Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Keith A. Fournier

7/18/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The news and blogosphere is filled with responses to the story by Joshua Green, the Senior Editor of the Atlantic

During the last election, a question was raised about then candidate Barack Obama concerning his membership in a Church body which espoused Anti-Americanism. Will some of those same people ask this candidate, whom they seem to agree with on issues, about her affiliation with a Church body which espoused overt Anti-Catholicism?

Michelle Bachmann

Michelle Bachmann

Highlights

By Keith A. Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/18/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Michele Bachmann, Joshua Green, Atlantic Monthly, Lutheran, Anti-Catholic, campaign 2012, Salem Lutheran Church, Keith Fournier


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The news and blogosphere is filled with responses to the July 14, 2011 story by Joshua Green, the Senior Editor of the Atlantic, entitled "Michele Bachmann's Church Says the Pope Is the Antichrist." That is because it raises a serious matter which should not be taken lightly, and one which the candidate must address.

First, let me share some personal context. I am what is often called a "revert" to the Catholic Church, someone who returned to the Church of my childhood after a long search for the truth. I love being a Catholic Christian. I hold an undergraduate degree and a master's degree in Catholic theology. I am a dissertation away from obtaining a PhD in Catholic Moral Theology. I am also a member of the Clergy, a Deacon. However, I write this article as a private and very concerned citizen.

I am a lawyer. I have spent much of my career in Pro-life, Pro-Family and Religious freedom work, forging alliances between Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical and Protestant Christians. My goal has been to effect cultural, social and political change. Like the old country song "I was Country when Country wasn't Cool", I could say "I was ecumenical when ecumenical wasn't cool". I cut my activist teeth on evangelical and Catholic collaboration.

I share all of this in order to establish that I do not have an anti-Protestant bone in my body and that I know this subject well. Among the early responders to his article, some point out that Joshua Green did not treat the subject well due to a lack of theological knowledge of the subject matter. Let's consider that claim first.

I will admit that Mr. Green's story did not address the progress in relationships between some segments of the Lutheran community and the Catholic Church. In fact, an historic accord was signed on (Protestant) Reformation Day, 31 October 1999, All Saints Day eve, which shows the work of the Holy Spirit in healing a significant division between Catholics and Lutherans.

This document is entitled the "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" (JDDJ) between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church. It can be read in its entirety on the Vatican Website. The dialogue also gave rise to an Annex which addresses implications on the relationship between the Catholic Church and Lutherans which can also be read there.

The Annex contains these promising words "the mutual condemnations of former times do not apply to the Catholic and Lutheran doctrines of justification as they are presented in the Joint Declaration." In other words, not all Lutherans hold the virulently anti-Catholic sentiment endorsed by the Lutheran Church body to which Michele Bachmann formerly belonged.

However, Joshua Greens' story properly addresses the fact that the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, a Church body with which the candidate was connected for many years, does. It was -and still is - Anti-Catholic. In an introduction to their doctrinal statement we read this assertion, "As Martin Luther grew in his appreciation of the gospel; he also grew in his recognition that the Papacy is the Antichrist." They then claim that belief as their own.

Here are a couple of snippets from their "Statement on the Antichrist": "Now, it is manifest that the Roman pontiffs, with their adherents, defend [and practice] godless doctrines and godless services. And the marks [all the vices] of Antichrist plainly agree with the kingdom of the Pope and his adherents.. [A]ll Christians ought to beware of becoming partakers of the godless doctrine, blasphemies, and unjust cruelty of the Pope. On this account they ought to desert and execrate the Pope with his adherents as the kingdom of Antichrist; just as Christ has commanded."

To his credit, Joshua Green of the Atlantic footnoted this document. It is taken directly from the web site of the Lutheran Body to which Michelle Bachmann belonged for many years. She left the Church in the last year, submitting her request in writing. However, these Anti-Catholic positions were and are available to anyone who goes to that site, including Michele Bachmann. To use an old legal term, res ipse loquitor, the thing speaks for itself.

And what it says is not only repugnant to Catholics; it should be repugnant to other Christians, people of other faiths, and all people of good will. It participates in one of the oldest forms of Anti-Catholicism in America's history. It calls back to mind anti-Catholic groups such as the old "Know Nothings" in our Nation's past who drew caricatures of the Pope with horns.

