LCMS, Race and American History

I’m already starting to make some progress on my research questions.

The following excerpt comes from Kathryn Galchutt’s book The Career of Andrew Schulze: Lutherans and Race in the Civil Rights Era, 1924-1968

“In the early 1920s, while Schulze was still a seminary student and assistant at Holy Trinity in Springfield, John Behnken already made a stand against integration. Holy Trinity’s youth society came under the administration of the local branch of the Missouri Synod youth organization, the Walther League, named in honor of C.F.W. Walther. Behnken, then a pastor in Texas, wrote a letter of protest to the Executive Board of the International Walther League. Behnken wrote, “If further Negro societies will be received into the league, it will eventually mean the withdrawal of all Walther Leagues below the Mason and Dixon line … As far as mission work among Negroes is concerned, our Southern people try to do their part, but we know it is absolutely impossible for us to sanction social equality.”

In 1936, shortly after John Behnken was elected president, he made very clear his position on integration. The biennial convention of the Synodical Conference in 1936 discussed the status of its two self-supporting black Lutheran congregations, St. Philips, St. Louis, and St. Philips, Chicago. It was proposed that self-supporting congregations become a part of the synodical districts in which they were located. The proposal did not mean real integration at the parish level, rather it meant merely administrative integration. Behnken reminded the convention that he was from the South and stated that the proposal “will never do.” It took another ten years before a resolution was passed that allowed black Lutheran congregations to join their local synodical districts.

In the late 1930s, Andrew Schulze became increasingly active in his promotion of better race relations within the church. Schulze began “quiet and peaceful agitation on all fronts. All the while he remained a faithful and beloved pastor who identified himself unreservedly with the Negro cause and gained the uninhibited confidence and allegiance of his parishioners.” Though Schulze began walking a lonely path, he found support along the way. As he recalled in his memoirs, “In the dry and thirsty land of the thirties and early forties, my loneliness was seldom if ever spelled out. Those who at that time were speaking against racism in the world and ignorance in the church toward racism were indeed following a lonely path, and ‘a cup of cold water’ offered by some friend was like the ‘balm of Gilead.’ Shulze mentioned that some of the friends that supported him and his ministry in the last chapter of his memoirs, but his sons emphasized that it was his relationship with Jesus Christ that gave Schulze the strength to carry on. Schulze had a very active prayer life and even when he was attacked for his views, Schulze prayed for his enemies. …”

It is the 1930s.

John Behnken of Texas is the president of LCMS. He served in that role from 1935 through 1962. Behnken opposed integration and social equality. The LCMS was segregated at the time. He wrote a memoir called This I Recall which includes a Foreward from none other than Matthew Harrison.

Also of interest, Andrew Schulze was a lonely marginalized civil rights activist at the time. In his memoirs, Schulze recalls how virtually no one in the LCMS in the 1930s and early 1940s was speaking out against “racism.” Schulze spearheaded the integration of the LCMS between the 1940s and 1960s.

The following excerpt comes from James C. Burkee’s book Power, Politics and the Missouri Synod: A Conflict That Changed American Christianity

Augsburg Fortress:

“From World War II to 1969, as society moved to the left, the LCMS moved toward the ideological left, becoming more liberal during the “years of liberalism.” Liberalism during those decades came to be defined less by those who wore the badge than by those who disparaged it. Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign helped circumscribe liberalism by defining his brand of conservatism as a populist and anti-intellectual “Dime Store New Deal.” Juxtaposed with Goldwater conservatism of limited government and nationalistic anti-communism was sixties liberalism, characterized by an openness to change and an aggressive promotion of individual liberties and government-directed equal opportunity. Tolerance was the watchword of the liberal, tolerance for alternative worldviews and tolerance for challenges to long-standing norms.

The Missouri Synod, by 1964, had become more liberal. It was more advocatory, more aggressive in the growth and use of its bureaucracy, and more tolerant of new social and theological ideas. Most Lutherans were happy with the direction of their country. In 1964, the Missouri laity voted overwhelmingly for Lyndon Johnson, but nearly half of LCMS clergy were more taken with Goldwater. …

As Behnken’s retirement neared, the Witness became increasingly vocal, even confrontational, in its advocacy of civil rights, social justice, and ecumenism. Overconfident moderates challenged synod conservatives with an “in your face” style of journalism, often provoking a reaction from readers. …

