Lutheran churches across the world celebrate this day in memory of the Protestant Reformation. It was on October 31, 1517, when Dr. Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church door, the historical equivalent of the church’s online forum.
Significantly, the 95 Theses rejected the Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences (certificates that reduced the time a departed loved one suffered in Purgatory). The slogan attributed to indulgence salesman John Tetzel was:
As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul into Heaven springs.
This is one of the coin boxes on display in Wittenberg, Germany:
While the differences between Luther and the medieval Catholic Church were more theologically profound, this practice of abusive fundraising was still a significant point of contention. (And perhaps this is why modern Lutherans are not particularly successful at fundraising.) I think that it was shameful to foster anxiety and then to take advantage of heightened grief and affection for relatives to raise money, which brings me to:
What’s my point? I believe that birthers and other right-wing groups foster anxiety in people by misrepresentation and then take money in exchange for promises that cannot be fulfilled. (Orly Taitz is not going to win her lawsuit, and Mike Zullo is not going to cause a Congressional investigation in to Obama’s identity documents.) In fact, the donors just get more anxiety and hate as they become financially invested in conspiracy theories and smears.
As soon as the PayPal button clicks, Obama from office kicks