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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Question: Does WELS Ban on Female Authority Apply to Politics?

Freshly declared South Dakota Congressional candidate Thad Wasson reads the blog. He e-mails me last night to say he's ready to answer questions.

Check that out: Republican, conservative, Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, and he reaches out to the leftist, secular humanist press. That wins him props in my book. (Don't get excited, folks: props vote).

[Update 08:30 CDT: But canceling out those props: Wasson's declaration that the Greenpeace activists who draped a banner on Mount Rushmore are domestic terrorists. Ugh.]

There are numerous questions I would like to ask Mr. Wasson. But we have more than ten months before the primary. We'll have plenty of time to cover all the issues. For now, let's focus on an issue I raised Tuesday: the role of women in church and politics.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, to which Mr. Wasson belongs, takes this position on women and positions of authority in the church:

We believe that women may participate in offices and activities of the public ministry except where that work involves authority over men (1 Timothy 2:11,12). This means that women may not serve as pastors nor participate in assemblies of the church in ways that exercise authority over men (1 Corinthians 11:3; 14:33-35).

["This We Believe," Commission on Inter-Church Relations, WELS, 1999, p. 20.]

This statement raises the following questions:
  1. Does this restriction apply exclusively to church affairs?
  2. Does this Biblical position suggest that it is in any way unseemly, inappropriate, or sinful for women to perform work or participate in assemblies in ways that exercise authority over men in secular affairs?
  3. (A more concrete rephrasing of question 2): Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, State Rep. Kristi Noem, Dr. Kari Forbes-Boyte (DSU Dean of Arts and Sciences), Brenda Young (Pennington County Commission Chair), and Sarah Palin all exercise prominent positions of authority over men. Do any of these women violate Scripture by holding these positions?
I look forward to reading Mr. Wasson's answers and sharing them with you, my readers.

Update 11:15 CDT: An anonymous commenter misses the point (and the comment policy) but nonetheless inclines me to clarify. These questions are not preamble to an attack on Mr. Wasson's religion. I want to understand how his religious views influence his political views.

1 comment:

  1. Great questions, Cory. In light of his opinion that the Greenpeace banner thing at Mt. Rushmore was an act of domestic terrorism, I would also be curious to know whether he thinks the murder of Dr. Tiller was also an act of domestic terrorism.


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