ELCA’s Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson (Photo credit elca.org)
Several weeks ago, Mark S. Hanson, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), gave the keynote address at a pro-LGBT rally in Washington, DC. It was organized by Reconcilingworks, an organization within the ELCA that, according to its website, exists for the sole purpose of “affirming sexual diversity” so that people can “reconcile their spirituality and sexuality in an uplifting way.” the rally was at historic Luther Place Memorial Church.
Hanson began with thanking his audience and praising the ELCA as a “church committed to welcoming all while valuing our differences and respecting diversity.” Hanson further proclaimed that the ELCA’s accepting of “diverse” sexuality and the ordination of LGBT ministers is a witness to the gospel: “Our diversity (in sexuality) gives strength to the unity we have in our bearing witness in word and deed to the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
The ELCA abandoned its expectation of traditional sexual ethics by its clergy in 2009.
Most of Hanson’s speech was simply praising the audience for their work in a range of liberal causes and encouraging them to continue under the auspice of “God’s ministry of reconciliation.” Of this ministry of reconciliation, Hanson said that it was the calling of the ELCA to fight against ” a culture and world that continue to fortify borders and erect barriers to protect and preserve power and privilege, be that power and privilege by virtue of our gender, race, sexual orientation, economic class or citizenship.”
Hanson added that “there is a steely resolve to protect and preserve privilege by perpetuating and adopting attitudes and actions, policies and practices that exclude.” Essentially, according to the bishop, the church has a Biblical mandate to affirm “diverse sexuality,” engage in class warfare, and fight for amnesty for illegal immigrants. Of course also included was fighting racial and gender discrimination, which more often than not tends to involve witch hunts to find racists and gender discriminators where they don’t exist.
Hanson went full steam ahead with the social justice theme saying: “We will not always agree on what justice is called for. Some will argue restorative justice, others might say distributive justice, still others retributive justice. What is given is that, as the baptized, we will be engaged in the struggle for justice.”
Even more troubling from the leader of the ELCA, Hanson triumphantly touted the ecumenical posture of his denomination by recounting how he had Muslim activist Sayyid Sayeed come to speak at the ELCA’s 2011 Churchwide Assembly. During that speech, Sayeed praised the ELCA for its work in supporting the Palestinian Arabs and for fighting the ostensible phenomenon of “Islamophobia.”
ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly Conference 2011 (Photo credit elca.org)
What’s so troubling about that? Well, Sayeed is the interfaith officer for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that was birthed in the early 1980’s from the Muslim Student Association (MSA), which itself was founded in part by the Egyptian based Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. ISNA was declared an “unindicted co-conspirator” in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Justice during the Holy Land Foundation investigation, a trial that unearthed evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood had been orchestrating a campaign through dozens of Islamic organizations on American soil to fund Islamic terrorist activities. Sayyid Sayeed’s ISNA was among those organizations with collaborative links to terrorist organizations overseas.
That fairly well sums up the spirit of Bishop Hanson’s address: homosexuality, social justice, class warfare, amnesty for illegals, and befriending allies of overseas Islamists. Of course there were a few other liberal issues that got left out like abortion rights (which the ELCA supports), but he got pretty close to covering the full gambit. With all that on their hands, one could well wonder where they find the time for worship, discipleship, or preaching the Gospel to the lost. For our regular readers, it may therefore be no surprise to find that within just the last decade, the ELCA has lost around 1 million members and now hovers at around 4 million parishioners. At the rate the ELCA is going in terms of real numbers, the denomination may not even exist by 2050.