Editor’s response to the February 2021 Issue

[1] The February 2021 Issue of JLE was intended to create a place for diverse opinions and deeper deliberations about racism, justice, and equity in the ELCA at a time when the nation is reeling with both systemic racism and racist violence. The issue more than missed this mark.  It created a painful distraction for many from the important work towards authentic diversity in our church.  As editor, I acknowledge and apologize for the hurt that the February issue caused, especially that which affected many of the most hard working and dedicated members of the ELCA leadership including those that serve on ELCA’s Authentic Diversity Advisory Team.

[2] In particular, I want to apologize for the lack of authentic diversity amongst the authors whose work was published in the February issue. Especially, on the topic at hand, it was important to present a variety of voices of Black, indigenous, and other people of color.  This issue failed to contain any where near enough of these voices.

[3] While the Journal of Lutheran Ethics seeks to publish disparate and even opposing viewpoints among its essays, the editor of the Journal has a responsibility to ensure that the essays do not contain egregious errors or faulty assumptions. I am indebted to staff and the leaders of the Authentic Diversity Advisory Team who reached out to me after the publication of Peters’ essay to clarify where the essay had failed to honor the facts.  This issue publishes the letter from this table as well as an essay of response by Revs. Priscilla Paris-Austin and Elizabeth Rawlings.  Both these pieces serve the readers of JLE well.

[4] In the future, the advisory council and the editorial staff will work more closely with ELCA staff to connect with leadership groups within the ELCA in order to fact check submitted essays. We will also work with those groups to recruit more authentically diverse authors to contribute to JLE.  We hope that with these relationships and connections more firmly in place, JLE can be a far better resource for all who seek to be part of constructive conversation in order to stimulate robust engagement with theological ethics across the church and academy.


Jennifer Hockenbery

Jennifer Hockenbery serves as Editor of the Journal of Lutheran Ethics .  She is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of Humanities at St Norbert College. She attends Grace Lutheran Church in Green Bay, WI.