Great Stuff — There is a benefit to so few Lutherans in politics. . .

Another great article found over on Pastoral Meanderings:


nancypelosi1Though 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 abortion.  Burke-iv-195x300“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…

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Great Stuff — There is a benefit to so few Lutherans in politics. . . — 39 Comments

  1. Dear BJS Bloggers,

    Thanks to Pastor Peters for another great online post at “Pastoral Meanderings”!–and to Norm Fisher for posting it!

    I agree with Pr. Peters sentiments, and it makes even more glad that we presently do have some LCMS people in Congress (and state governments) who are NOT embarrassments to our church! I always think of them when we say the Prayer of the Church that includes petitions for those in governement.

    Yours in Christ, Martin R. Noland

  2. Pity something isn’t done about the LCMS Pastors/bureaucrats
    in synodical/educational positions who are an embarrassment to the faith.

  3. Indeed. Michelle Bachmann was a WELS member who came under fire for the Lutheran teaching of the Papacy as the Anti-Christ. Instead of citing the Constitution Article VI, “…but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” or simply pointing out that Lutherans and Papists have been in disagreement over this issue for 500 years but that it would not change how she represented her constituents, she waffled and denied and left her church.

  4. I guess I’m not aware of any LCMS pastors/bureaucrats who are more of an “embarrasment to the faith” than the rest of us. 🙂

    Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  (Romans 14:10-11)

  5. Perhaps we should have more Lutherans, and even Pastors get a bit more involved in politics (yes, I know the danger).

    Yet with illegal immigration, politics of Obamacare, and all other policies that look to do damage to us from the elected leadership, perhaps we need to do more. Speak out.

    Hmmm, time to ask, “what would Luther do?” “What would God desire of us?”

    It would be good to see a thread “Steadfast in a world, a country that is becoming morally bankrupt.”

    It would be good to discuss, “where does a pastor step in to talk about politics, and how?”

    Eight years ago, the country elected a president, perhaps we should have spoken up about the dangers and problems we now face.

    Or do pastors just be silent and stick to our Word and Sacrament ministry.

  6. Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. :Or do pastors just be silent and stick to our Word and Sacrament ministry.

    Sticking to Word and Sacrament ministry is far from being silent. Perhaps if Michelle Bachman’s pastor had taught her the full truth of the Word…

    “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.”

  7. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #9

    Pastor Crandall did answer your question: If Bachman’s Pastor preached what Luther taught (and of course, assuming that she was there to listen!) she would have known the Lutheran teaching on the office of the papacy.
    If, as she says, the Pastor didn’t tell her, they both sold out for potential votes… (and will lose by it sooner or later, probably both.)

  8. Hmmm, must be a Steadfast block here? Of course Bachman has no clue about Lutheran, or Roman theology, at best, she simply “claims” she is religious. Let’s dump that, the real question is about us pastors, “do we need to be more outgoing in the realm of politics?”

    We must be careful on what we say, we cannot steer to a particular candidate, IRS would really find a problem (besides other government entities).

    But we can certainly standup against bad policy, etc.

    Or can we?

  9. OK, what say you on this Steadfast????

    GOP Rep. David Jolly of Florida came out this week in support of marriage equality for gay couples.

    The congressman told The Washington Post on Monday that his personal views about marriage center on it being a union between a man and a woman. But, he added, states should not define the “sanctity” of marriage.

    “As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage,” Jolly said in a statement to the Post. “But as a matter of constitutional principle I believe in a form of limited government that protects personal liberty. To me, that means that the sanctity of one’s marriage should be defined by their faith and by their church, not by their state.”

  10. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #12 I keep going back to Genesis. He created them male and female and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. God created laws of nature also. Two men or two women together is just unnatural.

    How great that Rep. Jolly can compartmentalize his faith, but we are called to live it, not just on Sunday, but every day in and through our vocations. He needs to have a long talk with a good Confessional pastor.

    On the other hand, we need to seriously consider why we are allowing our pastors to be appointed by the state to perform ceremonies in our churches. I’m just throwing this out there, but perhaps we should get out of the wedding “business” and concentrate on blessing the unions of those who have legally married through the state and who desire this union to be blessed, according to the traditions of the historical Lutheran church. (Male with female, not in premarital cohabitation, and after receiving instruction for living within this union)

  11. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #11
    Let’s dump that, the real question is about us pastors, “do we need to be more outgoing in the realm of politics?”

    If you preach about sin, people should be able to draw conclusions about behavior in politics.

