Naturally, the headline of the post might lead you to believe that I’m going to rant about how Michele Bachman, the Minnesota congresswoman and Republican presidential candidate, is the antichrist. I’m no fan—in fact, I’m frightened by here—but that’s not what this post is about and I also don’t think she’s that dangerous.
No, this post is about a great column that Mollie had in the Wall Street Journal last week about how the mainstream media reacted to news that Bachmann was once Lutheran. Mollie is Lutheran (Missouri Synod), and she was surprised that the MSM was so surprised to learn that Lutherans and Catholics aren’t besties.
This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone familiar with the Reformation, but it hit the press hard. “Michele Bachmann leaves church accused of anti-Catholic bias,” the Los Angeles Times reported. The Atlantic Monthly: “Michele Bachmann’s Church Says the Pope Is the Antichrist.” From the Washington Post, we learned that the Lutheran Confessions use “unfortunate wording.”
To be sure, the “antichrist” rhetoric is strong. Found in Martin Luther’s Smalcald Articles, such language is part of a tradition that reaches back into the 10th century. As a National Council of Churches Committee has written, “Not only dissidents and heretics but even saints had called the bishop of Rome the ‘antichrist’ when they wished to castigate his abuse of power.”
During the Reformation, Catholic statements against Lutheran beliefs were similarly strong. The Council of Trent’s canons declared that anyone who believed in justification by faith alone was to be “anathema,” or cut off from the church.
Is that something that political reporters should know? In my days at GetReligion, that would have made a great post; it was natural for Mollie to take it to the WSJ. But since I’ve left GetReligion and Mollie did such a good job with the story elsewhere, I’ll just recommend that you read the rest here.