On February 21, 2023, President Harrison distributed a strong statement to the Council of Presidents (COP) and others renouncing the incursion of the “alt-right” into our Synod’s congregations. You may not be aware of the statement. Harrison distributed it to the COP, not on the Synod website or Synod’s Facebook account. However, you can read and download his statement here.
You may also be unaware of the extent of “alt-right” thinking in the LCMS because it stands against God’s Word and our confession of faith. Their views are repulsive to Christians.
People who support “alt-right” ideology include those who advance white supremacy and Nazism, are pro-slavery and anti-interracial marriage, see women as property, and support fascism, death for homosexuals, and even genocide.
That’s not the LCMS — or any Christian church for that matter. As President Harrison stated, “we categorically reject the horrible and racist teachings of the so-called ‘alt-right’ in toto.”
We are grateful that President Harrison has now spoken out and recognized the importance of such a statement. There must be no connection between these extremists and our congregations. That the “alt-right” exists is a surprise to most of us. As Harrison reported, “We were shocked to learn recently that a few members of LCMS congregations have been propagating radical and unchristian “alt-right” views via Twitter and other social media.”
Harrison surmised that these views were “at the genesis of a recent controversy surrounding essays accompanying a new publication of Luther’s Large Catechism. The group used that opportunity to produce not only scandalous attacks and widespread falsehoods, but also to promote their own absolutist ideologies.”
Get It Right and Get It Out
Our Congregations — Our Synod immediately saw the importance of making a statement. We published the article “We Already Decided” on February 15, when evidence of the depth of this movement in the LCMS became public. You can read some of this evidence in the blog post by Machaira Action titled “Dismantling the Fortress.” Our Congregations – Our Synod already saw it in posts, tweets, and comments regarding the annotated Large Catechism.
We also saw the threat to our LCMS congregations based on reports from the Catholic News Agency, the Washington Post, and elsewhere on television of leaked FBI documents detailing an FBI investigation into traditional, conservative Roman Catholic congregations.
We must never leave our witness to the Lord Jesus Christ exposed to biased investigative journalists or other media sources who may seek to impugn the reputation of our churches and our message of salvation in Christ and Him crucified. Our Congregations — Our Synod acted immediately to restate our Synod’s historical and current position regarding racism.
While patience and a non-anxious presence are important characteristics of leaders, so, too, are discernment and decisiveness. This is especially true in the face of real threats to our ministry and mission.
The threat of the LCMS being linked to and harboring “alt-right” fascists is real. The potential damage would have been devastating to the Gospel witness of our congregations and our Synod.
Our Congregations — Our Synod thanks President Harrison for joining us by making a strong, clear, and thorough statement denouncing these racist, fascist, “alt-right” agitators among us and their teaching. Although not altogether public, his unambiguous statement improves our witness to our communities as followers of Jesus.