Moderates also were conflicted on the issue of interracial marriage. Marriage between people of the various races, asserted the Witness, is “not at all” unchristian. “On the other hand,” the editors hedged, many obstacles exist for the interracial couple—obstacles nearly impossible for even Christian couples to surmount. Moreover, “if interracial marriages are forbidden by legal statute, Christians will have to obey the law.” “It may be well to quote a sentence by Dr. Martin Luther King,” the editors later referenced, that “we ask only to be the white man’s brother, not his brother–in-law.” An ensuing article stated, “Miscegenation is almost as devastating socially as the nuclear bomb is physically,” using the assertion of Robert R. Moton, former president of Tuskegee Institute, that interracial marriage constituted “active disloyalty to the Negro Race.” As with many whites of the time, interracial marriage was a step few Missouri Lutherans, even moderates, could yet stomach …”

This is interesting.

In the 1960s, even the champions of liberalism and civil rights within the Missouri Synod were still queasy about miscegenation and interracial marriage and saw that as a bridge too far, but now in 2023 we are told it is “sinful” and “evil” to oppose these things. “Racism” has become such a grievous sin in recent years that excommunication is being considered as a penalty for it. And yet, we can also see that almost no one cared about “racism” until the Boomer generation and that “white supremacy” and segregation were once the norm in the LCMS (Missouri was a Jim Crow state) which was only integrated after World War II.

UPDATE: This is from the Foreward to John C. Behnken’s autobiography written by Matthew Harrison who would now excommunicate people from LCMS for having the same “alt-right” racial and cultural beliefs as his predecessor!


  1. There you go again- blaming the triumph of liberalism over the past 70+ years on the Boomers(1946-1964). Read Jef Costello’s article on Am Ren’s blog roll entitled “From Dumb to Dangerous” blaming everything on Millennials like yourself.

    • Yep, boomers were infants when Truman integrated the military and ancillary contractors, hotels, transportation.

      Boomers were preteens when Brown v. Was ruled on.
      Boomers weren’t even able to vote when civil rights fraudz were enacted.

      • The concept of “Separation of church and state”, or even the more constitutionally literal “freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof” is, was, and has heretofore been a lie, a hoax, a joke, and a sham since at least the civil war.

        I Googled that term, “separation of church and state”, and what did my first search result return? An atheist writing for a “religious education” website, as the moral authority with insight to proclaim that though the words are not in the constitution, we should all understand that they basically *should* be because, reasons.

        The problem is, leftists and atheists invoke this idea when it is convenient. When they insist that the church shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with matters of governance. Ok, sure; but when it comes to the government dictating rules to the church, the leftist and atheist becomes wishy washy. They have no problem with the government using tax codes to manipulate the church, or writing laws that intentionally conflict with religious doctrine, thus forcing the church to conform through the back door.

        Everything is a joke. It’s clown world.

  2. Kieschnick also headed the Texas District.

    >“ONE People—Forgiven.”

    >During his first term in office, Kieschnick said he had made the remark, “This is not your grandfather’s church.” Some were troubled by the comment, he said, saying it suggested LCMS members should turn their backs on the past, or that it insulted the heritage and traditions of the Synod. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” the LCMS president said.

    some interesting links here:

    >By the 1960s, it seems like most Christians (talking in terms of Reformed and various evangelical – in the non-political sense of the word – denominations here) accepted or at least implicitly tolerated the ethics/legality of abortion.

  3. I repeat because it seems difficult for some people to understand……… the problem is not only the protestant church or only the catholic church. The problem is that globalist woke machine is a tool that transforms all institutions into something deviant and sick.

    – Catholic church is perfect and without corruption??? NO, the Catholic Church is affected by globalist influence, especially since there is in government Pope Francis. Even if today we have not drag queen and trans in the church (which is a thing that astonish me for the protestant church), our catholic church is different from 30/40 years ago when it was a healthy institution that promoted family, against gays and abortion. I don’t like the Pope nor i consider him my Pope because i’m agnostic and also because he’s the symbol of corruption.

    – Now the protestant church is perfect and without corruption??? NO, the protestant church in some countries like Sweden and USA have trans and drag queen into the church, even in the priest (the Catholic Church has not gone that far, and for us it would be unthinkable) and it’s also globalist like catholic church. Once time it was a good institution for family, tradition, etc.

