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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Anderson asks prayer, wisdom in Clinton crisis

Saying "the church extends the promise of God's forgiveness" to President Clinton, ELCA Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson also noted that "forgiveness of sin, however, does not repair the damage that has been done. Personal vows and a sacred public trust have been broken.

"In the weeks to come, our constitutional process will need to determine the president's continuing fitness to serve. Let us pray for wisdom and courage, both for our leaders and for ourselves."
"In the weeks to come, our constitutional process will need to determine the president's continuing fitness to serve. Let us pray for wisdom and courage, both for our leaders and for ourselves."

Anderson's statement was one of several from Lutheran leaders. Richard Jessen, Nebraska Synod bishop, and Herbert W. Chilstrom, former ELCA presiding bishop, both called publicly for Clinton's resignation.

Jessen appeared on PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and asked in the Omaha [Neb.] World Herald that Clinton step aside "not because you are legally required to do so but because it is best for the nation."

Chilstrom, active in the Democratic party in Minnesota, wrote to the Star Tribune, Minneapolis: "Most of us believe that you cannot make a sharp distinction between how you function at your desk in the Oval Office and how you behave in a side room only a few feet away."

Roy Riley, New Jersey Synod bishop, was among religious leaders invited to the prayer breakfast where Clinton said he was a sinner. "It was from this depth of his despair that I believe the president was speaking of his repentance and asking for our forgiveness," Riley said afterward.

Lutheran Church-­Missouri Synod President Alvin Barry stopped short of calling for Clinton's resignation but said the nation will find it difficult to deal with other issues as long as the president remains in office.


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