Hickey/Hildebrand on the attack again, this time because Lutherans don’t want to join their team.

The crusaders of Because-I-say-so, Steve Hildebrand and Steve Hickey, are on the attack again in the Argus Leader this morning, after what I assume was a crabby e-mail to Jonathan Ellis trying to whip up a controversy among South Dakota ELCA Lutherans because the group had no interest in joining them.

But in South Dakota, where voters this year will decide on a ballot measure that caps interest rates on short-term loans at 36 percent, the ELCA is sitting on the sidelines. Efforts to recruit the church, which is one of the most influential religious organizations in the state, have failed.

Supporters of the cap say they know why: The lawyer who represents the South Dakota Synod of the ELCA in Pierre also represents the payday lending industry.


Two of the sponsors of the 36 percent rate cap, Steve Hickey and Steve Hildebrand, personally lobbied Zellmer for his support on the ballot issue last year. Hickey described Zellmer as a “cold fish” when it came to the issue.

In an interview this month, Zellmer said he heard them out. But he said he has not received direction on the issue from the South Dakota Synod Assembly.

“I don’t work for Steve Hickey. I don’t work for Steve Hildebrand,” Zellmer said.


“I would completely trust that Bishop Zellmer is above board on these kinds of questions,” Sorenson said.

Sorenson added that Lutherans are commanded to make the best construction of what others say or do and not to assume the worst.

“I think we tend to be too suspicious of these kinds of things,” he said.

Read it here.

This fight is mainly a difference of opinion on whether a legal consumer lending product should remain legal. Economists and scholars in favor of free enterprise believe that limiting choices on things like short term loans limits freedom.  The two Steves believe in less freedom, and limits on free enterprise and want to end the availability of those types of lending products.

Beating the drum of “It’s all a conspiracy, and they’re all in cahoots!”,  these opponents of the short term lending industry have regularly been on the attack against anyone who disagrees with them on the issue, and in some cases have been fairly vicious.  The short term lending opponents have attacked the industry and made claims of them being involved with the mafia, and now they’re attacking the integrity of the ELCA’s Lutheran Bishop because he isn’t signing on to their cause.

When I say “I can’t imagine why someone would take a pass on being involved with those guys'”  I’m doing so with a heavy dollop of sarcasm.  With their name calling and strong-arm tactics, at this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone credible wanting to be involved with them.

Especially when their social engineering moves us away from free enterprise, and towards more socialism.

38 thoughts on “Hickey/Hildebrand on the attack again, this time because Lutherans don’t want to join their team.”

  1. Agree with them Lutheran Social services help the poor , and refugees how many have came to these pay day lenders.If they cant make it on thirty six percent maybe they should get out of business.

  2. “Free Market” has been obfuscated for as long as mankind has been bartering.

  3. Attacking Bishop Zellmer is probably not the best political strategy (plus he’s a very good guy)

    1. Bishop Zellmer is such a good guy, except when he’s slandering all who disagree with him on the ELCA’s man-made commandments on sexual issues.

        1. Yep. In meetings with members of congregations that were contemplating leaving the ELCA. In Huron. In Aberdeen. In Watertown. Witnesses galore.

          1. Expanded remarks to Anonymous at 7:52 …

            Bishop Zellmer vigorously defends social justice decisions of the ELCA that are contrary to the Word. He slanders orthodox believers — who share the faith of the vast majority of Christians throughout history — when he insists we are wrong to trust scripture and not a few hundred delegates at a national gathering.

            It’s not a legalistic slander, but a slander of faith. Bishop Zellner knows exactly what he does.

            1. Proof in the form of a YouTube video? Or a video recording of Bishop Zellmer saying the things you claim? Otherwise, your statements might be libelous.

              1. Two things:

                1. As I say, there were witnesses at the meetings. If, Thomas-like, you require more proof with video or recordings, I didn’t do those. But I’m sure I could rustle them up, if needed.

