Saturday, July 20, 2013

Convention Materials on Google Docs; Readable in Browser or Download

We here at Friends of University Lutheran Chapel Minneapolis have devoted much of this blog to making available to the public the documentation related to University Lutheran Chapel and the chapel's effort to bring the sale of the campus ministry property to a vote by the Minnesota South District Convention.  Along the way, we discovered that Google Drive (formerly Docs) and Google Picassa Web can be very useful in displaying documents either "in-line" or in a new browser window.

So why not do the same for the 2013 Convention Materials for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod meeting this week in Saint Louis?  The "LCMS" (as it is abbreviated) already does an excellent job in making available its convention materials on its own website at and at  Why not make some of these available as readable in the browser? The documents are already publicly available, so unless we're asked to remove them, we'll put the links in this post.

As usual, there are many, many caveats, disclaimers, and various other dire warnings, consequences and cautionary tales that go with the the use of the blog and whatever you find here.  See our Acceptable Use Notice (the link is displayed on the right) and read the "fine print" at the bottom of this post.

This may take a long time to load, depending on your bandwidth, connection speed, and the overall load on google apps servers, but feel free to try to view the
If that doesn't work, you can try to

The First Issue of Today's Business is a smaller file, and you might have more luck viewing
Or you can try to

And now the "fine print". The versions of these documents here may be incorrect, inaccurate, out of date and suffer from various other defects. Refer to the official website of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (URL's given above) or to the convention officers for complete and accurate versions and other documentation. The server host provider(s) for this blog also have limitations and restrictions, including limited bandwidth and availability depending on your location and connection speed.

Which means that at some point the downloads and views may (and probably will) exceed the quota for this account on Google Apps for Business, and the links will no longer work, the page may not load, etc. Until then, we hope this is of some use.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

No Secrecy or Non Disclosure Here - The Settlement Between ULC and the District

The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) meets in convention on July 20th.  Here at Friends of ULC we have been trying to help those involved by sharing the relevant documents concerning University Lutheran Chapel and its struggle to have the Minnesota South District Convention vote on the sale of the campus ministry property in Minneapolis.  In our last post we dissected one erroneous reason why the LCMS should not vote on convention workbook memorial 1-15, and urged that this memorial go to the delegates for a vote.

In this post we dissect yet another erroneous reason why the LCMS in convention cannot  - or should not - vote on memorial 1-15, "To Commend and Support Campus Ministry at University of Minnesota".  That would be that the legal settlement between University Lutheran Chapel and the Minnesota South District involves some sort of secrecy or non-disclosure.  We don't know if that reason has been suggested to the floor committee or others at the upcoming convention.  We hope not, but we have heard and seen this speculation elsewhere, and it would not be surprising if this were offered as an excuse to decline to consider the memorial.

In the same way that some have made demonstrably false oaths, affidavits, and sworn statements exposed elsewhere on this blog, this line of argument could prove ultimately very embarrassing to the arguer.  The first question to them should be, can you produce the text of the settlement and show us where it supports what you say?  Even if the text of the settlement were not available, it would be a shame to make this case to any deliberative body or convention.  They would want the delegates to decline to consider a memorial based on a settlement whose terms we cannot know, whose text we cannot see, and hidden from us by a non-disclosure or secrecy clause we cannot examine.

But the text of the settlement is available, just like almost every other document from the legal action.  It was part of the order dismissing the eviction and litigation.  And there is nothing in the settlement to prevent the synod, or any district, from acting on this memorial, or, for that matter, just about anything else they would like to address regarding the Minnesota South District or University Lutheran Chapel.  The only limitation the settlement mentions is that University Lutheran Chapel and the Minnesota South District will no longer litigate against each other on the specific grounds of the legal actions dismissed by the settlement.  The synod in convention can do a vast number of things (especially so in convention) just like the Minnesota South District Convention was correct in wanting to vote on the sale, but was prevented from doing so by their former district president.

