The ELCA’s Presiding Bishop Tiptoes through the Abortion Minefield

Pastor Steve Shipman wants to be clear that the political statements below are his opinions and do not represent official positions of Lutheran CORE. He served as a pastor in the ELCA for more than 45 years including as Director of Lutheran CORE. He is now an NALC pastor serving an interim pastorate in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. You can contact him at

One could almost feel sympathy for ELCA
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton as she tries to navigate the minefield that is
the current political debate over legislation permitting or restricting

As I noted in a previous article, the ELCA published a social statement on abortion a number of years ago, probably the last such statement that truly included a variety of opinions and was not simply stacked on one side along with a token “conservative” or two to make the outcome look legitimate.

Radical Feminist Cabal

The reality is that nobody in the ELCA officialdom seems willing or able to challenge the radical feminist cabal who are evidently the power behind the crozier. The ELCA has become what Secretary Almen warned against when it was being formed: It is the far left wing of a certain political party at prayer.


At the end of May poor Bp. Eaton issued a
letter on abortion, followed swiftly by a “correction.” Obviously she stepped
over a line on the first try, which did fairly accurately represent the
statement. The original letter from the Bishop said, “Through this social
teaching and policy statement, this church seeks to travel a moderating path by
supporting abortion as a last resort for pregnancies that are unsafe or a
result of rape or incest.” And that is basically true. But less than an hour
later she issued a correction, dropping “for pregnancies that are unsafe or a
result of rape or incest.”

Bp. Eaton’s Political Issue

Let’s review what the ELCA Abortion Statement actually said. It was quite clear: “…this church supports legislation that prohibits abortions that are performed after the fetus is determined to be viable, except when the mother’s life is threatened or when lethal abnormalities indicate the prospective newborn will die very soon. ” And of course the political issue which Bp. Eaton cannot or will not address is that laws are being passed and celebrated in shameful ways which permit any and all abortions up to the moment the baby comes out of the birth canal. Some political figures even leave it up to the mother to decide whether doctors should be permitted to treat a baby born after a botched abortion.

Abortion and Slavery

I personally believe that the
abortion issue in our time is the moral equivalent of the issue of human
slavery two centuries ago. If the Lord tarries, in another century the ELCA and
the other oldline churches will be seen much as we view those Christian groups
that justified slavery, often on biblical grounds.

Incapable of Biblical Truth

It is ironic that while the ELCA eagerly accuses every white person of being a horrible racist who needs to be re-educated to give up our “white privilege,” (which is even worse if you are a male), it is incapable of speaking a word of biblical truth in defense of vulnerable life unless it serves a certain political agenda.

The Science is Clear

And while on other issues the ELCA champions truths of science to support its political lobbying, the science is very clear that the unborn child has a very different DNA from its mother. The unborn child clearly has a higher moral claim than a spleen or an appendix.

So what can you do?

Goddess Choice

First, pray. Pray because just
as we are still experiencing what the prophets would call God’s judgment over
the practice of human slavery, God will not be mocked over the sacrifice of
innocent life on the altar of the goddess Choice.

Second, join Lutherans for Life, support them with your prayers and financial gifts, sign the petition they have recently posted (links are also on our Facebook page), and learn more about what they are doing.

Nothing is More Important

And third, I’m sorry to say
this, but please reflect on this issue when you cast your vote.  I am unapologetically a single-issue voter. I
believe that nothing is more important today as a political issue than the
protection of all life from conception to natural death. Yes, there can be a
few squishy areas on the extremes. But I cannot support any politician or
political party that advocates and even celebrates abortion without any
restrictions whatever.

March for Life 2020

So maybe that brings up a fourth point. I have gotten involved again in political campaigns to support some strong pro-life candidates. And they know why I support them (although they aren’t about to pander to the abortion lobby to save their political careers). Politics may not be for everybody. But at the very least, I hope to see many of you at the March for Life on January 24, 2020 in Washington (or you can look for a local march). We need some ELCA folks too, since I can no longer hold one end of the “ELCA for Life” banner.

Photos of baby in the womb by Life Issues Institute