ELCA Gulf Coast Bishop: Beat ISIS by Rejecting Anti-Islam Stereotypes

As some anonymous clique prepares more monthly Klan meetings in Aberdeen, I encourage my neighbors to review this statement from the Reverend Michael Rinehart, Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

Bishop Michael Rinehart, ELCA Gulf Coast Synod
Bishop Michael Rinehart, ELCA Gulf Coast Synod

What ISIS wants more than anything else, because it is losing ground and does not have the capacity to mount a major offensive on the West, is to spark a war between all Muslims and the West. That would be a win for them. When reactionary folks engage in Islamaphobic rhetoric, they alienate our best allies – the majority of peaceloving Muslims who are also under attack by ISIS, they play in to ISIS’ hands and they do more harm than good. Get to know your Muslim neighbor. Get beyond the false stereotypes. Remember how Jesus related to Samaritans, like the Woman at the Well, John 4. How he made a Samaritan a hero of one of his parables [Bishop Michael Rinehart, Facebook post, 2016.08.30].

Reject stereotypes, get to know your neighbor, be the Samaritan—all sounds pretty Christian and pretty American to me.

Bishop Rinehart commented further on his blog in 2014 on our moral duty to welcome refugees:

When I was hungry you gave me food.
When I was thirsty you gave me something to drink.
When I was a stranger you welcome.

Caring for refugees and asylum-seekers, those who cannot live in their home any longer, is a sacred calling, at least according to Jesus.

The US actually does an excellent job of welcoming refugees, but we don’t do it nearly enough. As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we have both the privilege and the capacity to welcome more refugees. A lot more [Bishop Michael Rinehart, “Welcoming Refugees,” BishopMike.com, 2014.07.23].

I have a well-known affinity for serious Lutherans. I hope my Christian neighbors and my patriotic neighbors will pay attention to this Lutheran bishop’s advice.

p.s.: Bishop Rinehart sounds like President Reagan:

ReaganOur nation is a nation of immigrants. More than any other country, our strength comes from our own immigrant heritage and our capacity to welcome those from other lands.

President Ronald Reagan, 1981.07.30.

17 Responses to ELCA Gulf Coast Bishop: Beat ISIS by Rejecting Anti-Islam Stereotypes

  1. mike from iowa

    Raygun is one dead, mass-murdering, war criminal.

  2. I cant imagine how you can be a republican and be a lutheran.Christ was liberal in caring for all.Faith through Christ is what we beleive.

  3. Don Coyote

    @cah: You seem to suggest that that our refugee and immigration policy should be one of a carte blanche nature. However a reading of that same statement on immigration and refugee policy, Reagan makes it abundantly clear that that will not be the case:

    “At the same time, we must ensure adequate legal authority to establish control over immigration: to enable us, when sudden influxes of foreigners occur, to decide to whom we grant the status of refugee or asylee; to improve our border control; to expedite (consistent with fair procedures and our Constitution) return of those coming here illegally; to strengthen enforcement of our fair labor standards and laws; and to penalize those who would knowingly encourage violation of our laws. The steps we take to further these objectives, however, must also be consistent with our values of individual privacy and freedom.”

  4. Darin Larson

    Coyote– Wasn’t Reagan’s amnesty for 2.9 million undocumented immigrants carte blanche?

    Reagan said the following in a televised debate with Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale in 1984.

    “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally,” he said


  5. Darin Larson

    Imagine that– being a good Christian, a good American and a smart adversary to oppose the evil of ISIS are not mutually exclusive roles. I’m not sure if Trump is smart enough to figure out that he is playing into the hands of ISIS with his discriminatory, hateful rhetoric or if he doesn’t care because he has to cater to his hateful base of white supremacists and Bubba voters.

  6. mike from iowa

    I doubt Drumpf has any serious illusions about getting elected. What an election season for records. The first nominated female who should easily win in a landslide and the richest, whitest, most clueless nutjob ever allowed out of the sanitorium to run as a wingnut. Records everywhere.

  7. When did Brendan Johnson become an ELCA bishop and change his name to Michael Rinehart?

  8. Darin Larson

    Ror, I actually had to look twice at the photo.

  9. happy camper

    But on the other side of the spectrum Briebart News True Conservative Media Outlet reports “Unholy Alliance: Christian Charities Profit from $1 Billion Fed Program to Resettle Refugees, 40 Percent Muslim.”

    “Though they are officially ‘non-profit’ organizations, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, and several other Christian organizations are profiting from lucrative contracts with the federal government to resettle refugees in the United States.”

    Hmmm. Could they have a point in there somewhere? People at the the top of non-profits are often out for themselves and paid huge salaries. Meanwhile Merkel is tanking because Germany’s situation is untenable even the migrants themselves are angry with her.

    “FURIOUS migrants have turned against Angela Merkel en masse and are now BLAMING her for risking the lives of their children by luring them to Europe on false pretences…”



  10. happy camper

    And if Breitbart is right that “97 percent ($42 million) of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service’s $43 million budget comes from the federal government”, then they aren’t a charity cause that’s not voluntary. They are a paid government contractor not Samaritans.

  11. Don Coyote

    @Darin Larson: “Reagan said the following in a televised debate with Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale in 1984.

    “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally,””

    Reagan was referring to the first Simpson-Mazzoli bill which eventually failed in conference committee because of opposition by Democrat nominee Walter Mondale. From the same debate:

    “I object to that part of the Simpson-Mazzoli bill which I think is very unfair and would prove to be so. That is the part that requires employers to determine the citizenship of an employee before they’re hired.”

    The “part” that Mondale felt was unfair were the employer sanctions and id requirements for verification that Democrats felt were harmful to Hispanics.

    Once passed, Simpson-Mazzoli eventually failed because the Democratic controlled Congress had gutted employer sanctions and failed to vote for funds to increase enforcement at the borders.

  12. No, Coyote, I make no such suggestion. Take your straw man down and show where I have advocated for a carte-blanche immigration system.

  13. (Ror, Darin, isn’t Tim Johnson ELCA?)

  14. Hap, I agree that non-profits should use their money wisely, to maximize service to others. If Breitbart has a point (and generally, their point is to stoke Klan sentiment, but I’m open to other information), nothing in their article says that any of the money the organizations in question received was misused. Feel free to review the Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota financial report and tell us if you see signs of waste or abuse or of using public dollars to “Islamicize America,” as Breitbart sidewise accuses.

  15. Darin Larson

    Coyote–once again you don’t seem to acknowledge the point about Reagan– He signed a bill giving amnesty to 2.9 million undocumented immigrants and he stated “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally . . . ”

    This was carte blanche amnesty at the time.

  16. Darin Larson

    Cory, I believe Tim Johnson is ELCA, but I don’t know it for a fact.

  17. Shelly Alvine

    Tim Johnson is ELCA. Sen. Johnson and his wife were active in the “Listen God is Calling” campaign that raised money to offset some college debt incurred by new pastors.