The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Justice amid the anger

'Let justice roll down like waters' (Amos 5:24).

Lately it seems there are a lot of angry people. We hear arguing about what our legislators are doing to reform health care or to manage the federal budget. There's shouting and ranting about securing our borders. There are demonstrations, protests and even acts of vandalism when someone decides the way to voice their opinion is to throw a brick through a window. Taxes, gas prices — everything inspires us to complain. Everyone is angry about something.

It isn't uncommon to hear people complain about how current changes in legislation affects them. There is a fear of what new policies will cost. We cry and yell and rant out of a fear of losing our comforts. Majority opinion is replaced by the opinion that can be shouted the loudest. It makes me wonder what we, as people of faith, should really be shouting about.

The prophets have something to say about all of this. Throughout Scripture there is a reminder that sometimes the desires of the majority should take a back seat to the needs of those who struggle to be heard amid all the noise. When we protect our own interests, are we "buying the needy for a pair of sandals" (Amos 8:6)? Are we forgetting to "do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8)? The needs of the poor and oppressed in our world are great — for both those around the globe and in our own backyard.

Our faith calls us to love God and to love our neighbor. How often do special interests take precedence over those who struggle to feed and clothe their family? When we fail to conserve, are we forgetting those who will come after us in the next generation? How are we doing when it comes to loving our neighbor?

I've heard it said that the church is no place to discuss politics, as if faith has no bearing on the decisions we make in our country. This becomes a problem when we turn issues of justice and human rights into political issues. When it comes to caring for others I would hope that we see the value of faith in guiding our decisions, of replacing our fear and anger with compassion and peace. May we place God's call to love our neighbor as ourselves above the bottom line, and may "justice roll down like waters" on the earth.


Russell Melby

Russell Melby

Posted at 11:57 am (U.S. Eastern) 6/22/2010


  Thank you for this reasoned and faithful commentary. 

   Russ Melby

Former ELCA member

Former ELCA member

Posted at 2:35 pm (U.S. Eastern) 6/22/2010

This article represents why I have left the Lutheran Church.  When social justice replaces the Gospel, the church has lost its way.  America is based on the Constitution, it is NOT based on the Gospel.  Jesus made it perfectly clear we are to pay to the government what is due the government, and to give to God what is God's.  When I go to church, I go because I am being called by God to seek His word.  I am not called by my church to support politically correct theories. I will not be part of a church that attempts to shame me into supporting these programs.  The government is not my God.  The government's money is mandated by law to be given.  The money I pay to my church, charities and to those in need come from my heart.  When I am shamed by a church hierarchy to feel guilty if I don't donate to the causes it deems "politically correct", that church has lost its way.  

I find a flaw in the author's contention.  She apparently believes the majority's (the tea party?) concerns should be dismissed.  We are poor stewards if we allow our children to assume TRILLIONS of dollars of debt for the rest of their lives.  We are not Christian if we allocate the mamority of medical dollars on those most viable (persons aged 15-40...it's in the bill).  We cannot pay any longer for illegals.  Theory is fine, but this is the reality we face in America.  We have laws on the books that are not being enforced.  Why are the laws there?  To protect American citizens.  It's not to be heartless or non-Christian. 

Perhaps our thrust should be to encourage other governments to establish more programs for their own citizens so they can produce in their own country.  She apparently believes that those who pay taxes should have NO VOICE in how their taxes are distributed AND the amount they must pay.  As Hilary Clinton once said, "Since when did dissent become unpatriotic"?  I suppose it's when you don't agree with the dissent.  I never saw Code Pink or anti-war protestors face the ridicule and marginalization the Tea Partiers have this last year.  That doesn't sound very Christianlike or tolerant to me.  (By the way, the brick throwing perpetrator charged in that incident was  not one of the "angry majority" the author alludes to her in her article.). 

I'm sorry.  I can't belong to a church that espouses such dogma.  This is not the Gospel.  This is pseudo socialist nonsense.  Our giving comes from our heart and God's calling, not governmental mandates.  This current  health care has NOTHING to do with compassion.  It's control.   The waters of justice will roll over the earth...it will be God's justice, not the government's.  Since when did we replace God's omnipotent justice with the vision of a specific administration?

another patriot

another patriot

Posted at 4:38 pm (U.S. Eastern) 6/22/2010

Amen to what a former ELCA member wrote. I am getting a bit tired of being ridiculed because I believe in what the United States of America stands for and not what some special interest groups want it to be.


Pat Mackes

Pat Mackes

Posted at 3:33 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/6/2010

I echo the comments of Former ELCA Member and Another Patriot.  The time has come to stand up and be counted.  The administration is racing us down the road to socialism, and I am not willing to join the parade. Speaker Pilosi has made tearful pleas that what the government has in store for us is gospel-driven.  Like Former ELCA Member, the government is not my God. Governmental redistribution of wealth is pure socialism. 

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