Remembering Some Other Veterans

Today is the day that we remember the brave Americans who put aside personal lives for a few years to defend our country.

They have a special day named in their honor. They deserve it. They stood up, guns in hand, for what they believe.

There are people in America who don’t have a special day in their honor. They are the people who stand up for what they believe without donning a uniform or carrying a gun. They are plain old American citizens who take a stand.

Some get recognition. Rosa Parks comes to mind. But there are thousands or millions more.

  • The mothers and fathers who fight for the rights of their children.
  • Students protesters—there’s always something to protest!
  • The detectives who toil for years to bring justice to crime victims.
  • The whistle blowers holding positions (at least for the time being) in corporate America or in government.
  • Nurses and police—two professions that work every day with people facing the most desperate times in their lives.
  • The people working for any number of causes—from  manning the election polls to raising awareness for AIDS, MS, cancer, domestic violence, etc.
  • Teachers who take on the challenge of reaching children who are still left behind despite many a political pledge otherwise.
  • The advocates for not yet popular causes.

All these people have something in common. They are working at low-paying jobs, often volunteering.

But then there are people who not only volunteer but are expected to pay the freight for all the people who are paid in their field.

The church volunteer. All we get is a special word. We are the laity.

As we at Redeemer found, laity stand up for what we believe without even the Bill of Rights to protect us. The Bill of Rights, it ends up, protects only the hierarchy. Otherwise, you are on your own.

What about the Bible? Well, it’s a little dusty in a lot of churches.

And so, my post today honors the brave men, women and children, who dared to say NO to a church that has lost its way—that hides the message of Christ in a screwed up corporate structure—that can do as it please with its member churches and people and count on no one in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to cry “Wait a minute!”

A glass held high for the veterans of Redeemer—the men, women and children locked out of our church home for five years by land-grabbing clergy—the veterans of six years of court battles during which our case was NEVER heard.

To the ELCA, we have one message.

The sacrifice of the thousands of veterans—those who died and those who returned—means nothing if we haven’t got the gumption to protect the rights they fought for at home and in our churches.

We at Redeemer tried. We are still trying! We remain LUTHERans!