So, after 450-plus years, some Lutherans*, presumably trapped in an airport somewhere, bumped from their flights to see the La Brea Tar Pits, or unable to compete in their respective bowling leagues due to wrist-lock, have decided to kill time by issuing a formal apology to the descendants of the 16th-century Anabaptists, namely, Wanda and Earl Kolodny of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Some perspective. To begin with, one must understand that, in nailing his theses to the Wittenberg church door, Martin Luther bore a hole large enough to let loose a bevy of self-proclaimed prophets, apostles, revolutionaries, screwballs, and unitarians. Some were calling for the violent overthrow of the existing order. Some were calling for the near-total withdrawal from the existing order. And some just wanted to prance around naked and sing an early version of the theme to Caddyshack.
Among this dappled crew were those who believed the church to be so corrupt that only the re-baptizing of professing adults could make a clean spiritual start of things. Infant baptism was mere thralldom to an ecclesiastical leviathan that had made common cause with corrupt civil government, pious hypocrites, and whoever invented the atomic wedgie.
Luther, never known to mince words, felt something to be amiss with these folks: “Who seeth not here in the Anabaptists, men not possessed with devils, but even devils themselves possessed with worse devils?” Luther being Luther, he encouraged their being tossed into rivers and beaten with sticks—oh, you know how he gets.
Among the radicals, however, was one relatively benign sort, a guy named Menno Simons, from whom modern-day Anabaptists take their name: the Simonizers. Harmless, pacificisististical, and really bad drivers, the Simonizers can be found buffing a Hyundai near you.
And here we are, in 2010, making amends. So, Mr. and Mrs. Kolodny, as a poor Lutheran layman, allow me to offer my deepest apologies for the 1500s and the rather intemperate recommendations of Dr. Luther.
I promise: it will never happen again.
* It should be noted that the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is not in league with the Lutheran World Federation, which issued the apology, but is in league with the Justice League of America. Which is to say, as far as I know, the LCMS does not apologize, but may still feel really bad about it all. Rumor has it that the new president of the LCMS has asked Congorilla to mediate a brunch in the not-too-distant future.