Tuesday, January 1, 2013

John 18:36

By Larry Beane

I just read through the latest Reporter. I'm concerned that our church body is becoming so enamored with Caesar. 

It's one thing to go to Washington and demand that the state obey the constitution and respect the rights of churches, it's quite something else for the church to transform itself into a lobbying organization to try to get specific bills passed that would give tax-appropriated funds to the church for its pet projects.

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution authorizing the federal government to collect tax funds from Americans (and taxes are collected by compulsion) in order to fight disease around the world. That is a very good cause indeed - which is why it should be supported voluntarily, out of love, from "cheerful givers" - not expropriated by compulsion through the state apparatus. Moreover, in case nobody has noticed, Washington is broke. Where is the money going to come from for the American people to support Lutherans fighting malaria? If Christians can disagree about certain appropriation bills in congress, does the LCMS leadership have the right to lobby for those bills? 

It may make for some good photo ops for our leaders to be seen in the Presence of Senators and Congressmen and in the shadow of Columned Marble Walls - but let's not forget that our Lord's Kingdom is "not of this world." 

It is one thing to advocate for protecting human life. Of course, nothing is ever addressed about black-ops and torture and drones and provocative and imperious blowback-ridden foreign policy and the military-industrial complex. It is one thing to advocate for the natural right to private property, though the church never has anything to say about the absolutely fraud-based social programs paid for by morally (and literally) bankrupt ponzi schemes - not to mention the unconscionable practice of devaluing the currency through the federal reserve system - which openly violates Scripture. It is one thing to defend human dignity and human liberty, but the church utters not one peep about the NDAA that allows the president to arrest anyone - including citizens - without trial, without due process, without the right to a lawyer - and hold them in secret prisons indefinitely. Similarly, the church seems to have nothing to say when it comes to the Orwellian surveillance society we now live under - a system that has been used by governments to crush Christianity when the church became the opponent of state worship.

When it comes to such matters, the cat seems to get the LCMS's tongue. It seems that the church will not make any statement unless it is cleared by its own GOP gatekeepers.

The church should not be shilling for the Republican Party (or any party), nor should she be so enamored of being seen as Important in the eyes of the world. The state has a pretty abysmal record when it comes to dealing with the Bride of Christ - and coziness with the state has resulted in chaos in the Lutheran world. Every state church (and many Lutheran churches were) has become apostate - even to the point where faithful Christians are enduring persecution at the hands of government bureaucrats. This is what happens when you lie down with dogs.

The church ought to understand better than any other institution the pitfalls of dancing to Caesar's tune and cozying up to state power. John F. Kennedy summed it up best when he said: "In the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding on the back of the tiger ended up inside."

Maybe I should just toss the Reporter into the trash when the next one comes.


  1. Maybe?? duh! I toss the re(GO)P orter in the garbage all the time...it's like reading a trade journal most of the time and not an Ecclesial Bulletin for a faith communion of the Western Catholic Church (y'know, sort of like the Symbols assumed). They used to say that the Anglican Church in America (the Episcopalians) was the Republican Party at Prayer. The lickmiss (lcms) vis a vis foreign policy and domestic surveillance is like one of Rohm's brown-shirted Freikorps at prayer. (of course this is hyperbole; so we can all still hug and get along)

  2. So, one Reporter and now you are ready to say that the LCMS has become merely a lobbying organization? I have a good amount of trust in the LCMS guy in the middle of that photo and I believe he speaks for me and my parish in the growing contradiction between the arbitrary rules of state and the first of all our rights. We do not have a governmental office. We do not have a bishop's letter every time someone in Washington scratches an itch. We do not have a Synod leader who wines and dines with polutocrats. We have the Pastor who represents our church saying to any and all who will listen -- this goes to far in the direct infringement of our constitutional liberty (as opposed to a moral conclusion about which we may agree to disagree). It will take a whole lot more before I am ready to make such a blanket condemnation.

    1. I agree that Pres. Harrison has stood up manfully for religious liberty in the Obamacare nonsense. More power to him.

      But don't you think Larry has a point that lobbying the government to spend money it either doesn't have or takes from taxpayers in a foreign country is simply not the Church's job? Indeed, as I see it, it's verging pretty close to that 2nd Commandment line. We should speak in the Name of God. Is there a clear cut argument that Scripture demands that the US government in 2013 give $XXX,XXX,XXX dollars to Africa to combat malaria?

      If there is no such demand in Scripture, then I don't think the Church should be advocating for it in the public square. Let's keep our public advocacy on clear Scriptural mandates with clear public policy entails: end legal murder.

      So, you might not like Larry's rhetoric: but I think you'll have to admit he's right on the substance. Either that or give us chapter and verse on why the US must needs spend money in Africa to combat malaria.


  3. Dear Larry:

    I am concerned that we are getting too cozy with the federal government. If I recall correctly, the LCMS used to have a governmental office in DC, and I would not be surprised to see talk of this office being rehabilitated.

    It is one thing to "speak truth to power," (as Pres. Harrison did concerning the HHS) - but it is something else to go hat in hand to DC to seek favors and money from princes. Here is the LCMS's own account of our synod's lobbying efforts: http://mercyforever.lcms.org/2012/11/lutheran-leaders-from-u-s-africa-advocating-on-capitol-hill-today-for-the-fight-against-malaria/ and I concur with what Heath Curtis wrote a few weeks ago about it: http://gottesdienstonline.blogspot.com/2012/11/faith-and-politics-again.html

    Should the LCMS tell the government to respect religious liberties? Absolutely. Should the LCMS be lobbying the government (the same one that is not respecting our religious liberties not the lives of the pre-born) to bankroll its projects? I don't believe so.

    I am not offering a "blanket condemnation" of the synod. I'm a member of synod. There is much to support about the synod. But that does not mean we should offer a "blanket approval" of, or the giving of the "Nelson eye" to, everything the synod does - whether the president is Pr. Harrison or Pr. Kieschnick. No matter who is captain of the ship, I do not believe that the synod should be lobbying Washington for goodies, favors, and handouts.

    I think church history clearly shows where that leads.

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  5. Larry (Beane) is spot on. No Confessional Lutheran can have any argument with this.

  6. Where is the money going to come from for the American people to support Lutherans fighting malaria? -- Fr. Beane

    I know that the late Dr. Szasz seriously questioned whether schizophrenia is a "real" disease, i.e., as something likely to be vectored by mosquitoes, or eye-balled under the electron microscope; nonetheless, if the American people have the pocket change available, after the selective pressuring of the Lutherans has run its course, I would appreciate any support in the fight to convince poor Mr. Dalmato, in 2B, that he's not Lord Christ.

    Your (unworthy) servant,
    Herr Doktor, SSP


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