                2. Doubtful on libel. He’s a public figure.

                1. You’re in a gray area. He’s not a publicly elected figure. Your narcissism just might land you in hot water.

                  1. Public figures don’t have to be elected. Everything I’ve said above could be in a letter to the editor.

                    1. Okay, if you say so. It must be true. But letters to the editor can also be considered libelous.

  4. What ever happened to Hickey going to Scotland? I thought I heard if he didn’t leave the country he was going to be prosecuted because of the false signatures on his petitions??

  5. “Denny Sanford plays the Mamba,
    Chuck Brennan’s on the radio!
    Don’t you remember?
    We built South Dakota on
    High Risk Loans!”

  6. The Lutherans have been the puppet-masters running the state for a very long time. I don’t say it is wrong, I just state it and say that Mr. Zellmer is a nice enough fellow.

    1. The Catholics aren’t the ones bringing refugees into the state, assisting them for a month, collecting fees from the federal government, and then telling them they are on their own.
      A friend of mine is very active in the resettlement of refugees in Boston.
      One of them explained how it works: “they test our blood to see if we should go to Boston or South Dakota.”
      Yes: The decision as to whether they go to Boston or Sioux Falls depends on the result of an unknown blood test.
      Lutheran Social Services makes a lot of money off of trafficking refugees.

  7. I am Lutheran and I will vote for the rate cap. I don’t need the SD Synod to tell me how to vote. Lutherans tend to stay out of politics. And Bishop Zellmer is a very nice gentleman.

  8. The inability of Hickey to countenance people can legitimately disagree with him without nefarious motives is one thing. But to personally attack when when he is choosing to allow his flock to wade through the choice is bizarre.

    Hickey has found a moral clarity on this issue most haven’t found. As the article points out, many agree with the goal but obviously find problems with this bill.

    People in leadership have to pick their fights/issues lest they become a clanging cymbal. And those who insist on clanging become just noise. And, instead of attacking people who have been on your side on the past, I think Hickey would have been better served to quit clanging and listen and learn more.

    1. There seems to be some inexplicable animosity among PP, TJ and Rev. Hickey. While it may be a Catholic v. Protestant thing, the personal attacks author are definitely unchristian, and mostly hypocritical.

      I for one welcome Rev. Hickey’s comments here, as I may disagree with them–the choice to criticize him and his efforts to enlist the ELCA, while banning him from responding here, is not very classy. Yes, we can all learn more, but not when one or more voices are silenced.

      Newsworthy? Only in the sense of another opportunity to deepen the wounds.

      1. Julie/Andrew –

        If you don’t like it, start your own website.

        Steve was being a jerk as he personally attacked those who disagree with him. Sometimes a timeout is necessary.

  9. Hickey lobbies the Bishop of the ELCA to endorse his pay-day lending bill. The Bishop declines. And from the Argus article:

    “Supporters of the cap say they KNOW (emphasis added) why: The lawyer who represents the South Dakota Synod of the ELCA in Pierre also represents the payday lending industry.”

    That presumes three things:

    1) Hickey can peer into the Bishop’s soul and discern his motive.
    2) Bishop Zellmer isn’t his own man but answers to his attorney.
    3) Hickey has a better understanding of what issues ELCA should speak out than its own Bishop.

    “Hickey described Zellmer as a “cold fish” when it came to the issue.”

    The Bishop didn’t reach the same moral outrage as Hickey? The gall of the man!

    “Hickey says Zellmer has the authority to speak out on issues absent an assembly resolution.”

    And, so what? Bishop Zellmer must speak out because Reverend Hickey told him to? That is bizarre.

    “His moral outrage is curiously selective, and we aren’t stupid as to why he’s quiet on loan sharks in South Dakota,” Hickey said in an email.

    Yep. If Bishop’s weren’t selective on when they choose to speak, they’d just be clanging cymbal. But, there he goes again, Hickey KNOWS Bishop Zellmer’s motives.

