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Messages - Norman Teigen

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This thread has gone on too long, but I wanted to clarify an issue that someone made earlier.  The issue is the ELS and the statement it has made on the ACA.   The statement is a real departure for the ELS in that the little synod has always maintained the teaching of the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms.  Now the ELS has gone political adopting the Republican political line.  How did this happen that the little synod departed from its historic teaching position?

The answer I have found after doing a little digging (it is after all a small synod) is that the synod's action  was influenced by an active set of adherents to the political cause for which the statement was adopted.  Particularly, a member of the ELS Doctrinal Committee, an active seeker of the Republican nomination for the 1st District Congressional seat in Minnesota, came to prevail.  This congressional aspirant is well known in Minnesota and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod as an extreme right wing political exponent.  This candidate,  by his own statements a financially endowed farmer, has come to prevail in the ELS statement on the ACA.   This ELS politician has been mostly unsuccessful in his previous attempts to achieve political office but he has been influential in the little synod as a professor at Bethany College and a member of the Doctrinal Committee.

Members of the would-be congressman's home church, whose pastor is the secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, have told me that they have for many years been greatly embarrassed by their fellow member's extreme political views.  They find it embarrassing that his views should finally be adopted as church policy by the synod.

An examination of this congressional candidate's political statements and the ELS statement on the ACA show marked similarities.

My conclusion is that the ELS statement is a deviation from the historic Lutheran expression of the faith and is more political, not theological, in nature.

Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Yes, it was a much lengthier discussion than I imagined when I began this thread.  I continue to find it personally amazing that so many Lutherans have bought into the machinations of Cardinal Dolan, James Dobson, and Congressman Darrell (Issa).  It is absolutely amazing that good Lutherans overlook the teachings of the Lutheran Church on the Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms in this question.  I can barely comprehend how so many Lutherans  embrace the political lie that the HHA Act mandates abortion.  It is unbelievable that good people believe that providing access to pregnancy prevention is the equivalent of abortion.

Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Interesting exchange of comments.   Thank you all very much for reading my opinions.  Again, there is no war on religion.  There was a compromise and the health insurance companies are to pay for the prescriptions which the RC object to.  There is no First Amendment violation here. The conservative Lutherans have been duped into following along behind Bishop Dolan and the RC.  We are NOT all Catholics now.   Sayonara.

Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Dear Speckhard:

I don't admit the validity of your comparison of opposition to ACA and Jewish religious practices. 

RE Dolan and Dobson.   We Lutherans would agree, I think, that there is a clear distinction to be made  between the  realms of God's kingdom and the kingdom of Caesar.   The influence of  Catholic social policy is, and I admit to having read Herman Sasse, is the desire to ecclesiasticiz[/i]e the world.  Dobson and the Evangelicals would Christianize the world.   Both emphases lead to a "secularization of Christendom."

In Bach's St. John Passion there is the very dramatic section where Jesus appears before Pilate who wants to know if Jesus was King of the Jews.  Bach's text of Christ's response is taken right from the Scriptures:  Mein Reich ist nicht  von dieser Welt; ware mein Reich von diesel Welt, maine Diener warden darob kampfen, dads icy den Juden nicht uberantwortet wurde! abet, nun its mein Reich nicht von dannen.

Mein Reich ist night von dieser Welt:  My kingdom is not of this world.

Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

There is no war on religion.    Catholic social policy should not be made the law of the land.  The Affordable Care Act is not a war on religion and the legislation does not prescribe abortion and sterilization.    Dobson is not mainstream [Are you kidding me?]   Conservative Lutherans have allowed themselves to be deceived by the unholy D Trinity  of  Dolan, Dobson, and Darrell (Issa).  None of the Lutherans have a legal basis to make a case against ACA but have allied themselves with the unholy Trinity and made it a crusade.  The conservative Lutheran crusaders would make their social and political views obligatory on the faithful and that is contrary to sound Lutheran teaching.  The conservative Lutheran crusaders assume a knowledge of politics and social policy which they feel obligated to instill upon the people denying that people in a democracy are quite capable of making up their own minds.  Many faithful Catholics such as Melinda Gates  (see today's TIME magazine) disagree with the right wing views of the bishops.   

It's a sham, good people.  Don't allow yourselves to be deceived.   

Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

I think that the Lutheran paranoia on this subject is the stated idea that the government is out to deprive the Lutherans of religious liberty and freedom under the 1st Amendment.  I cannot address Catholic concerns as I am not a Catholic.  I do note that Catholics are divided on this and that the bishops do not reflect all of the good Catholic faithful.   I think that the Catholic bishops would prefer that social policy conform to its teaching and that, I think, is not a desirable outcome.  I look at Bishop Dolan as the first person in the unholy trinity of the Ds.

The second person in this trinity is James Dobson.  Dobson's evangelicalism represents, in my mind, a view predicated on a presupposition of the world being made holy so that the Lord could return for the Millennium.   As a Lutheran, I don't agree with that either.

