The two resolutions below were passed at the 2021 Northern Illinois Synod Assembly. R-1 was passed as amended. R-2 was passed in its original form.

The original proposed resolutions are at the bottom of the page. 

R-1:  Addressing Anti-Semitism in Lectionary Readings

WHEREAS, anti-Semitic words, deeds, and attitudes do real harm to our Jewish neighbors, and

WHEREAS, the ELCA has repudiated anti-Semitism and expressed its desire to live in “love and respect for the Jewish people” (Declaration to the Jewish Community, 1994), and

WHEREAS, passages of the New Testament which can be interpreted as anti-Jewish or supercessionist (i.e. supporting the idea that God has rejected the Jews) are included in our lectionary, and

WHEREAS, in the time in which the New Testament was written, the word Ἰουδαῖοι (ee-oo-DIE-oy), was used as a marker of geographic and ethnic identity (that is, it denoted people from Judaea as distinct from Galilee, Samaria, or other parts of the world) and “Israelite” was used to identify the people who worshiped the God of Israel wherever they lived, that is the people whom we today would identify as “Jewish,” and

WHEREAS, the word “Jews” in the New Testament is usually an inaccurate translation of the Greek Ἰουδαῖοι, and

WHEREAS, the preferred translation used by Augsburg Fortress is the NRSV, which uses the inaccurate and potentially harmful translation “Jews” in almost every instance;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the preachers and teachers of the Northern Illinois Synod be encouraged to address the issues of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish theology (such as the teaching that the Jewish people are responsible for the death of Jesus and/or the idea that God has rejected the Jews); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the preachers, and teachers of the Northern Illinois Synod consider what is written in the texts that include Ἰουδαῖοι, what the texts meant when they were written, and what they have come to mean in relationship to anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish theology, and how they might be understood in ways that contribute to dismantling anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish theology in proclamation and teaching.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that preachers, teachers, and lectors of the Northern Illinois Synod be encouraged, when reading in public, to substitute a more appropriate translation of Ἰουδαῖοι where the English translation uses the word “Jews.” Examples include “Judaeans,” “Religious Leaders,” and “locals;” and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Northern Illinois Synod Assembly direct the Synod Council to forward this resolution to the Church Council’s Executive Committee for referral and disposition to the appropriate unit or office of the churchwide organization in accordance with the bylaws and continuing resolutions of this church in order to address the issues of anti-Jewish language in our lectionary and teaching materials.

Contact Person:  Rev. Brant Clements

Submitted by:  Rev. Brant Clements, Rev. Andrew Kayes, Rev. Theresa Wilder, Rev. Carol Soderholm, Rev. Vicki Sauter, Rev. Roger Asplund, Rev. Susan Davenport, Rev. Jacob Gawlik, Rev. Scott Ralston, Rev. Josh Ehrler, Rev. Kathy Burkheimer, Rev. Makayla Dahleen and Rev. Bree Truax.  

 

R-2: ELCA Advocacy Support for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act

WHEREAS, God created heaven and earth and everything therein and proclaimed it good (Gen 1:1ff); and God has entrusted humankind with the care of the earth (Gen 2:15); and

WHEREAS, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has adopted social policy statements, “Caring for Creation” (1993) and “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood” (1999) that call for economic and environmental justice, to protect the health and integrity of creation both for its own sake and for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations, and for economic justice, to consider how our actions affect the ability of all people to provide for their material needs and the needs of their families and communities; and

WHEREAS, in 1993 with the Caring for Creation social statement, we realized the urgency was already “widespread and serious, according to the preponderance of evidence from scientists worldwide [of] dangerous global warming, caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide” from the burning of fossil fuels, and that “action to counter degradation, especially within this decade, is essential to the future of our children and our children’s children. Time is very short;” and

WHEREAS, carbon pricing is one policy tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, which complements other tools like regulations on polluting industries and tax incentives encouraging investment in energy efficiency and renewable forms of energy production; and 

WHEREAS, in January 2019, over 3,500 of our nation’s leading economists across the political spectrum, including 28 Nobel Laureates and 4 former chairs of the Federal Reserve, issued a joint “Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends” that argued “A carbon tax offers the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary,” but also recommended “the revenue should be returned directly to U.S. citizens through equal lump-sum rebates,” and concluded “The majority of American families, including the most vulnerable, will benefit financially by receiving more in ‘carbon dividends’ than they pay in increased energy prices;”[1] and

WHEREAS, in 2019 the Churchwide Assembly received with gratitude a memorial from the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin regarding a Carbon Fee and Dividend, and the Church Council directed the Domestic Mission unit to develop “a plan that promotes educational resources on Carbon Fee and Dividend to assist in forming the basis for any potential advocacy strategy;”[2] and

WHEREAS, in October 2019 ELCA Advocacy published a primer on “Carbon Pricing Basics” that provides an overview to the topic and identifies several principles rooted in ELCA social statements that should be used to assess carbon pricing proposals;[3] and 

WHEREAS, the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019”[4] has received bipartisan support in the last two sessions in Congress and is consistent with the principles outlined in ELCA Advocacy’s “Carbon Pricing Basics;” and 

WHEREAS, ELCA Advocacy does advocate for particular pieces of legislation after careful review and moral grounding in the ELCA’s social statements; 

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Northern Illinois Synod urge ELCA Advocacy to advocate for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, or similar legislation during the 117th United States Congress and, if necessary, future Congresses; and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the congregations in our synod be encouraged to utilize “Carbon Pricing Basics” in adult education opportunities, and that the Creation Care Committee be directed to provide a synod wide study of the same document; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Northern Illinois Synod Council receive this resolution at their next meeting and forward it to the ELCA Church Council or its Executive Committee for further action by directing ELCA Advocacy to advocate for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act or similar legislation.

Contact Persons:  Rev. Scott Ralston, Rev. Jeff Schlesinger, Rev. Michel Clark

Submitted by:  Ms. Becky Keller, Ms. Joan Soltwisch, Rev. Carol Soderholm, Rev. Scott Ralston, Rev. Michel Clark, Rev. Robert Franek, Rev. Jeff Schlesinger, Rev. Robin Caldwell, Rev. Julie Monnard, Rev. James Gallagher and Rev. Jacob Gawlik.

[1] Climate Leadership Council, “Economists Statement on Carbon Dividends,” January 17, 2019.  
[2] Report of Actions of the Church Council (November 12-14, 2020). 
[3] ELCA Advocacy, “Carbon Pricing Basics,” October 2019.
[4] H.R. 763, Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019.