July 14, 2011

BACHMANN BRIEF: THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BACHMANN'S

A monumental schism in the early 16th century, between a German priest and theologian, and the Pope , was responsible for the Protestant Reformation in Europe, and planted the seeds for a religious movement that evolved into the Lutheran Church.

Martin Luther took on Pope Leo X in 1517, and challenged the Catholic doctrine of justification, where the sacrament of penance, combined with charity and good works, provided salvation to the faithful. He questioned how man (i.e., the pope or a priest) could usurp the word of God, the scripture in the bible, and confer indulgences on the faithful, when these acts of contrition were for sale. The Pontiff offered credit for charity and good works, in exchange for money, and Martin Luther asserted that these actions were antithetical to the teachings of the bible.

Martin Luther believed the scriptures held that God loved all people, sinners all, and that through faith, in him, as well as the infallible word of God (scripture), that one would receive everlasting salvation in the kingdom of heaven.

The Pontiff, and the Holy Roman Empire, concluded that Martin Luther was a heretic, and he was ex-communicated. They branded him an outlaw, banned his literature and teaching, made it a crime for anyone to feed or shelter the priest, issued an arrest warrant, and allowed anyone to murder the cleric, without any penalties or consequences.
Martin Luther
Martin Luther went into hiding, and German nobility hid and protected the priest, which enabled him to continue his work unabated. The Bible was written in Latin, and the theologian spent this time translating it to German. For the first time, the word of God could be read and consumed by the masses, and the Lutheran movement was born.

For over 400 years, elements within the Roman Catholic church, and Lutheran church, eyed each other with suspicion.

In 1999, the Lutheran World Federation and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, called a truce. After years of ecumenical negotiations, they released a "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" that said, "By grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping us and calling us to good works."

In 2010, The National Council of Churches reported that the largest church in the US was  the Roman Catholic Church, with 68 million members. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the 7th largest, with 4.6 million members. The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS), the 14th largest church has 2.3 million members, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), has about 400,000 members.

While I was researching and studying Martin Luther, and the Lutheran Church, and the Lutheran church in America, the amount of history, rivalries, wars and skirmishes, and disagreements in Europe and the United States, could make your head spin.

The Lutheran church came to our shores with European immigrants, and wherever they settled, they founded a Lutheran church. In spite of differences in language, geography, and countries of origin, the churches were all  united by Martin Luther's bible based teachings, and devotion to scripture. The Lutheran churches in America have been consolidating for the last 100 years, and the three largest are outlined below. 


Theological, historical, and cultural views continue to separate the various Lutheran churches in the US.

In my chart above, "Ordains" indicates who the church will ordain as a minister. "Leaders" are church members, or laity, who are elected to run individual churches. "Fellowship" is open to interpretation in some faiths, but in the Lutheran church, it refers to the practice of allowing other Lutherans, access to the pulpit, and altar, when they aren't a member of that church. Evolution refers to Darwinism, creationism (intelligent design), and Genesis to the Book of Genesis in scripture, and indicates the churches position. From marriage equality, to working on Sundays, to many other issues addressed in the scripture, each church has studied scripture and developed their statements of doctrine, based on how they view and interpret the bible.

Why is all of this important? The Stillwater Minnesota resident running for president, was a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod church. She apparently resigned a year ago, in anticipation of running for President.

WELS ordains men for the ministry, allows fellowship with other Christians only if there is complete unity in matters of doctrine, women may not be ordained as ministers, and women can't vote within their congregations where authority is exercised over men. The church holds that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God, and they still support the doctrinal statement issued in 1959, that the Pope is the anti-Christ. WELS rejects modern liberal scholarship completely.

The WELS church has an excellent website. The church explains the religion, and church doctrine, in language that is easy to understand, with supporting scripture cited where necessary. The church has an extensive archive of questions and answers, related to doctrine, cultural issues, marriage equality, mental health, church governance, and more, and they answer questions honestly, and with compassion.

I'm not a student of religion, or an expert in any way. Researching this information was informative, and while I would prefer that all religions accepted LGBT individuals with no strings, there will always be religious groups, and churches, that interpret the Bible to say our sexuality is wrong and an abomination. People, individuals who are members of a church, theologians, and the clergy, can change the views within a church, and we've seen that happen. Churches and religion will continue to evolve, reflecting the society we live in.

I fully expected to see fire and brimstone when I was pouring over WELS website, and was looking over my shoulder, waiting for the thunderbolt to appear in the sky headed my way. It didn't happen, and nothing offended me. Just because someone says we sin, does not incur my wrath. It is the virulent homophobes, the one's that spread hate, incite violence and spew lies and misinformation, demonstrating un-christian behavior that I have a beef with.

The most fascinating part of this story is the fact that WELS does not say marriage equality will destroy the fabric of our nation, it doesn't advocate treating the LGBT community with anything but love and respect. They encourages parents of LGBT children to maintain relationships with their children.  WELS says that while church teachings wouldn't allow LGBT members, the "sin" of being gay is no greater, than any other sin, and that our community should be respected and loved.

I really was convinced that Mr. and Mrs. Bachmann learned their hatred for us, in their church. What I was wrong about, was that they didn't learn it in their WELS church. Those seeds were planted at a much younger age, and considering that it took 7 years for Bachmann to graduate from Oral Roberts Law School, she was living in Oklahoma all that time, where gay folk aren't real welcome (Sally Kern).

I may never figure out the truth about the Bachmann's, because they lie, and refuse to answer questions, but I would love to know where the abundance of hate comes from. If anyone can shed some light on this for me, I'd appreciate it.

The truth about the Bachmann's is that they lack true christian virtues. The truth about the Bachmann's hateful feelings begin with their mouths, and digs deep within their souls. The truth about the Bachmann's is that as long as they continue to run for cover, that the real truth always comes out.

Maybe the answer is as simple as....her husband is busy with his demons, and he's not attuned to hers.

Je suis un francophile, et aimer la France! Joyeux 14th Juillet!


Written and posted by Haightmale on the blog "Tie-dyed Jive in the (415)"

http://haightmale.blogspot.com/



PLEASE NOTE: Shit happens. I have been researching and studying Mary and Michele's Lutheran church for over a week, only to find out as I was editing the first draft, that she resigned from Salem Lutheran Church and WELS a year ago. Looking at her church isn't a bad thing, as I'm sure her views are informed by some of the church doctrine (Including being a submissive wife), but without help, it's a lot of information to consume, and it takes time to examine the research and material critically, so that you can begin writing compelling and interesting commentary. I feel this is somewhat incomplete, and I'm sorry for that, but you learn and move on.

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