In a recent pastoral letter, President Matthew C. Harrison of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) denounced what he called “disturbing ideologies” that have no place in the church.
Harrison’s statement comes amid growing concerns over the rise of White supremacist extremist groups and hate speech in the United States, particularly among certain Christian communities.
“We were shocked to learn recently that a few members of LCMS congregations have been propagating radical and unchristian ‘alt-right’ views via Twitter and other social media,” Harrison wrote.
“They are causing local disruption and consternation for their pastors, congregations and district presidents. They have publicly stated that they seek the destruction of the LCMS leadership. They have made serious online threats to individuals and scandalously attacked several faithful LCMS members. Through these social media posts, even our wonderful deaconesses have been threatened and attacked,” he continued before making a definative moral statement.
“This is evil. We condemn it in the name of Christ,” Harrison clearly stated.
Harrison then goes on to offer those who have sinned through the propagation of their racist ideologies the opportunity to repent for their sins.
If they refuse, however, the Lutheran leader explained the drastic consequences.
“Where that call to repentance is not heeded, there must be excommunication,” he wrote.
In his statement, Harrison went on to emphasize the importance of love, compassion, and inclusion in the church.
He condemned any form of racism, bigotry, or discrimination, and called on all members of the church to reject these harmful ideologies.
Harrison also stressed the need for dialogue and understanding, encouraging members of the church to engage in respectful conversations with those who hold different beliefs.
Harrison’s statement is an important reminder of the values that the church should stand for. Christianity is a religion of love and compassion, and it should always promote inclusivity and respect for all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or religion.
The fact that some members of the church have espoused extremist views is deeply troubling and goes against everything that Christianity represents.
Unfortunately, the problem of extremist groups and hate speech is not limited to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
In recent years — especially since Donald Trump arrived on the political scene — we have seen a disturbing rise in hate crimes and extremist groups in the United States.
These groups often use divisive and inflammatory language to promote their hateful ideologies, and they target vulnerable communities for harassment and violence.
It is important for all religious leaders to speak out against hate and extremism and to promote the values of love and inclusivity.
We cannot allow hateful ideologies to take hold in our communities and tear us apart. Instead, we must work together to build a society that is based on respect, understanding, and compassion.
One way to combat hate and extremism is to promote education and dialogue. By engaging in respectful conversations with those who hold different beliefs, we can learn from each other and build bridges of understanding.
We can also teach our children about the dangers of hate and extremism and encourage them to be open-minded and inclusive.
Another important step is to support civil rights organizations and advocacy groups that are working to promote justice and equality. These groups play an important role in protecting the rights of marginalized communities and promoting inclusivity and respect.
Ultimately, the fight against hate and extremism is a collective effort that requires all of us to do our part.
We must speak out against hate wherever we find it and work to build a society that is based on love, compassion, and inclusivity.
We must reject any ideology that seeks to divide us and instead embrace our diversity as a source of strength.
The statement by the president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is an important step in this fight, and we commend him for his leadership.
We call on all religious leaders to follow his example and speak out against hate and extremism in all its forms. Together, we can hopefully build a society that is based on love and respect for all people, and we can create a better future for ourselves and our children.
You can read the entire text of the pastoral letter from President Matthew C. Harrison of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod here.
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