  10. Regarding banning Pastor Hickey, it would be my experience and probably that of a number of others that his voice rarely lends clarity to anything. He speaks in tongues of sort, questions people’s motives, bashes their conclusions, searches for sinister reasons and condemns those who differ. The Argus article isn’t his first time at these tactics and certainly won’t be his last. Small wonder that he was a bit of a frustrated failure as a legislator.

    1. We all question people’s motives. It’s natural, and inaccurate, but it’s often very useful as a general matter.

      Many people post here anonymously or pseudonymously. Why? Who knows, but the same [Christian] hypocrites who are denouncing Rev. Hickey for questioning others motives are the same ones who question why others post anonymously, and play the game of “revealing true identities” when its suits their nefarious motives, mostly motivated out of anger and resentment.

      I for one respond to whomever I please without demanding a “real name”. Ideas are ideas, and argument are arguments no matter who makes them. And while I do question motives, I do so only AFTER those motives are made clear for all to see using the poster’s own words to do so, and I do so in general terms, not specific to the poster (who is often anonymous anyway).

      Let Rev. Hickey explain himself, HERE. What’s the harm?

  11. The real question is why the Argus even prints this crap? Does Hildebrand own that paper?

    1. I agree.

      1) This appears to be an article that appears to have come out of a personal conversation several months ago and Bishop Zellmer appears to be blind-sided that it is now public.

      2) Does the Argus write such articles on every group that declines to take a public position on an issue? If I were Lutheran, I’d be furious with the Argus Leader.

      3) The entire article is written in a way that provokes innuendo against Bishop Zellmer and LSS President Oldenkamp personally.

      1. I just noticed this was me. I didn’t notice I wasn’t logged in. I don’t intend to post anonymously. When I do, it is inadvertent.

  12. Andrew Shiers,

    1) Questioning a person’s motives (especially when one has no evidence) is a textbook logic fallacy (argumentum ad hominem- attacking your opponent instead of their idea).

    2) If “arguments are arguments no matter who makes them,” then why with the personal attacks and relevance of motives. You seem to be talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    3) You must be awful prescient to discern someone’s motives from a posts which doesn’t describe motives.

    4) What makes you think my motives to reveal your identify you has a nefarious motive? Have I ever told you my motives? How do you KNOW my motives aren’t good? And, since arguments are arguments, what difference does it make anyway?

  13. There are several misstatements and logical fallacies in these posts.

    At no point has Rev. Hickey claimed to have seen or studied the bishop’s soul in order to determine a motive. This is known as a “strawman fallacy”.

    At no point has Rev. Hickey stated or suggested that the bishop must speak out on this issue because Rev. Hickey asked him to. This is another example of a “strawman fallacy”.

    At no point has Rev. Hickey claimed to have a better understanding than the bishop on what the ELCA should publicly address. This too is a “strawman fallacy”.

    Discerning a person’s motive does not require an investigation into a person’s soul. In criminal cases for example, motives are often discerned from a person’s actions, statements, and circumstances. Likewise, on blogs, lengthy interactions, or face-to-face discussions, one can determine another’s motives simply through those multiple observations. Of course, those conclusions regarding motives may be wrong, but when described and analyzed through the give and take of multiple interactions, they tend to be sufficiently accurate. Naturally, one is not likely to come out, bare her soul, and proclaim, “I am a racist and that’s why I hate”, so it is NECESSARY to determine motives through the other aforementioned avenues. Similarly, if one were to make such a proclamation, it would indeed be strong (but rebuttable) evidence of the speaker’s motive for hating! One need not analyze another’s soul to discern motive—that’s just plain silly—one’s words and actions over time are sufficient to establish motive and character. (This all may arise out of the confusion between a person’s “motive” and whether one is worthy of spiritual “salvation”, but it’s difficult to unravel the author’s ongoing fascination with pop theology and his bizarre elucidations thereof).

