Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mistaken Principles

Pastor Zip tries to stay out of politics on this blog. I'm not always successful, but I try. Not that I don't think about matters political, for I do and have over the last 40 years (Sammy Iacobellis and I marched around the school playground as 3rd graders cheering for Nixon) developed some strong opinions about issues great and small.

But I try to leave them out of this blog because Pastor Zip is, well, a Christian pastor whose vocation is to preach the Gospel so that the Holy Spirit may bring people to faith in Jesus Christ. Politics and governing are, from a Lutheran perspective, perfectly honorable vocations. But while they are both ruled by God for society's benefit (this comes from Luther's Two Kingdoms doctrine, which might be described as a very early version of what we call "the separation of church and state"), they are different and we cross kingdoms (or that "line" of separation) at our peril.

Of course, that "line" between the kingdoms -- not always very clear even in Luther's day -- is ferociously blurred in a republican democracy (I'd have written "democratic republic," but that term was ruined for generations by Stalinist communist regimes). And as an American citizen I have rights and responsibilities. But speaking politically can easily get in the way of preaching the Gospel, so I do my best to keep them separate. If you want my more politically-minded thoughts, see the 21st Century Whig. Even there, though, I aim to address principles more than specific current issues -- and I hope that, if you head over there you'll find that my recent entries (over there and, yes, here) on the response to the Financial Panic of 2008 point to principles.

Yet principles (or the lack thereof) have their consequences. (Yes, that's drawn from Richard Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences.) And I'm particularly struck by an article by Steve Salier that, while offering another analysis of how we got into this financial mess, also speaks of the ELCA and (whatever is left of) mainline protestantism. Don't be put off by his title, "Karl Rove—Architect Of The Minority Mortgage Meltdown", but read it in light of the "reigning ideology of multiculturalism and diversity" that is also the ELCA's. Yes, Saliers is talking politics, partisan politics. But the parallels to the same failed ideology in the within the ELCA and its sphere are, well, startling.

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