July 15th, 2011
01:33 PM ET
Michele Bachmann officially leaves her church
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
Washington (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has long been a darling of conservative evangelicals, but shortly before announcing her White House bid, she officially quit a church she’d belonged to for years.
Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, and her husband, Marcus, withdrew their membership from Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minnesota, last month, according to church officials.
The Bachmanns had been members of the church for more than 10 years, according to Joel Hochmuth, director of communications for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the broader denominational body of which Bachmann’s former church is a member.
The church council granted the Bachmanns’ request to be released from their membership on June 21, Hochmuth said.
After declaring at the CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader presidential debate that she would seek the nomination, Bachmann formally announced her presidential bid June 27 in Waterloo, Iowa.
The Bachmanns approached their pastor and verbally made the request “a few weeks before the church council granted the request,” Hochmuth said. He added, “they had not been attending that congregation in over two years. They were still on the books as members, but then the church council acted on their request and released them from membership.”
Bachmann had listed her membership in the church on her campaign site for congress in 2006. She lists no church affiliation on her campaign website or her official congressional website.
Hochmuth said that a change in membership is not out of the ordinary. “You have people who are on the books as members, but they may have gone on to another church; they may not be attending a church anywhere. There’s all sorts of circumstances.”
A similar request for membership is to transfer membership from one church to another within the denomination. But that does not appear to be the case with the Bachmanns, according to Hochmuth, who said that to his knowledge, the couple was no longer attending a church within the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
Pastor Marcus Birkholz has been at the helm of Salem Lutheran Church for nearly three decades. When asked about the Bachmanns leaving the church, he said, “I’ve been asked to make no comments regarding them and their family.”
Bachmann was asked about her status with the church on Thursday at Reagan National Airport as she headed to catch a flight. When asked about her pastor, she asked, “Which one?” An aide quickly hustled her away, noting that they were late for a flight.
The Bachmann campaign declined to immediately respond to a request for further comment Friday.
Becky Rogness, a spokesperson in Bachmann’s congressional office, said the Congresswoman now attends a nondenominational church in the Stillwater area but did not know the name of the church or how long she had been attending.
Hochmuth said that, “My understanding of the situation was the timing of the request for release was far more coincidental than strategic.”
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod has come under criticism from some Catholics for its views on the papacy, an institution that the denomination calls the Antichrist.
"We identify the Antichrist as the Papacy," the denomination's website says. "This is an historical judgment based on Scripture."
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights issued a statement Thursday about Bachmann's denomination, saying it's "regrettable that there are still strains of anti-Catholicism in some Protestant circles."
"But we find no evidence of any bigotry on the part of Rep. Michele Bachmann," the statement continued. "Indeed, she has condemned anti-Catholicism. Just as President Barack Obama is not responsible for the views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rep. Bachmann must be judged on the basis of her own record."
The debate over the legitimacy of the papacy goes back to the Protestant Reformation. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod's namesake is Martin Luther, who led the 16th century Reformation and who opposed the papacy.
“The issue of the papacy as the Antichrist does go back to Luther - he did use that terminology,” said Professor George C. Heider, theology chair at Valparaiso University, a Lutheran school in Indiana.
“Luther’s point was, that in his view, the pope was so obstructing the gospel of God’s free love in Jesus, even though he wore all the trappings of a leader in the church," Heider said. "He was functioning as the New Testament describes it as the Antichrist.”
Still, Heider notes that Roman Catholics and Lutherans have close ties today. They recognize each other's baptisms, a point of contention in relations between the Catholic Church and other Protestant denominations.
Salem Lutheran Church still maintains some ties with the Bachmann family. It lists a Christian counseling center operated by Bachmann’s husband on its website under special member services for confidential counseling.
Hochmuth said there are no formal ties between the counseling center and the denomination but added that it is not uncommon for churches to link off to members’ websites as in this case.
Bachmann and Associates has faced accusations that it uses a controversial therapy that encourages gay and lesbian patients to change their sexual orientation.
In an interview with the Minnesota Star Tribune published Friday, Marcus Bachmann did not deny that he or other counselors at his clinic used the technique but said they did so only at the request of a patient.
"Is it a remedy form that I typically would use?” he said. "It is at the client's discretion."
Salem Lutheran Church has about 800 members and holds three services each weekend. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is often referred to as theologically conservative. The denomination opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, both positions Bachmann has long endorsed politically.