    [If you want to put a candidate in your pulpit, you’d better have a black church (and probably he’d better be a Democrat). Funny how that gets not a whisper of “church and state separation”!]

  12. @helen #14
    Perhaps you don’t get what I am saying (I think you do though), the bottom line is this, and NO ONE wants to answer. “Should a pastor step up and say what is right and wrong in politics.” We do have a historic voice in the realm of church and state.

    Yes, we cannot, should not put a candidate in the pulpit, yet we can certainly state what is right and wrong, and remind people of who is on the right and wrong side.

    If we knew what the current administration was going to do, we should have stepped up and reminded all of the dangers.

    And people do know about sin, but in today’s cell phone, IPOD , etc. world, people are disengaged on what is going on.

    Should the Church be a stronger voice? Should the pastors, the leaders step up and lead.

  13. I would like to see our pastors step up and say what is wrong in our synodical practices first. Our confessions state what we believe and what we oppose. If we studied them, and were immersed in the Word, why would our pastors have to become political from the pulpit? Laypeople are not idiots. In fact, some may be more politically savvy than many pastors. Is that what their calls are about, because I was under the assumption that they were called to care for their flock, by proclaiming the Word in its truth and purity and administering the Sacraments properly? If laypeople are well taught in all Truth, they, along with pastors as citizens, can make educated decisions in their support of leaders and laws. I do not believe the pulpit is the place for that. However, again, pastors as citizens are certainly able to speak for their political beliefs outside of their primary vocation as pastor. I do not see what was wrong with Helen’s answer, Pr. Prentice, but it seems you want more. I think the Word is enough.

  14. @Lifelong Lutheran #17
    Hmmm, an intelligent blogger with some political knowledge I believe.

    OK, you get it, I am a Rebublican, and I would lean toward the planks of the party.
    01) Traditional Man and Women marriage.
    02) Secure borders, immigration is OK, not illegal immigration.
    03) Abortion is wrong.
    04) Teaching in schools, what to teach.

    Etc. OK, let’s stick to social issues and moral concerns. Yes, I am a free-market man too, even though many seem to be wanting a path of “social reform”.

    So let’s review…our President has waffled and “evolved” on many social issues. Gay marriage, etc. Do not tell me that this caught many by surprise.

    Should pastors now in the next elections reaffirm our Lutheran stance on moral values, etc.; and back parties and movements that will be good for the United States.

    Or do we simply say, “all politicians are crooks”, and hide our heads.

  15. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #18
    Honestly, I would prefer that my pastor stick to his Word and Sacrament ministry, at least during the Divine Service. Feel free to talk politics with those who ask your opinion but that’s not what I come to church for. Those 4 items are big subjects and while most LCMSers agree with you on them there is not agreement on what to do about them, even among Republicans.

  16. @Lifelong Lutheran #19
    Oh, I 110%% agree, the DIVINE Worship is God’s place and we pastors stand in and deliver His Word and Sacraments. I hope you did not get that opinion, in fact, I rarely ever bring outside events into the worship or preaching, I stick to His Word.

    But come Monday morning when all our work with the flock is done, or taking a breather; then do we not interject a bit in the world’s affairs?

    Yes, during coffee time, do we not remind others and perhaps involve ourselves in the world and remind them of the proper path.

    Pastors are defacto leaders in the community, at least we were.

  17. Here is a place we pastors can support politics, look at this bill (and remember how it affected LCFS):

    Step up, contact your legislators!

    New Federal Legislation to Protect Religious Freedom

    U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) recently introduced the “Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act,” S. 624 in the U.S. Senate and H.R. 5285 in the U.S. House. This legislation will protect child welfare providers such as faith-based adoption and foster care agencies. It is extremely necessary due to the states that are adopting policies which will require these providers to violate their sincerely-held beliefs by placing children with same-sex couples, effectively forcing them out of business. We saw this happen in Illinois with Catholic Charities.

    According to the joint press release:

    For decades, adoption and foster care providers – secular, government-operated and faith-based – have worked side-by-side to serve infants, expectant mothers, adoptive and foster families, children, teens and families under economic and emotional pressure. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014 would prevent providers of child welfare services from being excluded from offering these services based on their religious beliefs.

