Issue: November 2004: The Political Election

Volume 4 Number 11

Lutheran Tradition and Politics

[1] The two-realm teaching in Lutheran social ethics is something quite different from the notion of separation of church and state as it has evolved in the United States political tradition. It is Luther’s attempt to translate his law and gospel distinction to the public realm featuring the complex life of society – the province […]

Neglected Issues in this Political Campaign

[1] It has become commonplace to observe that in this television age political campaigns tend to be reduced to sound bytes and thirty-second ads designed to project an image of the candidate or of his or her opponent. Any serious discussion of issues thus tends to be constrained by these requirements of campaign methods. [2] […]

Penultimate Answers: Lutheran Theology, Politics, and Dissent

[1] A basic difficulty in the application of Lutheran theological insights to the current political scene is the fundamentally static nature of much of Luther’s thinking about the relationship of state and citizen. That is, Luther’s political writings focus much more narrowly upon the duties and powers of temporal authority in general and the individuals […]

The Politics of Fear in a Season of Campaigning

[1] “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” As he stood in the Ellipse, my father-in-law remembers that the only thing he was really afraid on that wintry day was frostbite. But I am not worried about the weather. What concerns me is how far this country has traveled from Roosevelt’s insight. Fear has […]

What are the Forgotten Issues of this Election?

[1] A substantial number of the forgotten issues in this election involve questions of intergenerational justice. Consider the following: Both the Hospital Insurance part of Medicare (Part A) and Social Security are headed for bankruptcy-Medicare Part A in the next few years, Social Security a few years down the road. Both are financed by taxes […]

What Has Been Overlooked?

[1] It is not an original thought. I heard one of the TV pundits discussing the point after the last debate; but it struck home. Over these past weeks of campaigning, the middle class has been front and center. People are losing jobs and health care. The elderly can’t get the prescription drugs they need. […]

What’s NOT Being Discussed in This Election Season?

[1] After Journal of Lutheran Ethics invited me to consider the question above for this special election issue, I decided to frame my own reflections by way a broader conversation with a few colleagues from my institution, Goucher College in Baltimore. I gathered together Sociologist Janet Shope, Political Scientist Nick Brown and International Studies Professor […]

An Introduction to Jean Bethke Elshtain and to reviews of her book, Just War Against Terror

[1] Jean Bethke Elshtain is not a novice to the disputes surrounding our culture wars. Hers is a steady, sober, and prevailing voice in today’s debates over the trials of democracy, the relationship of ethics to international politics, and the place for patriotic allegiance in a pluralistic world. [2] She has written 17 books, 340+ […]

Preface to the November 2004 Issue: The Political Election

[1] Last night I watched a television special in which the commentator compared the candidates in everything from the pathos of their siblings to the way they parted their hair to the breed of the family dog. I have to admit that I was surprised to learn that George W. Bush is a small dog […]

Elections, Lutherans, and Ethics: The History of the Church’s Involvement in Politics

[1] Elections present a host of questions that pertain to Lutheran involvement in politics. Given Luther’s emphasis on following conscience but the reality of political differences causing undo tension within the church, what exactly should Lutherans do? An examination of Lutheran history offers potential answers and, at the same time, frustrating ambiguity. [2] Lutherans historically […]

Response to Mark Noll’s Editorial, “None of the Above: Why I Won’t Vote for President”

[1] Though I disagree thoroughly with the thrust of Mark Noll’s recent editorial in The Christian Century, there is one important comfort I derive from it. That comes from the fact that the essay confirms one of my deeply held beliefs: one can share with fellow Christians the core of Christian faith and morals and […]

Response to “None of the Above”

[1] I admit to being something of a partisan of lost causes, and voting for none of the above is surely a lost cause. Mark Noll, a fellow partisan in at least this one respect, will continue his practice of the past few presidential elections in voting for none of the above; if I vote […]

What are the Forgotten Issues in this Election?

[1] I asked students in a course I teach that is required of all students at Lenoir-Rhyne College about the major election issues. Their responses were fairly uniform: the economy (and unemployment), the war, and education. Interestingly the African American students and the Hispanic students have similar concerns, but they were stated somewhat differently. These […]

A Few Thoughts on Temporal Authority and Why it Should be Obeyed or Mark Noll Needs to Vote!

[1] What’s a Lutheran to say about Mark Noll’s essay “None of the Above: Why I’m not Voting for President”? Noll says he’s not voting. In fact, he hasn’t voted in years — not because he’s too lazy to go to the polls or because he doesn’t care about the issues, but because American politics […]