The denomination has approximately 390,000 members in 48 states and 1,300 congregations in the United States and Canada.
Presidential candidates’ affiliation with churches and pastors played a dramatic role in the 2008 campaign for president.
Then-candidate Barack Obama resigned from his Chicago church in May 2008 after videos surfaced of his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, delivering fiery sermons that criticized certain U.S. policies.
In the speeches, Wright suggested that the U.S. government may be responsible for the spread of AIDS in the black community and equated some American wartime activities to terrorism.
Wright officiated Obama’s wedding and baptized his children, and the Obamas were members at Wright’s church for years. After a sustained attention on Wright, Obama distanced himself from his former pastor.
During the same election cycle, Republican presidential nominee John McCain rejected endorsements from two prominent pastors, John Hagee and Rod Parsley, for controversial statements from the pastors’ pasts.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
The Roman predator is as dangerous as in former ages. He has just refurbished his image by the mass media. He has even own academies for education of journalists.
Passage from the above article: "We identify the Antichrist as the Papacy," the denomination's website says. "This is an historical judgment based on Scripture." End of passage.
We should not lay too much stress on the term "Antichrist". Why did Luther use this term? At Luther's time the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) with her papacy had brought an incredible darkness over the Western World. By her false doctrines the RCC had almost exterminated the true gospel. Before Luther became a Christian, he was a Roman Catholic supervisor (he monitored several monastries of the Augustinians). The Augustinians called him St. Paul, for he was so diligent. However, Luther felt in his heart that he was not in peace with God. Once Luther studied the "Epistle to the Romans" and suddenly got the inspiration that salvation is not by works, but by faith. This is called the "Turm-Erlebnis (tower-experience)".
So, Luther rediscovered the gospel, which was about to be forgotten by the mankind (really!).
By the bull "Unam Sanctam" the pope had declared, someone could get saved soley on the condition being a member of the RCC. Actually the true gospel is: "Believe in Jesus Christ and you are righteous." The pope's false gospel was: "Be obedient to the pope and you are blessed".
In conclusion: The pope had invented a new, false gospel and by that he led people to hell, because a false gospel can save nobody.
Of course, there is no worse crime, than leading people to hell, which is a kind of soulkilling.
Getting aware of this crime of the pope, Luther got very annoyed at the pope and finally called him Antichrist. Of course, Luther send a lot of letters to Rome, but the popes refused to accept the true gospel, and thus Luther's wrath increased.
Furthermore in the course of time the pope tryed to kill Luther (Luther survived, because his local prince protected him against the pope and the emperor).
The true gospel: Believe in Jesus Christ, who died for your sins, and you are righteous. At baptism you are connected with the releasing power of Jesus' death and resurrection, so that you can follow Christ. Someone, who believes and gets baptized, will be saved. Faith and discipleship belong together.
The act of salvation consists of faith and, and, and baptism. By faith and baptism you enter the mystical union betwixt Christ and his Church. That is according to the Bible and Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
OK now go take a deep breathe and take your anti-psychotics!
So you are ok with Luther actually editing the Bible (this is historical fact) changing the phrase "by faith" to "by faith alone"? Luther EDITED THE BIBLE to support his teachings, and you put him up as any better than the corrupt popes of his time?
Well who are you talking to? I hope its not me. Because I think all you religious nuts should have your voting privileges revoked until you get your head screwed on straight. Religion and politics don't mix for obvious reasons. And listening to these posts makes me realize how in deep trouble the US is with these nuts voting.
You need a new name: Jadis!
Rainer Braendlein you need a padded cell.
Nearly all of the "historical facts" you have presented are easily-refutable lies and half-truths, but given that most Protestants' hate for Catholics outweighs their desire for truth, refuting them all here would be a waste of time.
I don't care, when swines grunt!
Like I said NNNNUTTTTTTTTTZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!
Religious fanatics destroyed many of the ancient Egyptian God statues, etc, since 1500 BCE to present.
Muslims build their temples right in the middle of ancient Egyptian sites!
Now who’s been shoving what beliefs down peoples throats in the last 3500 years?
Speaking of "bull" ....
you SHVIEN ! !
