Friday, November 7, 2008

ELCA Presiding Bishop's letter to Obama

Presiding Bishop’s Statement on 2008 Presidential Election

Americans have chosen a new president in an historic election. I congratulate Senator Obama on his election to our nation’s highest office, and express gratitude to Senator McCain for his continuing commitment to public service. I commend both for participating in our nation’s democratic process, which serves our venerable tradition of the peaceful transfer of power.

We look to the future as a nation troubled by economic crisis and continuing wars. Such complex realities call for both humility and ingenuity. In the midst of these challenges, we as Lutherans also look to the future as a community of faith and a people of hope. We bring to the public square a longstanding and effective commitment to serve our neighbors and a conviction that government is instrumental in God’s purpose for humanity when public officials work for justice, peace, order and the common good.

Scripture is clear about what should matter to us as Christians in public life: hospitality to strangers, concern for people in poverty, peacemaking and care for creation. From these core biblical values, I appeal to President-elect Obama to establish the following priorities for his administration:

  • a response to the current economic crisis with special focus on low-income people
  • a robust diplomatic effort to restore U.S. credibility abroad
  • a fulfillment of the promised U.S. funding share of the Millennium Development Goals
  • strong support for alternative energy research to end our dependence on oil and establish a new green economy
  • fair and humane immigration reform
  • serious re-engagement with a peace process for Palestinians and Israelis

I call on all members of this church to join me in committing to work with this new administration across the broad spectrum of our Lutheran partnerships and networks. Remain active in public service, be in conversation with each other and within your communities on these issues, and engage members of Congress and this administration through this church’s advocacy ministry. Pray for President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden, and their families, and for their work and service on behalf of our country.

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


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