There would be Twitter-worthy convulsions if a Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) affiliated agency was giving aid and comfort to Planned Parenthood. By contrast, there is almost total indifference to a Synod partner helping illegal aliens to evade deportation.
As a profiteer from the industrialization of refugee resettlement and illegal immigration, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) has updated its “Be Not Afraid” campaign for the Trump era. It encourages “immigrant parishioners and neighbors” and churches to frustrate immigration law enforcement in the name of “not being afraid”; whatever that means.
LIRS has an ignoble history of corrupting the Fourth Commandment, confounding the Three Estates, and confusing the Two Kingdoms, all in the name of a supposedly most virtuous civil disobedience and social justice. It long ago renounced its founding Lutheran identity, exchanging what it once cherished for the nondescript liberation theology that emasculated and depopulated the mainline churches.
Adept at Newspeak, LIRS’s “immigrants” are actually the citizens of other countries who have entered the United States without permission and are, by legal definition, illegal aliens. According to LIRS and the migration lobby, anybody who wishes to live in America has an unlimited right to do so.
When illegal aliens are confronted with the consequences of their decisions, LIRS goes into hyperbolic overdrive with statements such as, “Many of our immigrant neighbors across the country are currently living in deep fear of raids that would rip families apart and devastate communities.”
As a legal immigrant and knowing many other legal immigrants, I can attest that we do not “live in deep fear of raids”. We are sometimes required to prove our residency status, and we co-operate without ginning up offense and outrage. We immigrants are not entitled to superior rights than the natural-born citizens we live alongside.
In collaboration with its leftist fellow travelers, LIRS is enforcing a substitute lexicon that obfuscates or disappears once common terms. “Illegal alien” has been suppressed on pain of public shaming. “Refugee” used to be reserved for innocents fleeing war. Now it is routinely used for illegal alien migrants from basket case countries. More insidiously, everyone is lumped under the umbrella of “newcomers”. The term has a focus group calibrated tension between illegal alien entitlement and the guilt and compassion of host citizens.
LCMS higher-ups privately acknowledge that LIRS has no Lutheran identity beyond its misleading name. Yet the LCMS sustains the very public “partnership” based on the shibboleth of “cooperation in externals”. LIRS, however, clearly violates the conditions for “cooperation in externals” set forth in Principles for Cooperation in Externals with Theological Integrity (2010 Res. 3-03).
- “No compromise of the teachings of Holy Scripture as explicated in the Confessions”. Since LIRS feeds at the public trough, it must vow never to proselytize any “newcomers”. This is a federal edict LIRS fastidiously abides by – I defy anyone to preach Christ and Him crucified to a LIRS intake… That’s more than a compromise. It’s a sellout. Aside from burying the Gospel, a good deal of what LIRS does and causes is immoral and unethical (e.g. stimulating the market in human trafficking; enticing parents to send their children on dangerous journeys alone; undermining the rule-of-law; soft-selling consequent criminal activity such as identity theft; increasing taxpayer burdens; and so on).
- “…the cooperative effort [must not be] an act of fellowship in the Word and Sacraments (unionism)”. The ‘Be Not Afraid’ campaign literature has abominable and cynically manipulative theological resources that are intended for use in Worship and Sunday School. LIRS states unequivocally that the LCMS will be assisting with the propaganda project, not for Gospel reasons, but to “affirm community and abate fear”. In other words, the LCMS is the Ivanov to ELCA’s Gletkin. It is unionism even if the LCMS Synodocrats insist that no jot or tittle has been displaced in their beloved bylaws.
- “…where, for the sake of that [doctrinal] integrity, [cooperative work] must cease”. The LCMS lays itself open to charges of hypocrisy when it walks the public square with two faces. As the Synod continues to ramp up its public engagement, especially in asserting its religious liberty rights, LIRS is a millstone that mocks our doctrinal integrity. It shows that the LCMS is vulnerable to the lure of public virtue signaling, which will be endlessly exploited.
The LCMS has the means and capacity to provide refugee and immigration services in close proximity to Word and Sacrament Ministry, which is the standard for human care programs of the Synod. The great mystery is why it declines to do so.
We long ago asked Synod a series of questions about the relationship with LIRS, and were promised a full response. Nearly a year-and-a-half later, the questions remain unanswered, and LIRS continues to defenestrate LCMS doctrine and practice.