"Mekka lekka hi Mekka hiney ho
Mekka lekka hi Mekka Chonny ho" Book Of PeeWee 3:15
Question: Did Bachmann leave her church really just to distance herself from the religious beliefs of said church? Because with the Internet, I don't think she will be able to distance herself, as anyone (including opponents both in her party and the Democrats) can easily look up her religious membership in the past by simply Google-ing. So, I'm not sure what she is trying to accomplish here.
She also went to an UNaccredited law school – O. Roberts U. School of Law and Cosmetology.
"In the speeches, [Rev. Jeremiah] Wright suggested that the U.S. government may be responsible for the spread of AIDS in the black community and equated some American wartime activities to terrorism."
This boilerplate so understates Wright's seething hatred of America that it rises to the level of self-parody. Typical CNN.
Why do you have to ask to leave a church? Is it not a free country to come and go as you wish?
She now is a member of the Church of Perpetual Self-Indulgence.
Wow, you know nothing about churches. There is no legal reason for her to tell them she is leaving, just like there is no legal way for the church to stop her. it's just a courtesy, like telling a volunteer based company that you are not coming back, just so they know not to expect you.
now it just hit me who she reminds me of.. Tammy Faye Baker....!!!!
If Michele and Sarah team up and start showing some more skin, flashing, bend overs, low tops, short skirts, lottsa leg, no underwear, etc, the men of America will come forward and vote for them, guaranteed. So lets go girls, times a wastin, get together on this and get started by a spending spree at Victoria's Secret.
I think that if they both exited a car with cameras flashing commando style (i.e. no underwear), that'll be worth a few million votes. America no longer cares about credentials or qualifications. It's all about sound bites and 10 seconds of TMZ type film.
There sure are a lot of trolls on this site that can't handle a successful conservative women.
I thought you could go to any church you felt like from one week to another or not what's with this formal membership thing.?
can she also leave the presidential candidacy?? Following this woman would be like following a nut... Good lord what is our country coming to? The fact that she is even a presidential candidate should have the whole country worried.
I liked how you cleverly used the phrase "good Lord" when commenting about an article describing Bachmann leaving her church. I like smart posts like that. 🙂
She decided the Lutheran church did not fit into the Tea Party movement. Gotta cover all bases, yessir!!! She is SO phony and as stupid as Sarah "The Quitter" Palin.
I so agree with you totally.. These two are like nut sisters....
I am really confused as to how the press NEVER looked into Obama's scandalous church membership to the point of covering it up but now they are going after Republicans and still not bothering with Obama. Well the liberal pres decended into hell in 2004 and they are now and in the future going to suffer for it. Look at what is happening to Englands tabloid and watch as it will be here soon and we the people with brains will be finished with the liberal, crazy press and how they try to tell us what to do and how to think.
You have a brain?
Sorry, but you do not have a brain. Perhaps you should ask the Wizard of Oz for one.
KappaDL If you read the article it says she left a Lutheran church not that she left the Catholic Church plus I doubt the rest of your statement about being brought up Catholic as your language is wrong.
"Look at what is happening to Englands tabloid and watch as it will be here soon " Are you even slightly aware that this media scandal is about Rupert Murdoch, owner of the FOX NEWS NETWORK? I
Maybe you should listen to the Liberal press they DID go into it – and you can sure as hell bet the conservative press did. Now check the conservative press and seer if they mention old lady Bachmann
You have got to be kidding! The Jeremiah Wright story dominated headlines and broadcasts for weeks and almost derailed Obama's bid for the presidency. Your claim that it was covered up is bunk. To this point, Bachmann's church affiliation has not been covered by major media outlets. Simply stated: if her pastor spouted hateful rhetoric while she and her family graced his pews, then shame on her for remaining a member for a decade without voicing dissent. Recognize that standard? I do.
Fed Up – Seriously? Don't you remember the non-stop of coverage? By the way, you are obviously not from chicago, the church he belonged to is extremely popular, which is why he joined it. I'm not saying they don't say something stupid time to time, but in Chicago the church leaders in some areas are also mid to high level community leaders.
Did you realize that Newscorp is responsible for the scandal in the UK? The same company that owns your Faux News. did you also notice that Faux is not talking about the scandal. Faux has been feeding off the sorrow of 911 victims to spread hatred. Now the truth comes out, they stay quiet. "Standing up for america" my ass. Just a bunch of hate mongering opportunists. You'll be happy to see that they endorse people like Palin and Bachmann. That's a great testament to the type of people Palin and Bachmann are.
