LCMS president on immigration issues

Cuban immigrants head to Ysleta Lutheran Mission in El Paso, Texas

Cuban immigrants head to Ysleta Lutheran Mission in El Paso

When it comes to immigration issues, there is the obligation of the State to enforce the law.  But, for the Church, there is also the obligation to minister to those in need.  Now that President Trump is cracking down on immigration–rightly so, many of us would say–our Lutheran Hispanic congregations and our various Hispanic ministries are dealing with a sense of panic and insecurity among many of those to whom they are ministering.  LCMS president Matthew Harrison has written a letter of encouragement and support to synod members in Hispanic ministry.

The letter has a lot of nuance, but it is full of sympathy for the immigrants’ plight.  Read it after the jump.

Note the reference to an official study of the issue from the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations, written back in 2012:  “Immigrants Among Us: A Lutheran Framework for Addressing Immigration Issues.”


Photo by Erik M. Lunsford, LCMS News & Information

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Trump’s immigration edicts 

512px-Immigration_Reform_Leaders_Arrested_1President Trump has issued executive orders that provide for the building of a wall on the U.S./Mexico border; will cut off federal aid from “sanctuary cities”; and that will beef up border control enforcement.

He has also prepared an executive order that will temporarily halt the admittance of immigrants from countries with a history of terrorism (specifically, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia).  The current refugee program is being frozen until “extreme vetting” procedures can be put into place.  An exception is being made for immigrants facing religious persecution for belonging to a minority religion.

Details after the jump.

The wall will begin construction “in a matter of months.”  It will be built with U.S. funds, but Trump said that Mexico will reimburse us.  Trump is meeting next week with the president of Mexico to discuss how he is going to get that country to pay for it.  UPDATE:  After President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico announced that his country would NOT pay for the wall, that meeting has been cancelled.  UPDATE:  Trump spokesmen say that the wall will be funded by a 20% tax on Mexican goods coming into the U.S.

This is what Trump said he would do, and this was one of his major campaign issues.

Is this discriminatory?  heartless?  common sense? restoring “the rule of law” (as Trump calls it)? [Read more…]

Obama commutes Pvt. Manning’s sentence for leaking military secrets

Bradley_Manning_US_ArmyIn one of his last official acts, President Obama used his Constitutional power to grant pardons to commute the sentence of Pvt. Bradley Manning, who leaked thousands of military and diplomatic secrets during the Iraq War.  Manning, who has served 7 years of a 35 year sentence at the military prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, now goes by the name of  “Chelsea” and has been seeking government-funded gender-reassignment surgery.

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks who is holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London,  has said  that if Obama commutes Manning, he would agree to extradition in the United States to face charges of publishing classified material.  (That would presumably be better than extradition to Sweden to face charges of rape and sexual assault.)  Manning’s revelations helped bring Wikileaks to prominence.

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Czech Republic tells citizens to arm themselves

Cz805The Czech Republic, perhaps the most pro-gun nation in Europe, has called on its citizens to arm themselves as a line of defense against terrorists.

Meanwhile, the former Soviet satellite has been battling the European Union, of which it is a member, which has been trying to pass more gun restrictions.  With the help of Finland, Germany, and various national “right wing” groups, the measure was weakened.  But the version that passed will still force member nations, including the Czechs, to impose a ban on “military-style” firearms and to require gun buyers to pass “psychological checks.”

Nevertheless, the Czechs are considering a constitutional amendment to strengthen gun rights. [Read more…]

Obama gets tough on immigration

Carnival_Liberty_Cuban_RefugeesWith about a week left in office, President Obama has finally cracked down on immigration:  against Cubans.   Escapees from our Communist neighbor have long been given automatic legal immigrant status once they arrive on our shores. But no more.  Now they will be returned for punishment.

The Obama administration says that now, in light of our “normalized relations” with Cuba, Cuban refugees will be treated like any other immigrants.  Except other immigrants are allowed to enter illegally with impunity and they are hardly ever returned to their homelands.  Yes, Fidel Castro is dead, but his brother Raul, now in charge, is also said to be a merciless dictator.  Cubans fleeing Communism tend to be freedom-loving types who–like the families of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz–tend to become conservative Republicans. Could this have anything to do with this tightly-focused crackdown?  Surely not.

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Gay divorce

divorce-1021280_640We have gay marriage.  Now we are also getting gay divorce.  The New York Times has published an op-ed piece entitled  “I Got Gay Married. I Got Gay Divorced. I Regret Both.”  The author, Meredith Maran, tells with poignant honesty how she crusaded for gay marriage, took the plunge, but then went through a long, costly, and painful divorce.

After the jump, theology professor Denny Burk quotes from the article and comments on the problem:  wanting the rights of marriage without the norms of marriage (fidelity, permanence).

The same could be said of many heterosexual marriages.  But is there anything about gay relationships that makes permanence especially difficult?  What role might bearing children play in making marriage permanent?  But how would you account for marriages with children that break up anyway?  Some people are saying that marriages shouldn’t necessarily be permanent at all, though breakups are still traumatic, even for those who think that way.  Do you have any suggestions for lowering the incidence of divorce, including among heterosexual Christians?
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