Presidential Politics and Closed Communion

I received two interesting pieces of mail on the same day.  One was from Houston Lutheran’s Life; the other was another LCMS church’s newsletter.  They both had startling information.

The newsletter had LCMS President Matthew Harrison’s response to the new healthcare law mandating that all employers provide benefits to fund abortion services and abortion inducing drugs.  Harrison rightly says government has overstepped its bounds.  He calls the government “overzealous.”  He says, “We can no longer expect a favored position for Christianity in this country.”  He calls on us to “fight for constitutional sanity against secularizing forces.”

The letter from Houston Lutherans for Life contained a tract from the national Lutherans for Life organization.  The tract is entitled “Is Abortion and Election Issue?”  In part the tract says, “A vote for a pro-abortion candidate implicates the voter in the destruction of children created by God and for whom Jesus died.”

These are strong words.  They place firmly on your conscience the duty to become politically active and to not vote for pro-abortion candidates lest you become implicated in the death of the unborn.

Let’s look at these issues: As to Harrison’s concern, it is the LCMS, Inc. that owns and runs the healthcare plans.  Synod has a bevy of lawyers to litigate this as a religious freedom issue.  I think the Synod will easily win.

What about the Lutheran’s for Life concern? I used to vote based only on the abortion issue.  I did that till I saw when the Republicans had control over both houses of congress they didn’t propose one bill to advance the cause.  That’s when I came to have the opinion that it was really just a pork barrel issue. It’s what the Republicans used to turn out the Christian right.  Since the Christian is free to elect a non-Christian for president, you can’t bind his conscience in the way Lutherans for Life has.  A man may be a faithful Christian, but a horrible president.  While I agree that man who has no regard for life inside the womb will have a lower view of life outside the womb and hence may not be the best of presidents, if you follow Lutherans for Life reasoning, you must be ever vigilant whom you do business with since many major corporations donate to Planned Parenthood.

Here’s the real issue with me with these items.  President Harrison and Lutherans for Life place on your conscience the need to become politically active.  Why hasn’t either of these pointed out that when LCMS churches and members commune with members of the ELCA and the Episcopal Church they are sharing in their sins of abortion.  The ELCA has always funded abortions in their healthcare plan and the Episcopal Church as always been Pro-Choice.  Why don’t we hear calls to stop communing with churches that support the killing of babies?  Why isn’t it placed on the consciences of LCMS pastors who practice open Communion and LCMS members who commune at open Communion altars that they are implicating themselves in the sin of taking the lives of the unborn?

Before any calls go out to Christians to do something political in the world, we should first call on them to do their spiritual duty at home.



About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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