    Faith-based charities and organizations do an amazing job of administering adoption, foster care and a host of other services. Limiting their work because someone might disagree with what they believe only ends up hurting the families they could be bringing together,” said Enzi. “I’ve worked for years to support bills and ideas that help children find safe, loving and permanent homes. This legislation will help make sure faith-based providers and individuals can continue to work alongside other agencies and organizations, and that adoptive and foster parents have access to providers of their choice.

    This bill is about fairness and inclusion. It is about ensuring that everyone who wants to help provide foster or adoptive care to children is able to have a seat at the table,” said Kelly. “Faith-based organizations have historically played a downright heroic role in caring for our nation’s most vulnerable and needy kids. In so many ways their work is unparalleled. There is no good reason why any of these care providers should be disqualified from working with their government to serve America’s families simply because of their deeply-rooted religious beliefs.

    Adoption and foster care is intensely personal and emotional for all those concerned. All participants, infants, children, teens and families involved have benefited from having a range of service options to best suit their emotional, spiritual and financial needs and circumstances, according to Enzi and Kelly.

  18. Lifelong Lutheran :

    What are you saying, that Obama was on the wrong side and that John McCain and Mitt Romney were on the right side? On which issue? Were they right on everything and Obama was wrong on everything?

    Bingo! Pastors can and should speak powerfully on issues which the Word addresses, but exactly which sinner to support is a human opinion.

  19. @Ted Crandall #22
    Bingo as well…yet it appears many BJSers would rather have us stay away from politics, to stay away from at least warning the flock of the wolves in the right hand kingdom.

    Yes, we stick to our Word and Sacrament ministry, but as Luther and others did in the past, we NEED to start stepping up.

    And yes, Obama is on the wrong side of many issues of late. But if we speak up, we do possibly alienate many.

    Yet if a Pastor cares for His people, he must give them a God fearing path, and then let the flock choose.

    We can lead, we cannot force.

  20. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #18
    Should pastors now in the next elections reaffirm our Lutheran stance on moral values, etc.; and back parties and movements that will be good for the United States. Or do we simply say, “all politicians are crooks”, and hide our heads.

    Which parties are they? Why should I trust you to know?

    When pastors can’t treat each other justly, and appeal to “by-laws” and “CCM decrees” instead of God’s Word and the Confessions to ‘explain’ their actions or lack of actions, why do you think people will believe you know what’s “good for the United States”? You can’t get it together to do what’s right in the church!

    Spare me your political opinions!
    [And spare us the excuses from the IC!]

    Right now I’m wondering if some of the politicians in collars believe in GOD!
    Or is He just a story to “raise money for the poor in Jerusalem”…(aka Zion on the Mississippi), so that a few can live well, wear fine clothes, go to conferences and stay far away from the pewsitters who pay for it?

    I wonder why people leave the church?
    Maybe because the politics (in all denominations) reeks so badly
    they can barely smell their secular politicians?

    Yes, I’m angry. Am I the only one!?

  21. @helen #24

    I agree Helen. Overall, Lutheran “Leaders” have demonstrated a wholesale disregard for that which they were called to do. Based on the track record, why would I wish for any of them to assume the role of an elected official within the Government (local, state, or national)?

  22. Then again, our “leadership” may be over-qualified. They develop long term programs with no stated goals or timelines (Koinonia Project), they send extraordinary amounts of money to foreign entities, regardless of whether they are in agreement with our confessions (Mercy Projects), they fund and facilitate harmful entities (heterodox church plants, PLI, TCN, etc….), they use stall tactics and avoid taking a stand while hiding behind bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, and finally, you can’t get them to give you a straight answer on anything.

    Yet, they would be great at one thing – reaching across the aisle. They seem to have no issue supporting those who promote and facilitate heterodox Bapticostal and non-denom doctrine, preachers, teachers, and practices.

  23. @Randy #26
    They develop long term programs with no stated goals or timelines (Koinonia Project)

    Oh, there’s a goal in that one, Randy!

    It’s to put off cleaning out the Augean stable until the cattle are buried in [pamphlets, programs, policies and other “stuff”]

    [Or at least until “we” (the bureaucrats) have our fill and leave the job/perks to somebody else!]

    Maybe till we’re all “willowcreek” or joel osteen fans…… 🙁

  24. Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
    Keep on the sunny side of life
    It will help us ev’ry day, it will brighten all the way
    If we’ll keep on the sunny side of life

    @Randy and Helen

  25. @helen #24
    Helen, I lovingly urge you to sit back and chill, calm your anger. All I said was, can and should a Pastor? See following:

    01) I urge people to support a bill that would possibly allow LCFS to begin a better role in adoption to married man and women couples in Illinois, regain RSO after some time.

