Published November 13 2010
Bishop: ELCA not against genetically modified seeds
“The draft does not condemn GMOs (genetically modified organisms). It just says that, as we’re playing with the very building blocks of life, let’s be careful and thoughtful about that because we do not want to do damage in the process,” said Rindy, bishop of the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
There has been concern on the part of some that the ELCA statement condemns biotech farming. Anselm Trinity Lutheran Church in rural Sheldon, N.D., recently left the ELCA, and in an interview earlier this week, congregation President Jill Bunn referenced such concerns within that congregation.
The statement, which is still in the draft stage, addresses issues beyond agriculture, including discussions of human, animal and plant genetics.
“Nowhere does it dictate what people should or shouldn’t plant,” Rindy said.
Rindy said there’s “room at the table for both” organic farmers and those who use GMOs. The statement “doesn’t say one is right and one is wrong. It’s just saying let’s be careful how we deal with this because we have great power now,” Rindy said.
The social statement would have to be passed at an ELCA Churchwide Assembly to be adopted. The next assembly is in August 2011.
Exactly what the final draft of the statement will look like isn’t yet known because the document is still subject to revision. Rindy said whether the final version is adopted is up to those voting.
“My counsel is and will always be, please read the document, and then let’s talk about it,” he said. “Let’s not blast the document which hasn’t been read.”
- Read a draft of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s social statement on genetics at www.elca.org.
- Click here to download a PDF of the document.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734