So this afternoon we were sent a letter from our Synodical President notifying us that it looks like the Congress might, in a mad, lame duck flurry of activity, try to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We were asked in this letter to basically contact our Congressional Representatives and Senators and ask them not to do this. The letter may be seen here.
Now, I will admit that this change in policy might have some impact upon Lutheran Chaplains serving in the military, but really, I don't know how much. Really, I don't. It's not as though the military has had a strict policy of demanding strict adherence to the 6th Commandments in all its shapes and forms - I don't think having homosexual behavior be added to the milieu of extra-martial sex that you can chat and brag about radically changes the the difficulties Chaplains face (I don't know, are chaplains allowed to warn against sex outside of marriage right now).
However, I do find that I am highly, highly uncomfortable with an appeal from an Church leader to lobby a specific way on a specific issue. If Matt Harrison as an individual, or you as an individual, or I as an individual want to lobby on an issue - fine. It is our job as individuals in our country to do such things.
But is it the Church's job? Is it my job as a pastor to encourage people to lobby on a specific issue in a certain way? This goes beyond my duty as a citizen to make my voice be heard by my representatives.
Keep in mind, this is simply a question of principal. Personally, I do not want Congress touching "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Frankly, I think it should be an internal issue within the military - if the Joint Chiefs determine that Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be rescinded, let them rescind it. If they think it should stay, let them keep it. Their job is to establish and maintain a well prepared fighting force - they can tend to that - I don't need to poke around in their job because I'm worried about societal issues. That's my opinion.
But does this mean that I, as a leader in the Church, should encourage people to lobby a specific way? Or what does it mean when the president of the LCMS tells me to lobby in a way that I don't quite agree with... I'm not worried about ensuring that Don't Ask - Don't Tell be maintained as a cultural barrier -- I'm much more worried about the fighting abilities of our troops and think that should be left to the Military.
Our world, our society, our culture doesn't always look the way we wish it to. Of course it doesn't, we are in a sinful world! I don't know how much the Church should be focused on trying to keep that world in order.
Now, I can see the Church lobbying that whatever happens, our clergy should not be hindered from speaking out that homosexuality is wrong -- because that is speaking to directly how our own clergy are handled, and that is something we have a direct interest in. But overall policy - eh, not so much.