The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Government and gospel

Lutherans should be in the midst of the political fray. Are they?

The 1996 campaign is in full swing. Our presidential candidates crisscross the country debating the issues, working the crowds and kissing the required baby or two.

This quadrennial ritual consumes the nation with a mixture of substantive dialogue, confrontational power plays and vacuous fluff.

But something is missing. Again.

No Lutheran is running for president. Bill Clinton is a Baptist, and Bob Dole is a United Methodist.

No Lutheran, in fact, has ever been president. Lutherans are also underrepresented in other national offices. There are more Lutheran citizens than either Episcopalians or Presbyterians, yet fewer are members of Congress.

Lutheran church leaders also have a quieter political voice. While other evangelical officials and Roman Catholic bishops make loud proclamations on public policy issues, Lutheran leaders rarely trumpet their political convictions in the public square.

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