But don't take my word for it. Read the text of the settlement agreement

If you find the legalese too dense, get a lawyer to explain it to you (as I've said earlier, unlike many other pastors, I know I'm not a lawyer). Some individual names and the signature and exhibit pages (giving the legal description of the property) are redacted in this digital copy (including the last 10 pages of the 23 page document), but anyone interested can ask the Minnesota South District for a full copy. If for some reason they wont give it to you (it should already be available to all their pastors and congregations as members of their corporation), ask if University Lutheran Chapel will give you a copy. Or get a copy from the 4th district court records office (that's my favorite method; it's a charming trip to the downtown Minneapolis courthouse, and the records office is part of the scenic underground parking ramp!).

Why not just let the delegates vote on the original workbook memorial 1-15? Conventions and floor committees have a lot of work to do. Spurious reasons for not allowing the delegates to vote on memorials are a distraction, and waste everyone's time. Conventions and floor committees have more than enough to do without having to sift through speculative theories which are not established by the documentary evidence.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Another Convention, Another Chance to Vote on ULC? Let's Make that Happen.

Visitors to our humble little blog are probably aware that we've been doing what we can for some years to help University Lutheran Chapel (ULC) and get the word out about the sale of the campus ministry property by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.  We don't claim any credit for any of the good things that have happened so far, but we're glad to play some small part.

It appears as if we have another chance to do some good, or, more accurately, all of you have a chance to do some good before and during (and after, if you like!) the upcoming convention of the The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod July 20 - 25 in Saint Louis.  The good news is that there is an excellent memorial in the Convention Workbook on page 139 "To Commend and Support Campus Ministry at University of Minnesota":

So the convention will get to vote on this, right?

Well, maybe, maybe not.  This gets a little arcane, but the process goes something like this.  Memorials to a synodical convention are sent to one of several floor committees.  In this case, that is floor committee #1 (also called "Witness"; I won't try to explain this beyond saying the names are apparently an attempt to designate the general topic area of the committee).  So floor committee #1 should do their thing, and decide what to do with the memorial.

The process might involve taking a memorial, then fashioning it into an overture, which then may or may not become a resolution (more details later will be added to this very rough description).  Floor Committee #1, however, has decided to ask the convention to decline to consider this memorial in the First Issue of Today's Business:

The reason given for their action is "Issue has already been resolved by Minnesota South Distr", which apparently means the Minnesota South District.  But this is precisely what did not happen.  From 2008 to the present, the district president, directors and officers of the Minnesota South District refused to let their district "resolve" in any way the question of the sale of the campus ministry property in Minneapolis, or Mankato.  In fact, the district president refused to let his own convention vote on the matter by ruling a motion to do exactly that out of order.  And to make matters worse, the officers and directors of the Minnesota South District continue to refuse to discuss the sale, or to respond to the process in the LCMS Handbook which specifies how to "resolve" disputed issues (dispute resolution).

More posts will follow, but please consider contacting Floor Committee #1 to have them send the original memorial 1-15 to the convention delegates to have them vote on it.  If you do, make sure you are courteous, polite, respectful and follow the words of Scripture, "Speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). From what I can tell, the floor committee is open to more information, and is willing to correct whatever incorrect data it has been given to date. If it helps, you can
I sent to Floor Committee #1 on 2013 June 17 or
it as a .pdf file. If you are interested in the supporting documentation, you can see the other entries on this blog, or you can see the dispute resolution letter from
the .pdf File. The dispute resolution letter from
is online here, and is also available for

Monday, May 13, 2013

Same Sex Marriage as "No Tolerance Policy" to Charities (Religious or Otherwise)

Previous posts have outlined the very bad effects of the same sex marriage legislation being considered by the Minnesota Senate today.  Those posts have already pointed out that the "fig leaves" lightly pasted on the legislation - the religious exemption and the use of the term "civil marriage" - will not fix the basic problems with same sex marriage.  Yet another proof of this is the history of same sex marriage in other states.  A striking example is Catholic Charities of Boston, an organization which no one would describe as "conservative", and which for 100 years or more included placing children for adoption as part of its charitable work.

