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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

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.