The campaign season has brought many news stories and analysis pieces on religion's role in the presidential election. Beyond questions of whether Democrats can win more evangelicals' votes or whose health-care plan is most just, however, are deeper questions of how God has called Christians to act in society. In the coming months before the election, Christianity Today will be publishing a wide spectrum of viewpoints on the proper role of Christianity in electoral politics. Here, Uwe Siemon-Netto offers his Lutheran perspective.
The religious aspect of the 2008 election leaves this confessional Lutheran once again mystified. First there was the kerfuffle over whether Christians could elect a Mormon to the White House, a dispute making no sense to followers of Martin Luther, who said, "The emperor need not be a Christian so long as he possesses reason." Meanwhile, the amiable Mike Huckabee mused inexplicably about an alleged need to conform the Constitution more to the Bible. Then John McCain got in hot water for accepting the endorsement of Texas pastor John Hagee, a vituperative critic of the Roman Catholic Church.
The latest uproar is over the church Sen. Barack Obama has affiliated himself with, and whether he should have fled Jeremiah Wright after the pastor offered such hideous political pronouncements as "God damn America."
All this makes a staunch Lutheran groan in desperation. Did not Christ tell Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36)? Which of these seven words is so hard to understand?
Hearing Wright's unsettling videos (and Obama's elucidations) made me think fondly of my own congregation. I belong to Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in downtown Washington, D.C. This is an all-black parish, just like ...1
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