Betty Rendon is an ELCA Synodically Authorized Lay Minister at an ELCA church and received her Masters of Divinity from the ELCA's Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC). A few days ago, she and some family members were arrested by ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
So far we do not have many details about the incident, except what ELCA entities are saying. It all started with a one-sided account from Betty Rendon's church. You can read it here.
Then the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's presiding bishop began tweeting about the situation.
A letter about the situation was posted by the ELCA's Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) from President James Nieman, Dean of Student Services Scott Chalmers and Pastor to the Community Erik Christensen.
In the letter they call the United States' immigration policy "racist." Here is the quote (see below also), "This incident brings into painful focus the ongoing need to reform this country’s racist, violent, and inhumane immigration system."
Of course, ELCA Advocacy had something to say. Below is part of an email they sent (see the full email here):
ELCA partner, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service commented:
"This is absolutely heartbreaking and shameful behavior on behalf of ICE officers. LIRS will pray for and advocate for the just treatment of Pastor Rendón and all those who find themselves in her position."
Some of the readers of the LIRS Facebook post commented saying, "We are becoming like a Hitler state..." "I am ashamed of our country..." "ICE equals deliberate cruelty." "ICE has no humanity....this is like the Nazi era." "We are very close to becoming a communist nation, Trumps SS is ICE. The time is near for all Americans to March on Washington!" "Abolish ICE." "Our government is looking more and more like murderous criminals." "ICE is disgraceful."
A newspaper article titled ICE allegedly arrests Racine student pastor; Vigil planned for Wednesday can be seen here.
A seminary classmate of Betty Rendon added his 2 cents:
Benjamin Stewart, a Professor & Director of Advanced Studies at LSTC tweeted that the "family was terrorized & separated":
ELCA pastor Chad McKenna writes "#AbolishICE":
From ELCA Pastor Paul Eldred:
The DE-MD Synod tweeted:
Matthew Short, the Assistant to the Bishop for Evangelical Mission at Greater Milwaukee Synod, was part of a gathering outside Betty Rendon's detention center. Below is his Facebook post about it:
More from the ELCA's Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago:
And from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a partner to LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service). (See here) Recently, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah was appointed the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
ELCA Synod Bishop Michael Rinehart is the LIRS board chairman is quoted as saying, “Krish is exactly the kind of once-in-a-generation leader LIRS needs right now...In the wake of unprecedented challenges to U.S. refugee resettlement and immigration policy, the LIRS mission — to protect, embrace, and empower those we serve — is more crucial now than ever.”
A lot of ELCA money goes to LIRS. Let's learn a little about Krish O'Mara Vignarajah.
She is Hindu and is married to a Catholic. In 2016, they had a Hindu wedding ceremony and a Christian ceremony. (see here)
She worked as a senior advisor under Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry before becoming Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama. (See here)
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah was a Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland in 2018.
The Baltimore Sun newspaper, during the campaign season, said "Vignarajah has many big promises for Maryland spelled out in more than 100 pages of text and nearly 14,000 words on her website: universal pre-kindergarten, free college tuition at community colleges and historically black colleges and universities, more reproductive health centers, paid leave for new parents, expanded use of renewable energy sources and a massive increase in school construction funding." (Read here)
Also on Krish Vignarajah's campaign website is a tab that addresses issues that are important to the candidate. One of those issues was "LGBTQ," where Vignarajah says "My Administration Will Make Maryland The Most Welcoming And Anti-Discriminatory State In The Union."
The website's LGBTQ page then listing "Priorities" where we find the following:
Below are a couple of Facebook posts by Krishanti Vignarajah. She seems like the perfect fit for a partner of the ELCA.
A letter written to the President of the United States, as reported in the article "More than 750 Faith Leaders and Faith Organizations Decry Low Refugee Arrivals" included the supporting signature of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The ELCA and the other signators want the United States to resettle “at least 75,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2019” (see here). This is a great cost to the United States and its citizens, which is something the ELCA should realize when one reads the following article, by Ann Corcoran, who reports that the ELCA's Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is "95% funded by you—the taxpayers of America!" She reports that in 2014, LIRS received $55,341,275 in federal grants. (See here)
This seems self-serving. Wanting more refugees, one would think, means more tax money would be coming to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. That is just one of the problems I see with this.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Former ELCA seminary student and former ELCA member who is fed up with the ELCA's consistent mockery of God's Word.
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Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. - Ephesians 5:11