The third person in the unholy trinity of the Ds is Congressman Darrell (Issa).   He is a rank political partisan who has cynically exploited the sincere faithfulness of conservative Lutherans into doing some of his dirty political work.  For some to suggest that President Harrison's appearance before Issa's Committee in February was comparable to Luther at Worms demeans the Great Reformer and is worthy of a hearty Bronx cheer.   

Lutherans are to be commended for religious piety and sincerity.  That Lutherans can become deceived by those who closely match their selfish agendas with that of what Lutherans believe demonstrates that Lutherans can be duped, too.  And, as Yossarian observed in Heller's Catch 22, insanity is contagious.

Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

I am thinking that it is not possible to discuss the issues involved in the ACA matter.  SCOTUS has made its decision.   There are some 23 cases pertaining to the issues of religious liberty.   I posit the idea that the ACA was never a threat to religious liberty, that the reactions to the ACA by conservative Lutherans were determined by Dolan, Dobson, and Darrell (Issa), and that the discourse is more characteristic of religious paranoia than theology.

Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

Thanks for the various responses.   I will try to do a CSI on the Indiana Seminary statement on the Affordable Health Care matter.   I feel that this must be a reasonable exposition of the topic.  I find this document on the CTSFW site.  I find nine, I think it is nine, paragraphs and I will do the CSI one paragraph at a time.   I think that some interesting comments should come out of this.

My approach is analysis rather than evaluation, at least in these initial stages.  I hope that the audience would also engage in analysis in comments.   I was an English teacher a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away and that is how I approached these problems with my students.  Analyze before evaluation.

Thank you all for your responses.  Sorry about the Simple Layman thing.  I don't want to steal from anyone.   

I do have some concerns about the Affordable Health Act debate.  No need for me to state what these considerations are.  I would encourage whomever would do so, to do a CSI kind of analysis on the arguments used.

Years ago I read a significant book by Richard Weaver titled The Ethics of Rhetoric.  I seem to have lost my copy but I have done some digging.  Readers who don't have access to this book might find a summary by Roger Gilles from 1966 titled   Richard Weaver Revisited:  Rhetoric, Left, Right, and Middle.

A few essentials here to get started.   Weaver says that there are four essential arguments.  1) argument from definition   2)  argument from similitude, or analogy   3)  arguments from consequence,  and 4) argument from .

There it is.     Let's get started.

Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

I am a simple Lutheran layman.  I am not a scholar.  I am not an ethicist.  I am not a rhetorician.   I simply have noted some strange things in the discussion about the Affordable Health Care Act discussion. I am asking  people define the issues behind the words and to identify pre-existing assumptions of the common assertions about the Act itself.   

Is this a political question or is this a question that is to be resolved by an appeal to revelation?

The ethics of rhetoric would include a consideration of how issues and ideas are presented with an acknowledgment that the audience must be treated with dignity and respect.    One does not assault a person with a stick on the street.  The ethics of rhetoric require the same set of consideration in discourse.

Well, I think that we are off to a good start.  Respondents are raising good questions and making valid points.   Here is another place to start from.  Yesterday, as I was reading about the death of Chuck Colson I learned of a document with which I was unfamiliar.   The document was prepared in May 1994 under the title "Evangelicals and Catholics Together:   The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium."

The authors asserts that "Christians individually and the church corporately have a responsibility for the right ordering of civil society."   And, "law and culture must be secured by moral truth."

Is THIS where the debate about the Affordable Health Care debate has its origination?   Is it true that Christians have a responsibility for the right ordering of civil society?  Must law and culture be secured for moral truth?

These are important questions, I think.  I propose that how one answers these core questions determines in some way how one perceives the Affordable Care Act debate.

Well, we're off to a start.   I want to get deeper on this subject.  I want to get  beyond the repetition of the common phrases.   

This is not an original idea with me, but in any discussion there has to be a starting point.  Somewhere there is a Thomas Kelly who wrote:  "At any given time which theories are accepted typically plays a crucial role in guiding the subsequent search for evidence which bears on their theories."  What, in  this Affordance Care Act discussion are the core theories?

To put it another way, as the eminent philosopher Leo Strauss titled his book "What Is Political Philosophy?"

Strauss states that "philosophy is essentially not possession of the truth, but quest for the truth."     Political philosophy has its intention "the attempt to replace opinion about the nature of political things by knowledge of the nature of political things."

Is the Affordable Care Act  debate about philosophy?  Is it about political philosophy?

Or, is it about theology and religion?   Strauss states that "by political theology we understand political teachings which are based on divine revelation."

Is this Affordable Care Act debate about revelation?

What are the underlying principles of this debate?   Where the debate starts indicates where it will ultimately go.

I am interested in the general theory of the ethics of rhetoric.  How do people persuade, what methods do people use in their persuasive arguments?  What assumptions have been made about the intended audience and how have these assumptions determined  the content of the arguments in the two months since the matter became a main topic of consideration for many religious organizations.

I am indicating here a dissatisfaction with the techniques of persuasion used in the HHS debate.  I am suggesting that there has been a deficiency in the quality of the arguments used to advance the interests of a religious coalition made up of bishops,  evangelicals, and  conservative Lutherans against the Affordable Care Act. 

Norman Teigen, Layman
Evangelical Lutheran Synod

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