    Motive is ALWAYS pertinent to a discussion or debate as it is reflective of credibility—and credibility is always an issue. If a person has a personal, pecuniary, emotional, or religious stake in an issue, then it is pertinent to the claims and statements made during the argument since the reason(s) for making those claims and statements may be shaded, exaggerated, or altered by those self-interests. A person’s motives are always relevant to a discussion, and to suggest that they’re not is intellectually weak and without a logical or definitional basis.

    It has been claimed that questioning a person’s motive is an “ad hominem” argument. This is wrong. It’s the difference between arguing that the other person is mistaken or inaccurate because of some self-interest related to the issue (i.e., motive) versus a person is mistaken because of some unrelated characteristic or action (i.e., you’re ugly, have a funny name, you read pornography, you kick kitties). In order to be effective, the self-interest of the other person’s self-interest must be accurately described and a foundation provided; Rev. Hickey has done that vis-a-vis the bishop. A reader may disagree with that, and thereby further the discussion, but it is intellectually lazy to claim that no such discussion or debate on the person’s motive can ever be made since motive can never be discerned. Denying that an argument even exists is known as “denying the antecedent”—it’s another logical fallacy.

    Lastly, at no point has Rev. Hickey’s dispute with the views of the ELCA, the bishop’s decision, or even Rev. Hickey’s views of payday lenders been discussed. Instead, several paragraphs and thousands of words have been written attacking Rev. Hickey’s intentions and motives, and scolding him for not listening more (especially ironic since one poster in particular has been counseled by multiple posters to stop typing, listen more to his self-described Christian conscience, follow the Bible, and live more morally). This tactic is known as an “ad hominem” attack. Of course, the same hypocritical scolder once tried to “argue” that a modus ponens argument was a lie even if the hypothesis was not met, so it’s doubtful that she know much about “arguments ” beyond the superficial!

    And what might be Rev. Hickey’s response to all these attacks on him and claims about his motives? We do not know since he is not allowed to post here. My, what childishness.

  14. Andrew, if you can please reconcile these statements:

    Andrew: “At no point has Rev. Hickey claimed to have seen or studied the bishop’s soul in order to determine a motive.”

    Hickey: “His moral outrage is curiously selective, and we aren’t stupid as to why he’s quiet on loan sharks in South Dakota,”

    P.S. To relieve you of the burden of always pointing out I’m a sinner in need of a Savior, I’ll stipulate to that.

    Sidebar: In another discussion you said: “The nuns do not operate Avera–they own it as a corporation The CEO and management MANAGE and OPERATE Avera. That’s the way corporations operate, including Avera”

    Since you don’t live in South Dakota and might not read the Argus, I thought you’d find this article interesting. I’m not trying to re-start that argument but only to let you have a perspective Avera aspires to be a mission first and corporation second. And, personally, I think the mission is most evident in big ways and small ways vs. Avera being a corporation. A short story: I’m with a group of men, one of whom is in management at Avera. He makes a comment that he is a convert and he is asked to tell his story. I knew he was married to a Catholic so I presume it would be the more normal wife/kids story of worshipping together. In short he said (paraphrased), “I loved my job and when I figured out I was working for a Catholic mission I realized by having what the nuns have I could love my vocation.” The longer version was a beautiful story of the working of the Holy Spirit.


  15. Requesting that a person explain or justify a second person’s statement is known as “putting words into someone’s mouth”–it’s a logical fallacy.

    A reasonable person would seek that explanation or clarification from the author of the statement–but when he’s banned from responding, I guess one can make any claim one wants (the strawman fallacy) and not worry about a retort. How convenient!

    It sure is interesting how often one can be illogical while yammering on and on (the ad infinitum beatdown) about someone else being illogical and bizarre, without fear of being corrected or having to read an explanation or clarification from the author of those illogical and bizarre statements (because he’s been banned). Talk about not countenancing disagreement!

    And then the expectation that third party can or should explain them for him! Yes, that IS BIZARRE!

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