Thursday, March 28, 2019
Politics not as usual. . .
What I will do is this. I suggest that the wisdom of our church body in having a more open election, passing the vote to pastors of congregations and the lay person chosen by the congregation has proven less wise than first thought. Instead of a limited number of convention delegates receiving the deluge of mail and email designed to influence the vote, the attempt is made to influence everybody indiscriminately. Instead of an ecclesiastical ballot for Synod President and Vice-President, the process has become a process of tarring and feathering the folks with whom you disagree. In the old days, convention delegates would vote on behalf of their electoral circuits, pastor and lay, and make up the mind of the church. It was not apolitical to be sure but the time to be influenced was short and all candidates, including the incumbent, has less time to present themselves to the delegates who would cast their lot for them. Instead of a more open process, this has given the incumbent more resources to get his name before people at a time when people have trouble identifying any other national leaders. So this has left the loyal opposition with the choice between educating a reticent population about the issues or painting the incumbent as dishonorable. It seems the later choice has won out.
I understand that things can be perceived differently but nobody can dispute the facts -- except, it seems, those who are determined to ignore them. It is a sad day for our church body when entire web sites are set up as campaign headquarters for a candidate and others are set up to insist that the incumbent is not simply wrongheaded on the issues but completely without honor or integrity. I know that this is the politics of the world but this is not politics as usual in our Synod and we ought to be ashamed that it has come to this, that we allow our attention to be consumed by salacious gossip, and presume the worst of intentions, motivation, and actions on the part of those we elected and, I hope, pray for each week. If this is the best we can do for an election, then perhaps we ought to simply write names on paper ballots and have a child reach into the bowl and pull out a name. At least then it would prevent the electioneering currently going on.
This is not simply goofiness but sin. Sin that a church body which promotes Luther's Small Catechism ought to be against. Remember that Luther does not simply forbid lying but insists that we are to put the best construction on things. If that does not apply to the man who leads our church body and to those would replace him, we have bigger troubles than election procedures.