So how did same sex marriage affect this charity, which has never performed marriages?  The effect was simple and devastating: it shut them down as an adoption agency.  In 2005 the Roman Catholic Church insisted that Catholic Charities of Boston cease placing children for adoption with same sex couples (which it had done for 15 years) and follow the church's moral and religious teachings.  Catholic Charities of Boston (itself a rather liberal social service agency) was caught between its church and its state.   They asked the State of Massachusetts for permission to continue their work from the state in a way that did not violate their beliefs.  The answer was "no".  So Catholic Charities of Boston ceased the "pre-adoption" work of their agency.

This example is instructive because it shows the effect of same sex marriage legislation on a religious organization which no one would consider conservative.  In fact, the (now former) director of Catholic Charities of Boston resigned for the stated reason that the Vatican's directive contradicted their single adoption criteria, the "best interest of the children".  The former director, Mr. Meade, is of course entitled to his opinion, but one obvious point would be that Christianity, Western Civilization, and the vast majority of religions around the world do not and have not considered homosexuality and same sex marriage in the "best interest of the children".  This is one reason why, today, liberals, leftists and radicals are consistently mocked when they claim that their program should be carried out "for the children".

So how would a religious exemption clause from performing same sex marriage in the Minnesota legislation protect similar charities in that state which do not perform marriages?  The answer would be that it cannot, which would leave the more liberal agencies (many of whose names have a Christian denomination in front of "Social Services") caught between their church and their state.  But for those charities and social service organizations that take the teaching of their church seriously (or are forced to do so by their sponsoring religious group), the consequences would be much more dire.  Same sex marriage law combined with other laws  (like fair housing accommodation) would allow those who are intolerant of traditional morality to persecute them and put them out of business.  This would include the litigious, the intolerant, and those who sympathize with them in various state, county and local agencies.

The experience with same sex marriage in other states shows us that it will not be just churches and their affiliates in the crosshairs.  And charities which are not affiliated with any church or religion may fare much worse.  The attacks on the Boy Scouts have already shown us what happens to those groups that are not religious and insist on a simple traditional moral code that includes a belief in God and the rejection of homosexuality.

If this legislation becomes law, expect the same here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why "Religious" Exemptions from "Civil" Same Sex Marriage Won't Help

The same sex marriage legislation that the Minnesota House has sent to the Senate was passed after adding two elements: a religious "exemption" from performing same sex marriages, and the addition of the term "civil", as in "Civil Marriage", apparently between two individuals of the same sex.

We already know that in states which already have same sex marriage (usually by judicial fiat, and in some cases by legislature) the first organizations that find themselves under attack by state regulators and plaintiffs lawyers are churches and church organizations.  Catholic Charities of Boston after 100 years of placing children in homes for adoption was forced to close its doors after same sex marriage was allowed in Massachusetts.  Because of the moral position of their church which objected to homosexuality (and therefore same sex marriage) Catholic Charities asked for a narrow exemption from placing children with same sex couples.  The state's response was a resounding "no".  The same thing is happening now in Illinois, which has passed legislation allowing adoption by same sex couples.

Ocean City, New Jersey, a unique association and city affiliated with the Methodist Church refused a request from a lesbian couple to be married on their property.  To do so would violate Methodist Church law.  The lesbian couple litigated using New Jersey's same sex marriage law combined with the legal theory of public accommodation, and succeeded in having the tax exemption of the religious association that owned Ocean City revoked.  Owners of private businesses, such as the devote Roman Catholic proprietors of the Montpelier Inn in Vermont, were charged with violating Vermont's Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act.  Of special interest in this instance is that the owners of the inn did not refuse a lesbian couple's request to host a civil union reception.  Their "crime" was to express their religious conviction about same sex marriage in suggesting they might not be the best venue for the event.

Even in states which reject same sex marriage moral and religious objectors to the idea are subjected to persecution by proponents of the idea.  After the passage of California's famous proposition 8, which enshrined traditional marriage in their constitution, Mormons were targeted by the proponents of gay marriage in retaliation for their support of the measure, along with other churches, pastors, and moral and religious individuals and organizations.  In the last days of the campaign, same sex marriage supporters paid for a series of television ads accusing Mormons of having "too much wealth" which they used to "overly influence" the government.  The parallels to anti-semitic propaganda used by neo-nazi and white supremacist groups is striking, and its use against a particular religious group should be a warning.