The wolf continues to hide in sheeps clothing. The Backmans clearly have an agenda to hide who they really are. Fortunatley, I think most people can see this and only the media is pushing her as a political favorite.
I wouldn't say the Catholic church is the Anti-Christ more like idol worshipers. According to the bible the only official book of Christianity all the Mary did was give birth to Jesus that's it and was there for his death. The first commandment states in it ' thou shall not have no other gods but me'. The second commandment states in it 'you shall not make yourself an idol'. Why are you praying to Mary and not to God?' That however is for a different debate. If I was her I would have left that church a long time ago. Considering they are very prone to abusing the children that go to the school they run. I should know I was one of those children and that is why I won't step foot in that horrible church again.
I am sure you know that secular teachers and protestant preists abuse children at similar rates to Catholic preists (higher in the case of public school teachers), or are you another mindless bigot?
Best description of the Catholic church I have seen yet; Idol worshippers. Although, it could also be; Idle worshippers.
Anti-Catholic Protestantism once again rears its ignorant head. To pray means to ask, so we are simply asking Mary and the saints to pray for us. Don't you ask friends to pray for you? If so, you are essentially praying or asking for their prayers. We do not worship Mary, but we do hold her in high regard given the nature of her relationship to God. Unlike Protestants who tend to treat her with contempt. Please show me where the Bible states that her only importance was in giving birth.
The writer of this article is actually a paid CIA agent.
She is a career politician. She is as wishy washy and as much of a flip flopper as any of them. She is a fraud just like the rest of them.
She, like every other politician, will embrace or distance themselves in regards to anything if it means a half % increase in "poll popularity".
Americans need to elect an actual American for office. Someone who has no great desire to be in office. Someone who will work hard to keep promises and be true to who they were before election.
Sadly, we will keep getting these self centered self serving me me me jackholes as our only "choices" in elections. This country is pathetic now.
Agree with you 100% – Lawyers will be the downfall of our government. Why we keep electing them is beyond me. They are trained to withhold information, lie, cheat, steal in order to get their way. Bend the law to the n-th degree to make an argument, find a loophole to exploit, etc. And these are the people we are trending towards electing into office. What do we expect?
What is sad is, is that no average American could ever get into office. You have to have millions of dollars in the bank in order to get into the election field. I think this is one part of our government that should be changed. Each candidate should have the same dollar limit for their campaign. Maybe then you could vote on the person.......
Anything for a buck... This lady really will say or do anything to get elected.
unlike Obama who just goes about his business and only says the truth and acts with complete integrity
Yes Shawn. Of course. It is easy to fling feces from your monkey cage, but it's still feces, and you are still a monkey boy.
YES! YES! JUMP UP AND DOWN WITH GLEE CNN!
Now you might like her?
There are many christian denominations which claim that the Pope / Roman Catholic (universal) Church is the anti-christ. The Seventh Day Adventists is an example of such a denomination.
But what is really the anti-Christ?
Does one separate one self from it by isolating it to a church, i.e the Roman Catholic Church?
Bachmann has distanced herself from her church (possibly) because of the potential political consequences of such a doctrine, given that she is in the race for the office of president. She seemed, however, to be comfortable with it for the last 10 years. Has she, however, distanced herself from it in her heart?
...Politics first (self interest first) and God second! Does not this say something about the anti-christ?
Christ said that there would be many false christs (false anointed ones) and false prophets (false proclaimers of truth). He never said that the anti-christ is a person or a religious organization. Christ’s teachings dealt with the “spiritual” domain of man. The anti-christ is therefore a belief and way of life which in itself is against the True God and Christ.
Given that the Creator God claims to be the One and Only God of all mankind and creation and that Christ is the One and Only Way to Him, it is obvious then that the anti-christ would have to be a worldwide belief system which would have preeminence above the Creator God and Christ. It would have to be a belief that all nations would embrace, proclaim, defend, and live by. It would have to be a belief by which even “Christians” would be “mislead”.
The creation of the Roman Catholic Church was founded on this “belief” when they placed the worship of caesar before the worship of God and His Son Jesus Christ in order to have the freedom to continue with their christian religion.
It continues to live by and defend this belief today.
But it is not the originator of it nor is it the only one.
In the past, the Roman empire used it.
