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Lutheran Head Pledges Prayer for Bush

Bishop Mark Hanson, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran World Federation, pledged to pray for the president and lauded the nation’s newly elected leaders to serve the w
( [email protected] ) Nov 05, 2004 05:19 AM EST

The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) offered his “commitment to all who have been elected and in particular to President George W. Bush” in an open letter addressed to the public on Nov. 4, 2004. Bishop Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Chicago-based ELCA and the president of the Geneva, Switzerland-based Lutheran World Federation (LWF), spoke both as a representative of the mainline Lutherans in America and as the head of the world’s 66-million Lutherans.


"As a religious leader and a citizen with great regard for this country, I acknowledge as well the many voices that remind us of the significance of this election, not only for this country but for people throughout the world," said Hanson.

While pledging to pray for President Bush, Hanson also thanked Sen. John F. Kerry and Sen. John Edwards for their “valuable participation” in the campaign.

“I respect the office of president of the United States of America with which you continue to be entrusted, and I will constantly undergird your leadership with prayer,” said Hanson.

Hanson also pleaded for the United States to take its role as the world’s leading power to bring justice, peace, and care for the international community.

"We have heard the challenge -- and the plea -- that the economic, political and military power of the United States be exercised in ways that serve justice, peace and care for the environment," Hanson said in his statement. "The American electorate has spoken in this election about its deep concern for personal moral values and faith. It is my hope that we will not separate personal morality from public responsibility for the complex moral issues of hunger and poverty, HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation, civil war and social inequities. May our faith not isolate us in fear but give us courage to work with others to find a just and lasting peace."

Lutherans "affirm that good government is a gift from God when that authority and responsibility is exercised in the service of the common good," Hanson continued. He said he will cooperate with the Bush administration in working toward unity in the United States "that is enriched by our diversity."

The following is the full text of Hanson’s statement as released by the ELCA:

Statement of ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson on the U.S. Presidential Election

The 2004 election is now over. Political leaders have been elected in the context of a deeply divided nation, and a world facing grave challenges. On behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I offer my commitment to all who have been elected, and in particular to President George W. Bush. Mr. President, I respect the office of president of the United States of America with which you continue to be entrusted, and I will constantly undergird your leadership with prayer. I also thank Senators Kerry and Edwards for their valuable participation in this campaign.

At this critical moment in the life of this country, I call upon all members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to hold all elected officials in prayer, to participate actively in civic life, and to continue to be communities of moral deliberation around the complex matters which face this country, the human community and all of creation.

As a religious leader and a citizen with great regard for this country, I acknowledge as well the many voices that remind us of the significance of this election, not only for this country but for people throughout the world. We have heard the challenge -- and the plea -- that the economic, political and military power of the United States be exercised in ways that serve justice, peace and care for the environment. The American electorate has spoken in this election about its deep concern for personal moral values and faith. It is my hope that we will not separate personal morality from public responsibility for the complex moral issues of hunger and poverty, HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation, civil war and social inequities. May our faith not isolate us in fear but give us courage to work with others to find a just and lasting peace.

As Lutherans we affirm that good government is a gift from God when that authority and responsibility is exercised in the service of the common good. I will cooperate with this administration in working toward a unity in this country that is enriched by our diversity. I will also pray for President Bush and Vice President Cheney and their families as they continue to carry out the privilege and responsibility of leadership.

The Rev. Mark S. Hanson

Presiding Bishop

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Chicago