Government (Civil)

Keeping and Bearing Arms: Much More Than a Constitutional Right

The Second Amendment was not created in a vacuum. The Framers were responding to an already existing mindset about the natural right to bear arms. Klingfuss then moves forward through time, tracing the history of how this right has been interpreted in the American court system in the present.

Editor’s Introduction: Government

Recently in the United States, the debate about the size, scope and role of government has become a contentious issue. While some argue for “limited” government, others call for a more “expansive” role for government. In this issue of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics, one writer provides an historical overview of the ways in Lutherans […]

Changing Lutheran Perspectives on the Role of Government

​The role of government is a debate often seen on the news today. This is not a new development. Weber explores how Lutherans have thought about government’s role during the Reformation in Europe as well as mid-twentieth century America. ​Where have Lutherans come from on this issue and how does this impact Lutherans today?

Providing for the General Welfare: The Goal of Tax Reform

Scripture calls us to aid the poor. Why should that be limited to only the private sphere? Lanoue explores the secular and religious arguments regarding tax reform and how it can help those who truly need it.

American Civil Religion (Fortress Press, 2013)

Book Review: Gary Laderman. American Civil Religion. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013, 93 pages, E-Book $12.99

A Lutheran Covenantal Political Ethic?

[1] Any author hopes for an expository and critical reading of his work of the kind and quality that Ronald Duty has offered of Testing the National Covenant. I have benefitted hugely from reading his review. In developing his argument, this very learned man always stays on the subject. He doesn’t simply jangle the verger’s […]

Resources for the struggle against fear and appetite

[1] Ron Duty begins his review essay with a fine exposition of major portions of William May’s argument in Testing the National Covenant, so I will not cover that ground. Nor will I engage Duty’s (mild) critique of May’s analysis. Since Duty is a political scientist by training, it is not surprising that he focuses […]

Review of Taylor’s, Religion, Politics, and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Powers and American Empire

[1] There are few authors as adept as Mark Lewis Taylor at navigating the fine line between incisive, biting commentary and partisan polemics. Whether he is writing about the criminal justice system (in The Executed God) or the cooptation of religion by repressive political regimes (in the present book), his agenda is clear: the deconstruction […]

When Government Defines “Religious” (Church): An Historical Example

[1] An agency of the federal government issues new regulations that include a definition of a “religious” organization, and critics charge that the definition restricts religious freedom. Sounds like a reference to recent events, and so it is. Yet it is also a summary of events in the late 1970s. The particulars differ but the […]

Theological Themes in Criminal Justice

[1] As one of the members of the recently constituted task force for building a social statement on Criminal Justice for the ELCA, I have been asked to assemble a few key theological themes related to that topic. The following essay, then, is intended neither to break new ground in significant measure nor to sum […]