Further consider this; it appears that Michele Bachmann belonged to that Church group while Blessed John Paul II served the Church and the world. Apparently even into the tenure of our current Pope, Benedict XVI. Even this ecumenically motivated Catholic finds that very, very disturbing!

Unfortunately, some of my colleagues in the world of Catholic media, journalism and the Press have attributed the positions of this Church and Bachmanns past membership to just "being a Protestant." As someone who has worked ecumenically for decades I reject that dismissal. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod does not represent many Protestants. It is an Anti-Catholic body.  
 
I have worked with, prayed with and collaborated with MANY Protestant Christians, for over three decades, who would NEVER call the successor of Peter the Antichrist. The colleagues to which I refer go further, they seemingly accept the notion that if Protestant Christians felt otherwise they would no longer be Protestant. That is not only overly simplistic, it fails to recognize the substantial issues which divide the broken Body of Christ. 

Some of the other articles I have read addressing this piece by Joshua Green attempt to dismiss it by pointing to the authors purported political leanings. So, let me speak to that for a moment. I have political leanings. I like Michele Bachmann's positions on the issues which matter most to this Catholic voter. She is pro-Life and defends marriage and the family and society founded upon it.

I appreciate her pledge to reign in the ever expanding size of the Federal government, which I fear threatens the principle of subsidiarity. Finally, I had been impressed with her intelligence, her oratorical skills, her background and her presence. All of this made her my second favorite possible candidate, until now. My first choice is obvious to anyone who reads my ongoing political commentary.

However, her political and policy positions were not the point of Joshua Green's article and focusing upon them may be a form of deflection. Green raised the issue of Michele Bachmann's long standing identification with a Church body which is clearly Anti-Catholic.

One question is of special concern to me. Will she get a pass?  During the last election, a very serious question was raised by people who did not support the candidacy of now President Barack Obama and questioned his membership in a Church body which espoused Anti-Americanism. Some still bring it up.

Will some of those same people ask this candidate, whom they seem to agree with on issues, about her affiliation with a Church which espoused Anti-Catholicism? For example, how will Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly, just to name two high profile media personalities, handle this disturbing fact out of Michele Bachmann's very recent past? I hope the answer is "straight on".

In his article, Joshua Green noted "the statement alarmed prominent Catholics" and gave one example, my friend Bill Donohue. "Clearly, that is anti-Catholic," said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a national organization devoted to protecting Catholic civil rights. "This kind of hatred is reminiscent of Bob Jones. I believe [Bachmann] has in the past condemned anti-Catholicism. But there's no question -- all you have to do is read it -- that they clearly have anti-Catholic statements up there."

Green continues, "Donohue said he would refrain from making any judgments until he heard from Bachmann, who he said must address the matter promptly. "We never went after Obama for sitting there for 20 years listening to Rev. 'Goddam America' Wright. I don't want to give him a pass, but I saw no bigotry on Obama's part.

"Similarly, I have see(n) none on Bachmann's part. But it's clear that the [synod]'s teachings are noxious and it's important for her to speak to the issue. Obama had to answer for Wright, McCain had to answer for [the Rev. John] Hagee, and this is something that Bachmann has to answer for."

During the last Presidential campaign I commended Bill for his willingness to call Pastor Hagee out for his past Anti-Catholic statements. I also commended him later for his meeting with the Pastor which led to healing and reconciliation. I believe he will be just as dogged in this campaign.

Michele Bachmann should not 'get a pass' on past membership in an Anti-Catholic Church body. It matters deeply to many people, including me. I urge her to respond - quickly, clearly and without any hesitation or obfuscation. Like Bill Donohue, I want to presume that Michele Bachmann, as she said in the past, is not anti-Catholic. Her response to this article is an opportunity for her to, as Bill said, answer for her membership in that Anti-Catholic Church body. 

I have said in many articles that I consider this the most important election of my lifetime, for many reasons. I will never support anyone who is Anti-Catholic, period. I will also continue to ask the questions which should be asked of any candidate. This is serious business and we should deal with it appropriately.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More U.S.

GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER? U.S. policemen cleared at least 400 TIMES annually for justified homicide Watch

Image of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in addition to more than 40 FBI agents will meet in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of teenager Michael Brown, an unarmed robbery suspect shot six times by a police officer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Law enforcement agents, be they police or sheriff's deputies, are frequently called upon to defend civilians. In their line of duty, policemen are required to make hair-trigger decisions in order to protect the lives of the innocent. This at times requires ... continue reading


Is the First Amendment dead? Police in Ferguson threaten to kill reporters Watch

Image of The unidentified officer will be found and it is unclear if he will face discipline for threatening to kill journalists.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Overnight, a police officer in Ferguson, MO threatened to kill a member of the press and was recorded doing so. Now a campaign has started online to identify the officer and remove him from the front lines in Ferguson before he really does act out on his threat. ... continue reading


Pope may visit New York City in 2015 Watch

Image of Pope Francis also said there was a possibility he would add Mexico to his travel plans, specifically to visit the Madonna of Guadalupe shrine Mexico City,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Pope Francis has confirmed that he is planning to come to the U.S. next year, a spokesman says that the pontiff may visit New York City. Pope Francis hopes to address Congress and the United Nations, as well as attend a meeting in Philadelphia. A surprise ... continue reading


On the Memorial of St. Bernard: Lord, Send Us Monks for This New Missionary Age! Watch

Image of Bernard, Monk, Abbot, Doctor of the Church, and Model of the Christian life and vocation. - Monasteries are a seedbed of the great renewals of the Catholic Church. Monks are prophetic seeds of the kingdom who always seem to be around right when we need them the most. We need Monks for the authentic renewal of the Church in this hour. Lord, send your Holy Spirit, send us monks for the renewal of your Church and the work of this new missionary age.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Even though he was regularly summoned to leave the monastery by the needs of Church and State, Bernard was above all a monk, a man of deep prayer, communion and contemplation. It was that sincere devotion which made it possible for him to have wisdom to offer the ... continue reading


So this is where school money goes?! Watch

Image of A new study shows that massive amounts of funding go to non-teacher staff in schools, which has little impact on education quality.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Non-teacher employees make up 50% of public school employees, a number which has grown 130% since 1970, a new study claims. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Thomas B. Fordham Institute found ... continue reading


Romney weighs in: Obama is doing 'a good deal worse than even I expected' Watch

Image of Mitt Romney called President Obama out over numerous failures in the six years he has been in office during a West Virginia political rally.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney made quite a scene as he attended a West Virginia rally for three Republican Congressional candidates who are up for election in November. Crowds cheered "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" as he spoke. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Money is NOT the Root of Evil. Learning to Live Evangelical Simplicity in an Age of Idolatry Watch

Image of Simplicity is not about the quantity of the goods of the earth we possess. It is about our relationship to them. Jesus said - Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21).

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Learning to live in evangelical Simplicity strips away what impedes love. In finding our proper relationship to the goods of the earth- not rejecting them, craving them, or turning them into an idol- we can learn true freedom. Our eyes are opened and everything begins ... continue reading


STUPID: Political analyst says indictment of Texas governor is 'the stupidest thing I've ever seen' Watch

Image of A video taken inside the jail after her arrest shows an aggressive, uncooperative Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg under restraint.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling it "potentially was the stupidest thing I've seen, I think, in my entire career," MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin says the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry on two felony counts of abusing his power is asinine. "I hope some judge throws it ... continue reading


Persecution: W. W. Bridal Shop Forced Out of Business Because the Owners Are Faithful Christians Watch

Image of W.W. Bridal Boutique in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania is being forced out of business because its owners are faithful Christians who believe that marriage is solely between one man and one woman.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In the first two centuries of Christianity, as the early Christians sought to serve in the broader Roman society by engaging in all suitable occupations, some occupations had to be avoided. To practice them would require them to violate their faith. As some other ... continue reading


Obama denounced as 'greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation' Watch

Image of In the face of incarceration that could arrive this year, James Risen has resorted to journalistic defiance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Denouncing U.S. President Barack Obama as "the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation," New York Times reporter James Risen now faces jail time over his refusal to reveal a source. Risen also refuses to testify against a former CIA agent accused of ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 34:1-11
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 20th, 2014 Image

St. Bernard of Clairvaux
August 20: St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church St. Bernard was born ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter