Sunday, December 23, 2012

On interfaith services...

NB: Yes, the topic came up this past week in two different Bible classes from the laity. It's been in the news again. No, I'm not going to offer public discussion of current events. But the general topic does deserve a comment: because if it's coming up in my Bible Class, it is surely coming up in yours. I think we can strike a balance between ignoring the elephant in the room and flying off the handle.

History: In 2001 District President Benke was part of a big interfaith service on TV. A bunch of conservative/confessional fellow members of Synod got angry about it and filed charges. When the dust settled, President Benke retained his post, the Lutheran Hour put up a Now Hiring sign, and President Kieschnick was reelected twice, the first time largely on a platform of having been President Benke's defender. 

Analysis: Being against praying with Jews and Muslims on TV was not a winner for the conservative/confessional cause. Why? Because the laity, by and large, approved of what President Benke did. The conservative/confessionals thought this was a sure way to get President Kieschnick unseated: surely the folks in pew were against this! But no. I was on vicarage in the midst of the drawn out battle over this at a rock ribbed conservative/confessional parish southwest of Milwaukee. When the PBS special that featured an interview with President Benke came out, I had members of the hardcore Tuesday night Bible Class inform me of how great and brave he was and what was this about meanies not wanting him to be there?

Today: I told my Bible Class that if they knew what the Talmud said about Jesus, they would never want me sharing a stage at an interfaith prayer ceremony with a Rabbi. Period. Likewise, with the Koran and Muhammedans, Book of Mormon and Mormons, et cetera ad infinitum world without end Amen.

Conclusion: We ought to be teaching the people what these Jesus-hating, blasphemous "faith traditions" teach.