    So, that said, my opinion is that we lose our time and is stupid to argue about which of the two churches is better……… Once time both were wise insitutions that were spreading important and healthy values, but today they’re a weapon of woke-left- global society. We have to be unite and not quarrel among ourselves because I tell you guys clearly, if we start quarreling even between Catholics and Protestants then it’s the end. Our enemy (or enemies) is too strong and hard to fight and these years we have seen this. We have to be unite for fight it, because an old saying is “DIVIDE ET IMPERA” and this is what our opponents hope for us.

  4. How much money has the LCMS received from the U.S. Government over the last sixty years or so? I don’t know but I’m sure it has been a fortune. Not just LCMS but the rest of organized Protestant churches, the Catholic Church, the Hebrew Aid Society and no doubt Moslems, too. Every religious institution has been in on the U.S. Government aid racket over the last sixty years or so.

    Any church that opposed the so-called “Civil Rights” (sic) revolution would have had its Government aid immediately ended.

    The Catholic Church in Boston chose to give up running an adoption service for the state government because state law would have required them to place children in homosexual homes. Pope John Paul II had previously written that gay adoptions were “gravely immoral” and not allowed. There was opposition from some because of the loss of lucrative contracts but the Church held firm and gave up the money. This is what happens (and eventually, worse) when the Church opposes Caesar.

    • My preliminary theory is that the theology of all these churches changed on a dime around the same time once it became a threat to their tax exempt status.

      • Follow the money. If the LCMS changed its ideology of race in an about face, then why should we think that any other aspects of its ideology, such as the divinity of Christ, will remain unchanged? Why is the LCMS a bastion of truth when its ethical truths evolve like any secular institution?

      • @Hunter You’re probably right, and it indicates that these institutions are more of a business than a true religion. A true religion wouldn’t care a whit about tax exempt status and just keep doing what they think is right regardless of what the Government thinks this week or next.

        Personally, I have a problem with professional clergy. There should be no such thing. Way too much mischief happens because these professional clergy sit around all day and try to think up ways to make themselves relevant outside of church services. How about they work like the rest of us peasants to earn their daily bread? That would put down a lot of the mischief and weed out the non-serious clergy anyway. As for paying taxes, I’m undecided but a church should be seeing to their parishioners souls not their pocket books. There is usually something very wrong with a “rich” church.

      • Historically, the Roman Cathoic Church has always allowed miscegenation as long as both parties were Roman Catholic. Just look over our southern border for proof of that fact! Or north into French Canada too. Where the French intermarried with Indians like the Spanish did in Latin America.

        It’s a Catholic thing.

      • You certainly have a point there, Mr. Wallace but I think the rot goes much deeper. For one who is Christian, like yourself and most readers of OD, the first order cause was eloquently identified by St. Paul, Letter to the Ephesians Ch. 6 about 2,000 years ago:

        ” . . . For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. . . “

        I would also add the current mode of thinking (or lack of thinking) called Modernism was identified and named in the late 19th century. It was described by its opponents as “The Synthesis of all Heresies”. Pope Pius X required clergy and teachers to take an “Oath against Modernism” before they could be ordained or teach. This requirement remained in effect until 1967.

        Modernism, a second order cause, held that religion was mere opinion: its teachings were changeable, not fixed, the historical truth of the early Church was doubtful (at best), that modern methods of research, especially in the Natural Sciences would soon (written in 1910) contradict and explain the delusion of Faith, miracles, Jesus, virgin birth etc. After all, people had modern miracles like electric light bulbs, telephones, horseless carriages, even flying machines by 1910. No doubt man could be perfected soon by the science of biology.

        Progress i.e. improvement in man’s condition through science was the long sought panacea, not the superstition of religion. These geniuses didn’t figure the “Miracles of Science” included chemical weapons, the tank and machine gun and eventually, nuclear weapons to name a few of the modern miracles we enjoy. Let’s not forget plastics everywhere choking the oceans and dilute birth control pills in the public water supply too.


        Of course Modernism, “The Synthesis of all Heresies”, didn’t stay confined to religion for long. Society began to crumble as civil law became changeable, what was a crime yesterday is not today, morality i.e. right and wrong eroded immediately, a development welcomed by businessmen and politicians, and now we enjoy the fruits of Modernism in our wonderful “democracy”. Mostly Modernism created confusion. Progress was replaced by mere change for the sake of change and chaos has been the result. Like a fatal tumor the progressive idea must continue to grow and destroy lest it be destroyed.

        • Have you ever noticed how these people present themselves as Anglican, Orthodox, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, atheists, agnostics, pagans and so on and despite all of the various theological differences between these groups nevertheless spout the exact same bullshit?

