does not believe that the Pope is the Anti-Christ, that's absolutely false."

In 2011, six days before Bachmann launched her presidential campaign, the Washington Post reported:

Six days before Bachmann officially launched her presidential campaign last month, the Minnesota Republican and her family verbally requested to leave Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., which is part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).

Synod spokesman Joel Hochmuth said Thursday (July 14) the Bachmanns had been members of Salem Lutheran for more than a decade, but had not attended the church for at least two years. They did not request a transfer to another congregation, he said.

According to Hochmuth, the pastor told Bachmann that WELS “primarily views the office of the papacy as the anti-Christ, not the individual popes themselves."

Beside Hochmuth doing an incredible tapdance, Bachmann (or someone in her staff) should have been ready to give a correct answer since the Star-Tribune had raised the issue about the WELS position on the pope earlier that day.

Anonymous said...

we are so lacking in good theological leadership in the church, so we why even expect it in politics and the state? Let's get our church leaders and administrators on a Confessional page first and make that our top priority.

Carl Vehse said...

While Lutherans may not be known as politicians, science and mathematics have been greatly enriched because of such Lutherans as George Joachim Rheticus, Erasmus Reinhold, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Michael Maestlin, Georg Samuel Doerffel, Ole Christensen Roemer, Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, Anders Celsius, Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, Bernhard Riemann, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, Georg Cantor, Heinrich Rudolph Hertz, Kurt Godel, Ejnar Hertzsprung, Max Planck, and Lise Meitner, to name a few.

Carl Vehse said...

"There is a benefit to so few Lutherans in politics. . ."

Given the subsequent discussion, perhaps the title should be:

"There is a benefit to so few Lufauxrans in politics. . ."

As noted in the first comment, this is a (historically-supported) good point.

Nevertheless, the original title is valid when discussing possible uncomfortableness were there solidly Lutheran politicians who do agree with what the Evangelical Lutheran Church believes, confesses, and teaches... and who confront and castigate corrupt political and fifth-column opponents as vigorously as Martin Luther dealt with the Antichrist, Zwingli, and other heretics (as well as the heathen Turks).

One might also imagine the reactions within the LCMS if it had been Martin Luther responding to a leftist lackey asking if Luther shared the Church's position that the pope is the Antichrist and why should any Catholics vote for a Lutheran politician? (Luther's response wouldn't be the fabled "wise Turk" quote.)

Of course it would also be good to have an artist who can crank out political cartoons like Lucas Cranach cranked out woodcuts of Luther's opponents.

Carl Vehse said...

Tiber waders may note some blood in the waters. Cardinal Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, got on some Vatican Sweet Herbal Iced Tea list, according to excerpts from the September 16, 2014, article, Vatican Diary / Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke":

"The 'revolution' of Pope Francis in ecclesiastical governance is not losing its driving thrust. And so, as happens in every self-respecting revolution, the heads continue to roll for churchmen seen as deserving this metaphorical guillotine....

"The next victim would in fact be the United States cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, who from being prefect of the supreme tribunal of the apostolic signatura would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of “cardinal patron” of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.

"If confirmed, Burke’s exile would be even more drastic than the one inflicted on Cardinal Piacenza, who, transferred from the important congregation for the clergy to the marginal apostolic penitentiary, nevertheless remained in the leadership of a curial dicastery.

"With the shakeup on the way, Burke would instead be completely removed from the curia and employed in a purely honorary position without any influence on the governance of the universal Church.

"Burke is 66 years old, and therefore still in his ecclesiastical prime....

"A great expert in canon law, and appointed to the apostolic signatura for this reason, he is not afraid to follow it to the most uncomfortable consequences. Like when, to the tune of articles of the Code - number 915 to be precise - he upheld the impossibility of giving communion to those politicians who stubbornly and publicly uphold the right to abortion, bringing the rebukes of two colleagues in the United States valued by Pope Francis, Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston and Donald Wuerl of Washington.

"On December 16, in effect, Pope Francis humiliated Burke by crossing him off from among the members of the congregation. To the hosannas of 'liberal' Catholicism, not only in the United States."