Should this legislation become law in Minnesota, the same will happen here, even with the "religious exemption" and "civil marriage" clauses.  Religious organizations, such as adoption agencies, will find themselves persecuted when they follow their moral and religious precepts.  Public school teachers and other government employees will face discipline or dismissal for holding to their moral or religious convictions about marriage.  And an exemption based on religious conviction should terrify all individuals and citizens who hold moral convictions based on natural law, reason, history or common sense about marriage.  Why would a religious association be necessary for exemption?  Why is the moral objection of the individual citizen not enough?  But they will have no exemption.

Please urge the Minnesota Senate to vote down this legislation.  See the previous post for their contact information.

Let the Minnesota Senate Know What You Think About The Same Sex Marriage Legislation.

The Minnesota State Senate is scheduled to consider the same sex marriage legislation passed by the Minnesota House last week.  I have already written to as many state senators as I could to express my opposition to this legislation, and I would encourage you all to do the same.  The contact information for the Senate is here:

If you would like to use an email merge program, here is a .csv file with each senator's email address derived from concatenating their contact information:

That .csv file is crude, but the email address works for all but about 10 senators.  The first link above also includes an ascii text file under the "labels" tab.

Below is the text of the email I sent.  I encourage you to write your own, but if this inspires you, feel free to use what you can.  Make sure you are civil, polite, decent, courteous and respectful.  Short and to the point is also good, and a simple sentence or two expressing your hope that they will vote against this legislation would be just fine.

Subject: Please consider voting no on same sex marriage legislation. HF 1054, SF 925, revisions do not correct problems.
Dear Senator ____,

It is my understanding that the Senate will soon consider the same sex marriage legislation recently passed by the House.  Having spent some amount of time reading and looking into HF 1054, SF 925, and the proposed revisions, amendments and impact of the legislation the Senate may produce, I would like you to consider voting against the version of this bill that reaches your chamber.  You may be mistaken in believing that the narrow failure of the marriage amendment last November indicates support for such legislation, and even a majority of support by Minnesotans.  I would ask you to consider this: if next election sees a proposed constitutional amendment enshrining same sex marriage as constitutional, would it in fact pass?  Or would it fail by an even greater percentage than its opposite in the last election?

I also believe I understand the good intentions of those who have amended the legislation by inserting language and categories such as "civil" marriage and "Exemptions based on Religious Association".  Unfortunately, these efforts do not make the bill acceptable.  Because it proposes something that is unprecedented and opposed by so many Minnesotans and Americans, the need for such an exemption is troubling.  Will the vast number of Minnesotans who consider same sex marriage wrong, unnatural, and destructive of family, society, state and country need to ask the state's permission under this law to continue their opposition?  Would it make any difference if this opposition were not religious in nature, much less Christian?  The use of the word "civil", while also well meant, does not seem to sufficiently clarify or lessen the enormous confusion, uncertainty and indecision this legislation will unleash.

The arguments I have heard for this legislation appear to be largely emotional, and based on an individual's supposed "right" to "love whomever they want".  If that argument is valid as the supporters of this legislation seem to believe, then I suppose we could change "whoever" to "whatever", of any age, condition, or species, singular or plural.  If you pass this, you will owe polygamists (including some Mormons, Muslims, and others) an apology for decades and centuries of criminalizing their love.  Many of us love our money, and would like to be married to it, but our governor and your chamber now consider denying us the right to keep all - or at least more - of what we love.  If you detect some (little) humor in that, you are right, but the point is that emotion and a supposed claim to an invented right of some kind is a terrible basis for legislation.  It's also destructive of a genuinely ordered civil society where morality and reason can consider what is right and wrong as well as the consideration of good and evil, virtue and vice.

I appreciate your time.  Should you, or your staff, wish to contact me, feel free to do so using the information on this email.