    Is this junk?

    02) We Pastors urge NO ABORTION , choose life – am I crazy?

    03) We support proper role view of marriage. – the world thinks we are bigots.

    03) We urge people to follow laws, both kingdoms – our political leadership seems to fail it (you and other BJS followers think us pastors fail it?)

    I can go on and on.

    Do you understand politics? The planks of the party?

  26. @Randy #25
    We never said we want an active role in politics, I think the rules we follow do not let us hold public office.

    I and others simply think we need to keep left hand kingdom in line a bit with the right.

    If we don’t get a little involved, it may be illegal to be a solid Lutheran pastor down the road. Take a look at some laws in Europe, etc.

    Oh, it will never happen here, and that is what we said about gay marriage a bunch of years ago.

  27. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #29

    Rev. Prentice,

    With respect to my part of the rant, I actually agree with what Rev. Crandall stated in comment #22 and you seconded:

    Ted Crandall :

    Bingo! Pastors can and should speak powerfully on issues which the Word addresses, but exactly which sinner to support is a human opinion.

    My portion of the rant related to the fact that, based on the track record, I have no indication that those who have sought “elected service” within the LCMS would make a positive difference in “elected service” within government.

    Additionally, I think the LCMS is blessed with a large cadre of amazing and faithful pastors who work day-in and day-out caring for their flock through the Word and Sacraments. Their service is absolutely vital and we must do everything to take care of them so that they may teach us properly. I have enormous loyalty to the LCMS because what we [are supposed to] believe and teach is good, right, and salutary. However, for various reasons many have strayed far from scripture and our confessions. We do almost nothing to help those who have strayed (congregations and/or pastors and/or ecclesiastical supervisors). Therefore, accountability seems all but lost. All this ties back into Norm’s original post. I cringe at the notion of many of our Lutheran’s in Name Only (LINO’s) having a speaking part in the public square. We need to get our house in order. Instead of outreach and grand programs, right now the LCMS needs triple bypass heart surgery.

  28. @Randy #31
    Concise comments, and I thank you.

    In the end, all we can do is do our best. I have (perhaps too many) vocations:
    01) Pastor at a small Church
    02) Worker at my “day job”
    03) Father
    04) Husband
    05) And now going back to school to earn some academic legs in the Church world. Yes, I am DELTO, now going back to begin the trek to a MA in Biblical Studies from a good College. Not an online one, I go and sit in the classroom.

    And as a Pastor, I can only speak for myself, I will lead by example, and do Word and Sacrament. To “love em”, all those stinking sinners in my congregation, and I include myself.

    But the vocation of being pastor, soon; it will be very hard. Besides internal attack, there are external forces of a government and people moving away from God at a fast pace.

    Oh, keep praying, eh?

    BJS out…

  29. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #29
    Do you understand politics? The planks of the party?

    Planks were named that because they were supposed to be what the candidates stood on.
    Funny how seldom you hear about them, once the election is over.
    Then it’s back to, Who’s buying? Who’s being bought?

    John: It’s August in Texas. The “sunny side” is the side you avoid, if you can possibly do so.
    We’re thankful for a relatively mild summer so far, but … 😉

  30. John Rixe :
    Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
    Keep on the sunny side of life
    It will help us ev’ry day, it will brighten all the way
    If we’ll keep on the sunny side of life

    @Randy and Helen

    “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 8:11 and 6:14

  31. Let the sun shine in and chase away your blues. Frowners never win and smilers never lose. ~  Pebbles and Bamm Bamm

    @Pr Crandall 🙂

  32. We’re thankful for a relatively mild summer so far, but …

    we’re headed for a week of triple digit temperatures….

    and probably a few more after that.

  33. There is definitely a benefit to so few Lutherans from LCMS or WELS in politics. Many of those who are in politics are at best compromisers of the Faith, and at worst are all-out apostates who are still on our membership roles. Two examples are Andy Manar (LCMS) and Ron Kind (WELS) who support the profanation of marriage:

    Likewise, LCMS-member Jan Brewer, governor of Arizona, opposed a bill that would have prevented Christians from being sued for failing to cater to homosexual “weddings”:

    As for Michelle Bachmann, she was never doctrinally a Lutheran. She graduated from the heretical Oral Roberts University and has always associated with radical charismatics. If Bachmann was raised Lutheran, then her straying into heresy could be attributable to a failure of proper catechesis.

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