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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The way we were: 1966

American Lutheran Church's general convention votes on "War, Peace and Freedom"

Voting members at the American Lutheran Church's Third General Convetion

On one of the many times when the voice vote was close enough to call for a count, these North Pacific District delegates cast their vote at The American Lutheran Church's Third General Convention, held at Central Lutheran Church , Minneapolis, Oct. 19-25, 1966. The ALC was one of three church bodies that merged to form the ELCA in 1987.

According to coverage in The Lutheran Standard, a predecessor of The Lutheran, this Vietnam-era convention was particularly vibrant and "alive." There were 982 voting members, including 22 females and four African-Americans.

Approved unanimously, a statement on "War, Peace and Freedom" acknowledged the difficulty of deciding whether a war is just but allowed for conscientious objection. "War cannot be called good, righteous or holy," the statement read, yet it maintained that war may be necessary. Another statement adopted by the convention said the ALC was "uneasy and troubled over the U.S. involvement in Vietnam," adding that accurate information is difficult to secure. In endorsing "the stated aims of our nation's government in assisting Vietnam," the statement said, "We know America renounces any claims to colonialism." But it added, "Many of us have an uneasy feeling that our nation's actions may at times belie our stated aims."

During the convention discussions, Lutheran student groups held a prayer vigil outside the church.


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