Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Michigan ELCA Bishop Speaks Out

Shrimp here. Apparently ELCA North/West Michigan Synod Bishop John Schleicher has been busy writing Letters to the Editor, for he shows up in two different newspapers on two vital topics. The following was published in the Holland Sentinel last Friday, the festival of the Annunciation of Our Lord:

Saving the Earned Income Tax Credit is a moral imperative.

By John David Schleicher
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

Lansing, MI — As a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), I am called to provide leadership in seeking economic justice in the communities where our congregations serve.  For me that means 125 communities in the Lower Peninsula. I am writing specifically with regard to Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), urging Gov. Snyder and our legislature to find a way to preserve EITC in some form as they engage the tough work leading toward adoption of a constitutionally mandated balanced budget.

A social statement of our church on economic life calls for “tax credits and other means of supplementing the insufficient income of low-paid workers in order to move them out of poverty.  ‘Sufficiency’ means adequate access to income and other resources that enable people to meet their basic needs, including nutrition, clothing, housing, health care, personal development and participation in community with dignity. God has created a world of sufficiency for all, providing us daily and abundantly with all the necessities of life …. Justice seeks fairness in how goods, services, income, and wealth are allocated among people so that they can acquire what they need to live.”

EITC is at risk right now.  In Gov. Snyder’s 2011 Citizen’s Guide to Michigan’s Financial Health, he writes that “Michigan’s families are among the poorest in the nation,” ranking 37th in per capita income among all 50 states.  The EITC, a refundable tax credit for low-income working families, does seem like a just step toward alleviating poverty, perhaps especially for young families with children.  Maybe more important than the economic lift this tax credit gives to our communities, it offers some hope to low-paid workers and their families that their prayers for “daily bread” are being answered even in the toughest of circumstances.

John David Schleicher
North/West Lower Michigan Synod
Evangelic Lutheran Church of America
Meanwhile, today in the Saginaw News,

New Clean Air Act rules don't go far enough

Voice: Bishop John D. Schleicher, North/West Lower Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lansing

Legislation to ban the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act was introduced recently in the U.S. Congress. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Congressman Fred Upton, has been front and center in this issue.

As a bishop of the North/West Lower Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I want to express my concern about the damaging effects of such possible deregulation.

The ELCA has long lifted up the care of God’s creation as an important component of our reverence and gratitude toward God, and our love and service to those in need. We see this as a moral and justice-laden responsibility, undertaken with humility and hope.

At our annual assembly last year, members of our synod supported a resolution calling for energy stewardship. Similar actions have taken place in other synods of the ELCA as well.

We recognize the threat of global climate change, which is heightened by increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. It is incumbent on us to take steps to decrease our use of such polluting fuels.

For four decades, the EPA and the Clean Air Act have protected Americans from dangerous pollutants and led to significant public health and environmental benefits for Michigan and the Great Lakes. 

The new Clean Air Act rules have been designed to cover only the largest sources of greenhouse gases.

We are at an important crossroad. This is about the health of our communities, of our Great Lakes and about faithful stewardship of God’s creation. I urge our elected officials to bear these things in mind.
A blessed and holy Lent to you from the ELCA North/West Michigan Synod.

Shrimp out...


Eric Jonas Swensson: said...

Any word about Jesus, or is He still lost to them?

What I mean is, why is it that we just do not find a mention of Jesus in these letters.

So, to be fair, I went to the web site to see if maybe one might find a hint of Jesus. Well, I did find a mention of Christ, but it was logoesque [ Marked with the cross of Christ forever, we are claimed, gathered, and sent for the sake of the world.]

However, I did find something interesting. Shrimp, can you tell us what "nimble and sustainable ministries" are?

I know I have not been paying attention to the ELCA for a long time now. Is that the way you guys talk nowadays? Is that like praying with people, giving them a testimony about how God loves people? What?

Shrimp said...

We were so busy trying to find Bishop Schleicher on the Synod website that it didn't occur to us to look for Jesus! But to be fair, he (Jesus, that is, not the Bishop) is mentioned several times on the front page, and elsewhere on the site.

We've not heard the phrase "nimble and sustainable ministries" before, so won't speculate what it might signify.

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...