On Friday, The Blaze reported on some new questions that have emerged regarding GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's official separation from Salem Lutheran Church, a house of worship she and her family attended for years.
An anonymous source from within Bachmann's presidential campaign tells CBN's David Brody that the presidential contender stopped attending the church a few years ago over "preference issues" (i.e. differences in opinion). If true, this account could debunk theories that Bachmann's departure was rooted in political fears over her former denomination's controversial stance on Catholicism.
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The controversy over Bachmann's church began after it was noted that Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), the broader denomination to which Bachmann's former church belonged, holds some unconventional views on the Catholic Church. Just six days before her official campaign launch, the congresswoman officially withdrew her membership from the congregation. Bachmann's aide tells Brody why the family separated from the church:
The aide, who asked not to be identified, says Congresswoman Bachmann ran into the pastor from Salem Lutheran Church at an event last month. During the coincidental encounter, the pastor inquired about how he had not seen the Bachmann family at church for a good period of time. Bachmann explained that they were attending a non-denominational evangelical church the last few years. During the conversation, she told him it would be best for her and her husband to no longer be members.
Rather than Bachmann seeking out the pastor as some outlets have led readers to assume, the aide claims that the meeting was by chance. According to this anonymous source, the Bachmanns began looking for a new church more than two years ago after they moved, but they left their membership in tact at Salem Lutheran.
The aide would not specify whether the church's views on Catholicism played into Bachmann's decision to leave. That being said, the congresswoman has repeatedly stated that she does not embrace these ideals.
Considering the timeframe presented, it is quite possible that the media are looking for a controversy embedded in Bachmann's church departure that simply does not exist. Following the religious bombshell that was Rev. Wright and the continued importance of personal faith in elections, this search -- among all of the candidates -- is to be expected.
Two years ago, Bachmann did not yet know she would be running for the presidency, so her decision to no longer attend Salem Lutheran was likely not political -- though we cannot know for sure.
Perhaps she was worried about the perception people would have if her official membership (though she was no longer attending) was still devoted to a denomination with such controversial views. Or, perhaps she and her family simply want to become members somewhere else and the timing is unfortunately suspect. Either way, this aide's comments on the matter add perspective.
In the end, comparing this mild controversy to the firebomb that was Rev. Wright may be a bit of a stretch.