Michele Bachmann Leaves Her Radical Evangelical Church

After the Jeremiah Wright scandal back in 2008, it’s understandable why current political candidates are wary of associating themselves with churches with radical views.  This is perhaps why Michele Bachmann officially ended her 10-year membership with Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minnesota, just before she formally announced her candidacy, lest she be implicated in its anti-Catholic rhetoric.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), to which Salem Lutheran belongs, is the most conservative of the major Lutheran organizations.  It adheres strictly to the writings of Martin Luther, including his assertions that the Catholic Church was the Antichrist.  According to the WELS “Doctrinal Statement on the Antichrist,”

“Since Scripture teaches that the Antichrist would be revealed and gives the marks by which the Antichrist is to be recognized, and since this prophecy has been clearly fulfilled in the history and development of the Roman Papacy, it is Scripture which reveals that the Papacy is the Antichrist.”

One has to wonder what the WELS position is on Judaism, since Martin Luther was, infamously, the author of a slim book called “On the Jews and Their Lies” – a wholly indefensible work if there ever was one.  The fact that the organization’s anti-Catholicism is spelled out on its website, however, was polemical enough that Bachmann, who has been questioned about her church’s views for years, felt the need to officially sever her ties.

The Catholic League defended Bachmann, saying, “We find no evidence of any bigotry on the part of Rep. Michele Bachmann.”  Catholic League President Bill Donohue added that it was “regrettable that there are still strains of anti-Catholicism in some Protestant circles.”

According to Bachmann’s press office, she has been distancing herself from Salem Lutheran for several years, even going so far as to attend another church.  But the choice to formally renounce her membership was clearly politically calculated, although it may backfire among voters who support Bachmann because of her often-professed religious convictions.  It’s disturbing, though, that it was not until the launch of her presidential campaign that Bachmann realized that belonging to a church which endorsed prejudice against another religion was not acceptable.

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Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr.


Alice E.
Alice E6 years ago

She was a member of the church for "years." So all that time I assume she believed that the Catholic church was the "anti-christ." Now she's changed her mind?

Olivia Offline S.
Past Member 6 years ago

Disassociating with a radical church doesn't mean you are not a radical!

sb k.
sb k6 years ago

Yes. Heaven help us.

J C Bro
J C Brou6 years ago

And to think, the WMD's this nation has. With nuts like these, with the Bushes still around, I still say Heaven Help Us All!

sb k.
sb k6 years ago

There is good reason for maintaining the separation between church and state. Church officials are trained in leadership of people in religion. State officials are trained in leadership of people in politics. Serious problems have arisen in history when the church dictated political positions to politicians or when the state dictated religious positions to church leaders. Clearly, the separation is not absolute. People of religion participate in politics and citizens of the state belong to various religions. Nevertheless, it is an extremely important separation.

Mary H.
Mary H.6 years ago

One generally does not agree with all of one's church's beliefs. (Isn't Pelosi a Catholic, yet pro-choice?) And there is a sliding scale: how much do I agree with it, and how deep is my conviction? Often a church will believe something but not address it. If I held out for a church I agreed with 100%, I'd never go. If I did find a church, I'd have to go searching again as I studied Scripture more and discovered more areas in which I was wrong.

The Catholic Church/Antichrist thing was probably a minor point, not often address.

How about Jeremiah Wright's racist polemics? Think they were spouted more, or less, that Bachman's church's Antichrist beliefs?

Rob K.
Rob Keenan6 years ago

Now it turns Michele Bachmann has said that Gays live in Bondage...while this is an untrue styreotype of gays,combining this statement with Marcus Bachmann's claim that the "barbarians" need "discipline",it sounds like the Bachmann's may have an interesting marriage....

Ann Breeden
Ann Breeden6 years ago

Isn't this cute how she conveniently left a church that she's been affiliated with for 10 years.
Maybe one of the reasons we have such a nutty world is that one church insists that their correct and others are wrong.
I still go back to John Lennon in one of his final songs.
Action speaks louder than words. Treating the earth with Love, treating your fellow Man with Dignity and being a steward to all living creatures.

Ainsley Chalmers
Ainsley Chalmers6 years ago

true christianity focusses on Jesus Christ. christians should not be finger pointing and be church critics. where a church denies Jesus Christ as God and creator of the universe then it itself must seriously question its theology. the RC church accepts Jesus as God and Lord of their lives.true christianity is expressed in the apostle's creed. if you can say this pray and believe it with all your heart and soul then you are truly a christian regardless of your denomination. more importantly you have the assurance of salvation, an eternityof relationship with Jesus Christ free of all the suffering and ills of this earth.

Bev E.
Bev E6 years ago

Michelle Bachman is an extremist in her politics and religion. Leaving the church shouldn't have any bearing on her running for president, but it does because it only enhances the extremist view of her scary politics.

I wonder what we'll have to go through if Sarah Palin jumps in for the candidacy. Right now they are getting ready to film a story of her life. Watch out how the facts may change. Already in Newsweek's current issue the wording has been changed when she left as Alaska's governor. from "quitting" as governor to now she has "stepped down".

Although I'm a moderate Christian and don't understand people's hate rants about religions. I'm not bothered by atheists, agnostics, druids, Lutherans, Catholics as long as they are not forcing me into their faiths or non-faiths. However, I could see a possibility of being forced into Michelle's faith somewhere down the road. It's this kind of mindset that gives all faiths and non-faiths a bad name.