This Cruel and Heartless Administration

In all likelihood, Student Pastor Betty Rendon will be deported to Columbia this week.

Yes, one of our ELCA Pastors was arrested in her home in Wisconsin several weeks ago by

You can read the latest news at this link from the Chicago Sun Times. In addition, the background of this story, if you are not familiar with this case can be found here. The photo below is of my colleague Bishop Paul Erickson of the Milwaukee Area Synod speaking at a rally calling for her release.

Bishop Paul Erickson

Bishop Paul Erickson

In addition this past week, Pastor Imad Haddad, was denied (by intentional delay) a VISA to come to visit us in the New England Synod. His trip was a part of a three city visit as a Companion Church. Pastor Haddad serves in the ELCJHL, Lutheran Church in the Holy Land. His visit, like many others in the past was intended to be a bridge building encouragement as we attempt to Build Peace not Walls.

Pastor Imad Haddad with his Wife

Pastor Imad Haddad with his Wife

This administration continues to practice the most vicious, cruel and heartless policy in relation to Pastors in the Lutheran Church. Even if you are an ardent supporter of this President, you must admit this is all a far cry from the talk of deporting criminals.


What purpose? What value is served by these acts of hostility?

I am left with no rational explanations. If you are a part of the US American electorate that speaks of concern for the state of Christianity, here and abroad, how can you justify these actions?

Just yesterday I was in a local T-Shirt store ordering T-Shirts for our New England Delegation to the Churchwide Assembly in Milwaukee. As I discussed possible designs which would communicate our churches concern for the poor, the planet, the immigrant, etc…the young early 20 something woman said to me. “Wow, What kind of a church is this?”

I explained concisely our history, our core values and Grace. Her response tells us so much.

“I’ve never heard of a church like this, I thought they were all like those crazy people on TV.”

She asked where she could find such a church, and I gave her the local name.


When the government starts deporting your pastors, and denying VISAs for short church related visits, you know things have changed. It’s worse than any of us thought.

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