Politics and religion
Recently in both Reporter and The Lutheran Witness, there have been articles relating to politics in our religion. I believe these are good. However, there is a growing number of those who do not believe that politics and religion should mix. I think there are dire consequences to their way of thinking.
One of these consequences just occurred in Missouri, the home state of our Synod headquarters. How sad is it that we could not or would not exert enough influence on the political scene to stop a moral issue such as cloning and fetal stem-cell research, which were approved by voters.
We should all as confessional Lutherans feel ashamed that we did not — or worse, would not — mobilize ourselves and other people with our message and beliefs to stop this decision.
The United States Constitution does allow for us to mix church and state — just not to have the state back one religion over another. Read your Constitution, folks. I seriously doubt that God wants us to sit back and watch as our society decays around us.
We must stand up and elect leaders that reflect our moral compass.
“Go ye into all the world preaching the Gospel” does not apply only to pastors. It applies to us as church members, and especially as Lutherans. We must take our religion into our work, our play, and yes, our politics.
God is not timid, and I’m sure He does not want us to be timid either.
Funding the mission
In last month’s Reporter letters, Leonard C. Johnson writes, “Districts forwarded amounts in the 3 percent to 39 percent range of the monies received from their respective congregations.”
I was a lay delegate to the past two Minnesota North District conventions. Each of these conventions adopted a resolution that our district’s remittance to the Synod should not fall below 42 percent of the congregational receipts. That is considerably more than the 2 to 39 percent mentioned in the December letter.
District revenue included other funds in addition to remittances from congregations.
What I would like to see reported once a year, by district, in Reporter is the following information:
- Total district revenue.
- Total congregations’ remittance to the district.
- The district’s remittance to Synod.
- The district’s remittance to Synod as a percentage of the total congregations’ remittances to the district.
The information that Armin Rubbert would like to see appear yearly in Reporter is already available to those who have access to The Lutheran Annual. That information can be obtained, although it may involve a little math for a couple of his points, from the statistical table titled “Summary of Contributions.” In the 2007 Lutheran Annual, that table — for 2005, the latest year for which these statistics are available — is on Page 737. Consideration is being given to making these tables available online through the Synod’s Web site at www.lcms.org.
Reporter appreciates Mr. Rubbert’s suggestion that it carry the information he requests on an annual basis. However, primarily due to space limitations and staffing, that is not feasible in the foreseeable future.
I would like to respond to last month’s commentary titled “Reaching out to the immigrants among us,” by Karen Boettcher.
“It is the job of the legal system to enforce the immigration laws,” she writes.
This is true, but it also is the job of the legal system to enforce all the laws of the nation.
Would you turn your back on reporting a crime of murder or theft that you witnessed because it is the job of the legal system to enforce these laws? Isn’t it the responsibility of every law-abiding citizen to report crimes when they know about them? Or do we go about our lives, as this article seems to suggest, and pick and choose which crimes to report?
I also would like to respond to the use of the following Bible passage in the commentary: “Never mistreat a foreigner living in your land. Foreigners living among you will be like your own people. Love them as you love yourself, because you were foreigners living in Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 19: 33-34).
The Lord reminds the nation of Israel about the years they lived as foreigners in Egypt. The text from Leviticus needs to be considered in light of the fact that the nation of Israel lived in Egypt at the direct invitation of the Pharaoh: “When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Tell your brothers, Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land’” (Gen. 45:16-18).
This information from Genesis needs to be applied to the text from Leviticus. You can’t pull the text out from Leviticus and claim it shows we are to open the floodgates to illegal immigrants, when the comparison to Israel in Egypt would indicate the Lord is speaking about entering a country at its invitation.
Correction from CMGS
The Commission on Ministerial Growth and Support (CMGS) would like to correct an item in our insert with the December 2006 Reporter.
A notice encouraged Concordia Health Plan (CHP) members to take advantage of health and wellness discounts for fitness clubs and other services. Unfortunately, the benefits administrator and Web path indicated were inaccurate. We apologize if any readers were inconvenienced.
The correct access to discount opportunities for CHP members is through CIGNA’s Healthy Rewards® program. CHP members are encouraged to register at www.myCIGNA.com in order to review the discounts and services offered through the Healthy Rewards® program.
We are pleased when Concordia Health Plan members take advantage of opportunities that provide cost savings while improving health and wellness. Further, our partnership with Concordia Plan Services provides additional gateways in our desire to walk together toward wellness, in our being and in our serving.
For more information, please call Concordia Plan Services at (88