Open Mouth Insert Foot

I can’t remember where I read it, but at the time, I had no response so I chose to dismiss it.  Anyways, this was in my email this morning.

In the news recently, there has been some misleading information regarding the ELCA’s advocacy regarding funding for abortions. The “Religious Institute” and its director, the Rev. Debra Haffner, claim mainline church support stronger public funding of abortions in health care legislation. Based on the Religious Institute’s open letter, subsequently wrote an article which inappropriately and incorrectly stated that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America supports the letter and the coalition, when in fact we do not.

The ELCA Washington Office staff are working with a group of other faith-based partners to ask for a more forthright statement from the administration and congressional leadership that health care reform will not be used to increase the opportunities for public funding for abortions.

In addition, we are asking to remove the headline reference to Lutherans, and also the text’s reference to the ELCA as institutional supporter of the letter and its purpose in asking for increased Senate funding. We are also asking the Religious Institute to offer a statement that the ELCA does not endorse the group and that our social statement on abortion is more nuanced than they portrayed.


The Rev. Andrew D. Genszler
Director for Advocacy
ELCA Washington Office

Seems that the ELCA isn’t trying to get more funding for abortions…huh.


2 thoughts on “Open Mouth Insert Foot

  1. Actually this statement by the ELCA is also not an accurate representation of the Religious Institute’s actions. The Religious Institute sent a letter to Senators asking them to not add further restrictions on access to abortion in health care reform. Included was our Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Abortion as a Moral Decision, which has been endorsed by more than 1100 religious leaders from more than 50 faith traditions. Endorsements are only accepted and sought from individual clergy, not denominations. The ELCA’s position is referenced in a list of denominations after the letter as supporting women’s right to legal abortion, not as an indication of endorsement of the letter. I would refer you, and your readers to our web site for the exact text of both our press release and the text of the Open Letter itself. It is It saddens me to think that both LifeNews, yourself, and Rev. Genzsler are not accurately reporting on our work. Surely, you may disagree with our positions, but don’t we all share a Scriptural commitment to truth telling? Rev. Debra W. Haffner

  2. Thanks for commenting.

    This post was in response to another blog which, going off of the information provided by LifeNews stated the ELCA as a denomination supported the letter. It was not in response to the Religious Institute’s letter itself. LifeNews has since edited their article to give a more accurate representation that clergy, not the denominations support the open letter.

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