          • “.differences between these groups nevertheless spout the exact same bullshit?”

            Like they are reading from a script.

          • They were all taught from the same secular curriculum as part of their training to be priests/ministers. Theoretically they are in the world but not of it. Practically they are in the world and of it, bigly as the Rev. Trump would say. Typical training of clergy is focused on training them to be social workers saving the world, not saving souls. The universities are the root of the problem since all the professions including clergy travel through universities and are exposed to their poison.

            The communists first infiltrated the schools, universities at the top, kindergarten at the bottom with “Heather has two Mommies” for the children. Antonio Gramsci stood Marx on his head; revolution from the top down, not the bottom up. Religious institutions had to be subverted lest they present an implacable resistance to communism which would smash itself to pieces against it.

            It’s truly amazing how quickly and easily various churches caved in, offering no resistance to Caesar and his bag of money. Their faith is a mile wide and a millionth of an inch deep. They are like the Church in Laodicea, neither hot nor cold and should be vomited out. (Apocalypses Ch. 3:15)


        • The synthesis of a problem accurately described : “Of course Modernism, “The Synthesis of all Heresies”, didn’t stay confined to religion for long. Society began to crumble as civil law became changeable, what was a crime yesterday is not today, morality i.e. right and wrong eroded immediately, a development welcomed by businessmen and politicians, and now we enjoy the fruits of Modernism in our wonderful “democracy”. Mostly Modernism created confusion. Progress was replaced by mere change for the sake of change and chaos has been the result. Like a fatal tumor the progressive idea must continue to grow and destroy lest it be destroyed.”

      • We can thank the utterly evil Lyndon Baines Johnson (Senator from TX at the time) for the whole basket of changes to the tax code from 1954 which brought churches under the 501c(3) section. You can read about the whole history of tax-exemption right here at the IRS itself. One of the rules established back then is that churches could not endorse candidates.

        This rule is rarely if ever enforced against negro ‘churches’, mosques, synagogues, etc. – only against those churches populated mainly by whites. It has been a major battering ram employed by the Church of Woke to infiltrate and subvert Christian denominations – the LCMS being an excellent example of how it was done. The regime in Sodom-on-Potomac likewise twisted the LDS so that their “prophet” suddenly had a “vision” of negroes being part of the priesthood back in the 1970s (Nixon or Carter administration).

        Churches can elect not to file as 501c(3) organizations and pay taxes of course. They can also refuse government largesse to ‘feed the poor’, ‘heal the sick’, resettle rapefugees, hold drag-queen Sunday Schools for the kids and the many other perverted and evil things funded with counterfeit money borrowed from the private banking cartel called the “Federal reserve”. Getting churches on the federal teat was a major part of Shrub Bush’s ‘faith-based initiatives’ component of “compassionate conservatism”. Some warned of this back then but as usual the idiocracy paid no attention and took the free money.

        • ” . . . The regime in Sodom-on-Potomac likewise twisted the LDS so that their “prophet” suddenly had a “vision” of negroes being part of the priesthood back in the 1970s . . . “

          Yes, and Mitt the Mormon testified on national TV that when he heard on his car radio that the LDS had “suddenly” received a new “revelation,” that negroes could now be 100% Mormon instead of 3/5ths he had to pull over and weep, he was so moved. We all know Mitt is as honest as the day is long so naturally, one must believe the story. After all, the LDS “revelator” received a “new revelation” from Jesus, or his brother Satan, or Joseph Smith, or the angel Moroni or the weed he was smoking or that hit of acid or a fifth of Saint Jack Daniels, telling him of this new, eternal truth. Which may go the way of all flesh when the times change again. Who knows?

          Now, some would claim that the new “revelation” came from the sharp tongued lawyers at the Dept. of (so-called) Justice, “Civil Rights” (sic) Division, threatening first, the removal of tax exempt status. If that didn’t get the attention of the mountebanks in charge of the LDS then they would start poking around the LDS’ finances. Mitt the Mormon, being a Bain “consulting” kind of guy could add up the figures right quick.

          Could they withstand that scrutiny for long? The LDS top management saw the Light (after feeling the heat) and: Praise the Lord! Bring on the colored folk. As they said on The Price is Right: Come on Down!

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  1. Andrew Schulze, Concordia Publishing House and “White Supremacy” In LCMS – Occidental Dissent

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