A year before election our 2016 presidential campaigns are certainly unusual! The leading Republican candidates are much further right than previously and a socialist-democracy is one of two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination. It is startling to hear Bernie Sanders almost directly quote Grundtvig, when he speaks about income inequality: the United States has “too many who are way too rich, and too many who are way too poor.”
At first I took no interest in the news that Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, KY, had turned away a homosexual couple (two Davids— David Ermold and David Moore) who were seeking a marriage license. Ms. Davis claimed to be acting “under God’s authority.” As a result she spent five days in jail.
Then I happened to catch a few minutes of her speech after she was released on September 8 (Grundtvig’s birthday). She spoke at a rally: “I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people. “ Kim went on to assure her now vast audience that ”God knows where each and every one of us are,” so we should “keep pressing.” Apparently, if we want to please God and go to heaven, God is watching and we must keep pressing on the homosexual-marriage issue.
Reprinted from the June 2015 Post Script of Church & Life.
Congratulations to the Nebraska State Legislature (a unicameral body) which on May 27, 2015 abolished the death penalty by overriding the governor’s veto! This occurred in spite of the Governor, Pete Ricketts, who campaigned on a pro-death penalty. The vote was 30-19, just enough to override a veto. In every session of the legislature since 1981, a bill to abolish the death penalty has been introduced. Persistence is sometimes rewarded! Nebraska, the 19th state in the United States to eliminate the death penalty, is the first state with a predominantly Republican legislature to do so since North Dakota abolished the death penalty 42 years ago. At the time of passage there were ten people in Nebraska on death row, but only three inmates have been executed since 1976 when the US Supreme Court allowed resumption of executions. During that time, 11 people have been given clemency.
Reprinted from the May 2015 Post Script of Church & Life.
The mass murders at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston SC on June 17, 2015 redefined how incredibly bad or misguided people can be. (A young man comes into a church, sits with people in the congregation and then murders nine wonderful people.) How can anyone be that poisoned by racism? Why do we allow such people to have guns? I was shocked, saddened, nearly sickened by the tragedy. Listening to the families’ forgiving words to the accused murderer at his bond hearing, I was amazed at their incredible faith and sincerity at a time of unspeakable heartbreak. Since then, I have learned something about the church and Denmark Vesey, co-founder of the church in 1818, and why he was named “Denmark.”
Reprinted from the May-June 2015 Post Script of Church & Life.
Professor Joe Sittler‘s statement quoted in Ralph Andersen’s conclusion about the legacy of the AELC (American (Grundtvigian) Evangelical Lutheran Church) is astonishing. “You are the only group in western Christianity which has taken nature with theological and moral seriousness.” Sittler distinguished the AELC church as the church that takes the first article of the Apostolic Creed more seriously than any other: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth.” Most other Christian churches focus on the second article: “And in Jesus Christ, his only son…etc. ” Perhaps it should not have been such a surprising statement that ours was the only(?) Church which emphasizes life on earth as ”An appropriate place to praise God, thank God and find fellowship with God”… the place for “divine redemption and the realm of reconciliation.” Sittler made this statement in 1976. We did not understand in the 60s or the 70s (let alone in the 1800s during Grundtvig’s time) how important this aspect of our heritage is. We were not aware of climate change, global warming, carbon emissions, fracking, mercury poisoning, water and mining pollution, rising levels of oceans. Further, the political power of the oil lobby did not seem to be threatening our democracy and our future. No wonder caring for the earth didn’t seem that critical. Thankfully, today, other Christian churches have become much more earth conscious.
Driving home from Marquette MI, a 130 miler, in barely any traffic, my mind was wandering when I noticed too late a state patrol car on the other side of the highway. Oh, dear I thought, and immediately slowed down. In the rearview mirror I watched as the twirling red bubble-light atop the blue patrol car turned around to follow me. My heart sank. I stopped the car and rolled down the window.
Reprinted from the May 2015 Post Script of Church & Life.
Reprinted from the March-April 2015 Post Script of Church & Life.
How long ago is 50 years? How long? Too long? Racism is taking far too long to end! We continue having many setbacks. I read the speech that Dr. Martin Luther King gave on the capitol steps of the Alabama capital 50 years ago. It has so much to say to us today; the march in Alabama was about ending violence and giving Black America the right to vote! King’s speech claims segregation, encouraging racism, is about political power—money!
Reprinted from the February 2015 Post Script of Church & Life.
We have a new development in US elections. Two people, Charles and David Koch, and a small number of mostly anonymous friends (approximately 300), announced they will spend $889 million in the 2016 election aimed at presidential and congressional races. That’s huge! In 2012 the Republican National Committee combined with the party’s two congressional campaign committees raised $650 million. The Democratic Party raised a total of $839 million. The Koch brothers are outspending both parties.
Reprinted from the January 2015 Post Script of Church & Life.
The terrorists who on January 7, 2015 attacked the French newspaper and grocery store have been shot; the 12-16 people who died from the shootings are laid to rest; the mourners, while still in shock, are trying to go on with their lives. Once again we are handling the afterwards, responding to violence and shootings. What is it all about other than killing innocent people? Why?
Reprinted from the September-October 2014 Postscript of Church & Life.
Who/what is, and is not a person, is basic to our democracy; personhood is the basis for establishing equality. But right now the struggle in itself is not even newsworthy! It is receiving little attention. We are hungrier to hear about war in Iraq or Syria or about football stars who beat up their wives.