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Austin Cline

Lutheran Pastor Forced to Apologize for Praying with Heretics

By February 15, 2013

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In December, Rob Morris of Newtown's Christ the King Lutheran Church participated in a prayer vigil for the victims of the Newtown massacre. It was attended by Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders as well as president Barack Obama. Now, Rob Morris has been forced to apologize for this -- specifically, for giving the closing benediction -- because it's against his church's rules to participate in "joint worship with other religions."

Obama at Interfaith Prayer Vigil
Obama at Interfaith Prayer Vigil
Photo: Getty

Rob Morris says that he didn't believe the prayer vigil would qualify as "joint worship." It certainly wasn't a full religious worship service, but I suspect that for most religions, any sort of organized prayer service will qualify as worship to some degree.

It would be difficult to characterize prayer as non-worship when it's conducted in such an organized, public, communal manner.

"There is sometimes a real tension between wanting to bear witness to Christ and at the same time avoiding situations which may give the impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us, and how we get to heaven, really don't matter in the end," [Pastor Matthew Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod] wrote.

"There will be times in this crazy world when, for what we believe are all the right reasons, we may step over the scriptural line," he wrote.

Source: NBC News

I'll bet a lot of people will find this story to be surprising and sad, but it will only surprise those who have been deceived into thinking that religion unites people more than it divides. These sorts of situations are actually quite consistent with the exclusionary, divisive nature of traditional, conservative religion (of almost any sort, not just Christianity).

The only thing that's surprising is that we don't hear about such things happening more often.

February 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm
(1) kathi rudawsky says:

after reading this all I can say is–rock on Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher. ‘My god is better than your god’ nonsense is beyond ridiculous. In this case it is appaling.

February 22, 2013 at 3:53 pm
(2) Ray says:

Mr Morris should check with the ultimate authorities in the Lutheran Church. Perhaps he can buy an “Indulgence”.

February 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm
(3) Marvin says:

According to the note on p.1125 of _The Scofield Reference Bible_, John 7.58 through 8.11 (“The woman taken in adultery”) was removed from early manuscripts “because of a prudish fear that it might teach immorality!” Assuming Dr. Scofield had it right, the impulse to make things fit with the “morality” of the day was well established with Christians fifteen or more centuries ago. In fairness, I suspect that some ideologs of nearly every stripe have been guilty of rewriting history (if such this can be considered) to conform with their current positions, but religions claim to be entirely consistent.

I think it’s fitting to note that there was no mention in the “holy” text of the man with whom she was found “in the very act.” Could it be a NT admission that the law of Moses had come to be applied to women but not men?

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