those from Eastern Europe and the ThirdrnWorld—are involved in large-scale smugglingrnof American cigarettes that arrivernfrom Montenegro and are then shippedrnvia Bosnia to the European Union.”rnForeigners have absolute power inrnBosnia. The results were to be expected.rnAs for Anrbassador Miller and his cronyrnMilorad Dodik, watch this space.rnSrdja TrifkovicrnT H E MISSOURI S Y N O D of thernLutheran Church (LCMS) is at a crossroads,rnand not for the reasons most mightrnthink. Conservatives and liberals withinrnthe 2.6-million-member synod have bickeredrnand postured over their presidentialrnelechon, held during the 61st synodicalrnconvention in July. But another issue ofrnequal significance was not even scheduledrnfor discussion —one that may servernas a sign of the times for the synod knownrnas a bastion of confessional conservatismrnamong Lutherans worldwide.rnLutheran Brotherhood (LB), a Fortunern500 company with $3.2 billion inrnrevenue for the year 2000, is a “fraternalrnbenefit society of 1.2 million Lutheranrnmembers joined together for financial security’,rncharitable outreach and volunteerrnservice.” LB provides mutual-fund investmentrnopportunities, insurance, and financialrnplanning arrd distributes its wealthrnchiefly through funding the building ofrnnew Lutheran churches in the UnitedrnStates and abroad. The LCMS is a patronrnand beneficiary, as is the ELCA, thernlargest American Lutheran synodicalrnbody. Many of the ELCA’s membersrntake active roles iir LB’s corporate leadership.rnThe ELCA officially tolerates abortion,rnflirts with homosexuals, ordainsrnwomen, aird has entered into union orrn”pulpit and altar fellowship” with thernPresbyterian Church (USA) and thernEpiscopal Church in America, both ofrnwhich deny the Lutheran formulation ofrnthe doctrine of the “Real Presence,” arnhallmark of Lutheran dogma since thern16th century.rnFor these and other reasons, thernLCMS does not engage in pulpit and altarrnfellowship with the ELCA. And yet, itrnseems, financial fellowship is acceptable,rnprovided LB’s kindness is doled out forrn”charitable outreach and volunteer service”rnupon which all can agree.rnEnter LB’s annual adolescent essaywritingrncontest, “RespecTeen.” Winnersrnfrom each state attend an all-expensespaidrnNational Youth Forum in Washington,rnD.C., where they are trained to bernfuture lobbyists by learning, according tornthe Seattle Times, “how to better [sic]rncommunicate their messages to U.S. senatorsrnand representatives.”rnThe 2001 winner from the state ofrnWashington, an eighth-grader namedrnJames Humphrey, wrote his congressman,rnJennifer Dunn (R-WA), an impassionedrnessay/letter on the topic of abortion.rnThat might not seem so strange,rnexcept that he begs her to lobby forrnits permanent legalization. Why? Becausernthat way, bewildered parents whornfear they might be about to give birth to,rnsay, a retarded child, a cripple, or someonernwho needs expensive “therapy andrnmedication and attention” might eliminaternall of that future grief by killing himrnin utero. Nice —especially when we recallrnthat Martin Luther considered contraceptionrna form of sodomy.rnWhy such a brutal perspective from arn15-year-old? Apparently, James Humphrey’srn12-year-old brother, Stephen, hasrna severe form of autism and must communicaternby pointing. He also requiresrnconstant supervision. Beaming motherrnKareir Humphrey adds that Stephen’srncare amounts to $35,000 each year, butrnluckily, Jim Senior “is a doctor, and hernworks long hours to make enough moneyrnfor all of it.” {I’m no economist, butrnwhat’s the going rate for a D&E, comparedrnto 35 grand each year? And howrncan you even begin to calculate the costrnof round-the-clock supervision?)rn”I don’t mean my brother never shouldrnhave been born,” Humphrey assured thernlocal press. “He’s a great kid.” Still, accordingrnto Mrs. Humphrey, “we can’trntake many trips” due to “the difficulty ofrn[Stephen’s autism].”rnhi awe of the blatant eugenicist bent ofrnthis award-winning letter, I telephonedrnLutheran Brotherhood to tr)’ to find outrnwhat sort of insanity lay behind thernchoice of this boy’s essay (out of 10,000rnsubmitted). “We pick the winner basedrnon clarity of thought, sincerity, and originality,rnnot based on content,” the p.r. ladyrntold me.rn”I just don’t believe that,” 1 responded.rn”Let’s say the piece had been about pedophilia,rninstead of abortion. Would yourneven consider it—even if it were lucid,rnsincere, and original?”rn”I see your point,” she said.rn1 went on to ask her for a list of thernjudges, which she would not give me. Irntold her that, as a Missouri Synod Lutheranrn(the LCMS is officially pro-life), I wasrnoffended that my synod is affiliated withrnan organization that is pouring fuel onrnthe fire of the culture of death. She remindedrnme that “the Missouri Synodrndoes not control Lutheran Brotherhoodrn—they’re just a patron.” “Exactly,” Irnresponded. “And our synod has a goodrndeal of money at stake that might give itrnpause about taking a public stand againstrnyou.”rnThe nice lady at the LCMS hiformationrnCenter sounded shocked and dismayedrnwhen I called and asked for an officialrnresponse from the synod. Afterrnchecking around, she informed me that,rnwhile the synod does not approve of thernselection, it did not plan to sanction orrnsuspend relations with the organization.rn”No motion that will go before the delegatesrnat the convention?” I asked. “No,”rnshe said, dejected.rnMaybe the LCMS should stipulaternthat each church built with LB money bernnamed Aceldama Lutheran Church, afterrna certain potter’s field purchased withrn30 pieces of silver (Matthew 27: 7-9).rn—Aaron D. WolfrnTHE FUTURE OF CHRISTENDOM,rnaccording to the Population ReferencernBureau’s 2001 annual report, is likely to bernpretty bleak. The report’s chief conclusionrnis that population growth in the Westrnhas ground to a halt, while the ThirdrnWorld is reproducing like gangbusters.rnTire numbers: “Of the 83 million peoplernadded to the global population each yearrnby the difference between births andrndeaths, only one million are in the industrializedrncountries.” Within the next 50rnyears, Cermany will likely no longer bernranked among the 15 most-populousrncountries (it’s the only European countryrncurrently in the top 15), and tire populationrnof Russia is expected to drop from 144rnmillion to 137 millioir. During the samerntime, Mexico is projected to grow fromrn100 million to 137 million; Nigeria, fromrn127 million to 204 million; and Pakistan,rnfrom 145 million to 252 million.rnEuropeans and Americans might bernalarmed by the report, but they should notrnbe surprised. Birth rates in the West havernbeen timrbling for the past half-century.rnThe Population Reference Bureau callsrnthis a “natiiral decrease… due both to thernlow birth rate and to higher proportions ofrnolder people in the population.”rnThe report finds that the “UnitedrnStates is now the only industrializedrncountry in the world with a fertility rate atrnAUGUST 2001/7rnrnrn