By Graham Glover –
It’s time for a divorce.
My fellow Lutherans, it’s time to permanently distance ourselves as individuals and denominational entities from those associated with the Religious Right. We must forever separate ourselves from their asinine politics and their flawed theology. Never again should we align ourselves with the movement they represent.
Seriously – we have got to get out of this marriage. This nuptial has got to end.
For the record, there never was an “official” marriage. In other words, the Lutheran churches in America (LCMS, ELCA, WELS, etc.) have never formally associated themselves with the Religious Right. But the underlying commitment is there – especially among our parishioners. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why we ever wedded ourselves to them in the first place.
Most importantly, the Religious Right has a horrible understanding of the two realms (or as it is commonly referred to, the two kingdoms). Lutherans should be well aware of our theology that teaches Christians are citizens of both realms – the ecclesial/divine and the secular. Both have been instituted by God and both are to be obeyed, but they are NOT to be confused. On this point, the Religious Right is fundamentally wrong, confusing the two realms all the time. They do this by looking to the State to solve our social ills/sins. They think if only the right candidate is elected or the right law passed, then all will be right in the world. Some honestly think the United States is the new Jerusalem and that we need to return to our Christian “roots” to help usher in the kingdom of God. They comingle the two realms, blindly following the social conservatives of the Republican Party, and after almost 40 years of political maneuvering, have nothing to show for it.
But Lutherans, this shouldn’t surprise you, as you know that the Law never changes people’s hearts, only the Gospel of Jesus Christ does.
As for the social issues that drive today’s Religious Right – abortion and homosexuality – on these they entirely miss the point. On the surface they are correct. Abortion is an evil that should not be legal. Homosexuality is a sin that should not be condoned. But these are the only messages the Religious Right typically proclaims. They focus all their attention on the sin. Change the law and the sin will stop…or so they think. But I assure you, if abortion was outlawed and homosexuality frowned upon, both of these sins would still occur. Rather than seeking to change behavior, why don’t we seek to redeem souls? If we are truly champions of life, why don’t we put our money where our mouth is and support families and public policies that will provide for women and their children AFTER they are born? And rather than worrying ourselves with the lifestyle choice of 1-2% of the population, why don’t we focus our attention on those in our homes and our pews, leading them to righteous living by immersing them in God’s Holy Word and Sacraments?
On Israel, the Religious Right is once again flawed. Americans support the state of Israel because they are our democratic allies in a region of the world marred by tyrants and radical terrorism. We support Israel not on religious grounds, but political ones. The existence of an Israeli state means nothing concerning our Lord’s return, for the Church is the new Israel…not a state created by the United Nations at the end of World War II.
We should never link our faith to our support for the state of Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Another grave concern is the Religious Right’s undying devotion to the Republican Party. This is not to suggest that the Democratic Party is the answer. Rather, it is to emphasize that the GOP is not God’s Party. Yet the Religious Right has sold its followers (to include Lutherans) on the false idea that being conservative on social issues (abortion, sexuality, etc.) means one must be conservative on domestic issues (taxes, government spending, health care, environment, etc.) and an aggressor on foreign policy (didn’t you know that America’s wars are holy wars against the infidel?). We must no longer fall victim to this lie.
No more Religious Right. No more of their theology or their politics. No more. This marriage is over.