Authorized Use of Military Force

Authorized Use of Military Force2017-07-18T20:01:47+00:00

As part of a resolution passed by the 2015 Minneapolis Area Synod Assembly, Bishop Ann Svennungsen has also written a letter concerning the Authorized Use of Military Force to those federal officials who represent the boundaries of the synod.

Draft letter sent December 15, 2016, to the following elected federal leaders representing the area of the Minneapolis Area Synod:   

Honorable Senator Amy Klobuchar
Honorable Senator Al Franken
Honorable Representative Erik Paulsen
Honorable Representative Keith Ellison
Honorable Representative Tom Emmer
Honorable Representative Rick Nolan
Honorable Representative-elect Jason Lewis 

As the Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), with 147 congregations and more than 180,000 members, I have been called on by our annual assembly to communicate synod’s concerns that Congress:

  • Follow the U.S. Constitution’s insistence that only the Congress can declare war,
  • Rescind the Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed by the Congress in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, so that it is not applied indefinitely and indiscriminately to all countries and targets, and
  • Call for hearings and a report evaluating the consequences of U.S. military action since 1990 on global violence and instability by the Foreign Relations and Affairs Committee or the Armed Services Committee.

In the ELCA’s social statement For Peace in God’s World, it states, “Wars, both between and within states, represent a horrendous failure of politics. The evil of war is especially evident in the number of children and other noncombatants who suffer and die.”

The 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly issued a call for congregations to a “time of prayer and communal discernment over the next three years to promote robust examination of the expanded U.S. war efforts since 1990.”  I am calling on congregations and people of the synod to a time of communal soul-searching on the moral impact and societal consequences of expanded U.S. war efforts, and reflection on what reacting to violence with more violence has achieved. I invite Congress to join us in this process through the call for hearings on the impact on global violence and instability.

I am reminded that countless leaders note that public funds spent on war have the effect of diverting worthy support from domestic needs. In addition, many of our veterans have remarked about the great waste that they have witnessed in military efforts and the suffering that continues after hostilities have ceased. Lutherans are cognizant that we were often refugees and so our hearts are moved by the current and growing refugee crisis.

I call on you, as an elected official, to do everything in your power to follow the Constitution, remove the AUMF, and evaluate the impact of expanded war efforts on the expansion of violence.

At this time in the church calendar, we are reminded that each Lutheran at baptism promises to be a peacemaker in our world, following the God of Peace. It is our deepest prayer that peace can be realized.

In peace,

Rev. Ann Svennungsen, Bishop


RC2015-09

Resolution: Soul-Searching on Expanded War Efforts

 

Whereas, the ELCA social teaching statement, “Church in Society: a Lutheran Perspective,” calls for the church to engage in moral deliberations regarding governmental policy, and “discern when to support and when to confront society’s cultural patterns, values, and powers”;

[1] and

Whereas, the ELCA social teaching statement “For Peace in God’s World” calls for the church to engage actively in making peace not war, naming and resisting “idols that lead to false security, injustice, and war, and [calling] for repentance” [2]; and

Whereas, our world finds itself simultaneously dealing with promoters of religious war and of war between nuclear powers; and

Whereas, since 1990, U.S. policy has expanded our targets for lethal military action to many global settings; and

Whereas, in waging war, harm to the next generations in environmental destruction and genetic mutation is caused as well as much acute human misery; and

Whereas, in waging war, great public expense is incurred removing resources from life-sustaining and vital social needs; and

Whereas, in waging war since 9/11/01, nearly half of American military personnel have identified themselves as suffering from chronic disabilities, according to the Veterans’ Administration, impairing life for themselves and their families/communities and causing an epidemic in suicide and early deaths, therefore be it

Resolved, that the Minneapolis Area Synod in assembly ask the Bishop of the Minneapolis Area Synod to call the congregations and people of this synod to a time of communal soul-searching on the moral impact and societal consequences of expanded U.S. war efforts, and reflection on what reacting to violence with more violence has achieved; and be it further

Resolved, that this assembly ask the Bishop of the MAS to encourage the members of the MAS to re-engage and study the ELCA social teaching statements “For Peace in God’s World,” and “Church in Society” as part of this soul-searching; and be it further

Resolved, that this assembly urge the Bishop of the MAS to communicate to the Minnesota members of Congress and U.S. Senators that this Synod asks them to follow the U.S. Constitution’s insistence that only the Congress can authorize war; to remove consent for the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by the Congress in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, so that it is not applied indefinitely and indiscriminately to all countries and targets; and to call for a report and hearings evaluating the consequences of U.S. military action since 1990 on global violence and instability.

Author and contact person: Amy Blumenshine, Coming Home Collaborative, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, (612) 590-4705,  Buddy@ListenToVets.org

[1] “Church in Society: a Lutheran Perspective,” p. 3.  ELCA second biennial Churchwide Assembly, 1991.
[2] “Peace in God’s World,” p. 5.  ELCA fourth biennial Churchwide Assembly, 1995.