Today, this same belief system is seen on a global scale, affecting all the nations on the earth.
What belief system is this priority way of life? Hint...politics first (self-interest first).
It can only be the desire for and belief in man’s freedom of self-rights, freedom of religion, and universal values. It is presently encompassing the “glorious land”.
President Obama has portrayed the belief in universal values as the new world religion, or tree of knowledge of good and evil, from which all other religions (as branches) have the “right” to be worshipped as per one’s own justification and self-interest. It is the “god of fortresses” that protects and gives liberty to all other beliefs. The “golden rule” or way of loving your neighbor as yourself originated with God, the Father of Jesus Christ. However, He is no longer seen as the Most High. He has now been positioned on the same level as one of the other “fortresses”, as a religion among other religions. It will soon be decreed that the declaration that Christ is the Only Way is divisive, anti-democratic, and illegal. However, the True God, and His Christ, is not a religion. Man’s way and laws will not stop the return of Christ as the Only King of kings, to bring forth God’s Kingdom and His Way of Truth on earth. Keep in mind that there will not be any desire for or belief in freedom of religion in God’s kingdom.
This belief in self-rights, self-rule, and universal values is the image, mark, name, and number that will cause “even the elect” to willingly accept, live by, worship, and advance this belief, as already seen within all Christian churches. “Freedom of religion” are the first words spoken by all “churches” in times of “persecution” or legal battles.
This is the belief that is referred to by the last king of the north in the prophecy found in Daniel 11:36-39, “...for he shall magnify himself (self-will) above all gods...and he will advance the glory of this “god of fortresses”.”
Soon, this preeminent belief in “man’s way of peace” will be superimposed above Jerusalem (the city of peace) as the belief above all beliefs “...for he shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between (and above) the seas and the glorious Holy mountain”... as the belief above Christ and above the True and Only God. This is the abomination. This will be done when President Obama will orchestrate the peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
I pray that man and Christians will recognize this deception and stand instead for Christ, the One and Only Way to Our Father and Creator.
John Stefanyszyn /// firstname.lastname@example.org
your first question, and the answer is..... THE EASTER BUNNY!!!!
She is wise to distance herself from a congregation that calls the Catholic Church 'The AntiChrist.' That would alienate too many votes she hopes to get. Aside from that, we all know how devout Catholics are. Look at Mexico.
Every Christian who participated in the Reformation was calling Rome AN anti-Christ, which, is not necessarily opposing the true Christ, but rather presenting itself "in place of" the true Christ, which is what the church of Rome, and many others have done.
Very devout at protecting Pedophiles!
Odd, the media can find Palin's emails and question Bachmann's religion, but they cannot find Obama's real birth certificate, his baptismal certificate, his medical records, his school records, his work history, his voting records, why he has a CT Social Security number, why he is no longer a licensed lawyer, but they could find Joe the Plumber's driving record and divorce proceedings in 24 hours. Just saying.
Another blind, deaf fool you are.
hehe, tinfoil here, get yer tin foil, two for $10!!!
They cannot find it because they do not care about it nor do they care to look. Simple.
Oh Renny!!! I think Greg Morris hit the nail on the head. You're dumber than a sack of hair.
I have also wondered why Obama has not received the vetting and scrutiny given to all other presidential candidates. The evidence is mounting that the person sitting in the First Chair is not eligible to be there....for many reasons.
Isn't it amazing? All these Obama defenders here. The only thing they can do to defend their beloved president is to call everyone else names.
The birth certificate is a nonissue--Obama has presented that and I still don't understand why he did it. John McCain wasn't born in the US... What business is it of yours to have to view the rest of his records. Non of this information has ever been requested before of a president. Why start now............................................Oh yes, I see!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was going to ask, "did you ever think...", and then I realized that you haven't.
The FBI vets every single candidate for office, as they need a top security clearance. There is no way around this: it must be done. There is no way he would have goitten his top secret security clearance if he was not eligible to be the POTUS.
So, the FBI vetted President Obama.
And you, the birthers, are idiots. You will always be idiots.
The reason you don't have the information on Obama that you want is because you're lazy. If you need answers to those questions, proceed on a research trip. Don't fold your arms between your legs and believe all you hear on Faux news.
Apparently, some of your detractors think you're striking too close to home so they have resorted to the usual name calling, etc.