Tuesday, April 09, 2013

ELCA BIshop Accused in DUI-Related Death

A woman named Maureen Mengelt was out running near her home in Wisconsin on Sunday, as she often did.  She was struck by a car and killed.  Our prayers go out to her family and friends.

Sadly, the driver of the car was Bruce Burnside, bishop of the ELCA's South-Central Wisconsid Synod.  He is being held by police, and has been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol.  The police did not release his BAC to the press.  Our prayers go out to Bishop Burnside and, especially, the people of his synod.

Burnside was on his way to a meeting at one of his synod's congregations.

Although we do not find that Lutheran pastors drink any more than the average person, or even as much, we most definitely have come to believe that alcoholism and depression occur at very high rates among our colleagues.  This includes bishops; it was not long ago that Bishop Marsh was required to step down from his position in Detroit for similar reasons.

We have no numbers to back any of this up.  We're not even aware that anybody has ever studied it.  But we do think that our health plan, which famously rewards us for taking a five-minute online assessment of things like our vegetable intake, might reward us even more highly for getting into AA and/or seeing a psychotherapist regularly.


Anonymous said...

Bishop March resigned because of sexual addiction.

Father Anonymous said...

Is that true? The press release simply referred to "addiction," and I didn't press any further. If you are not absolutely certain, please let me know so that I can remove this thread of comments to avoid gossip.

In any case, I believe that sexual addiction, like addiction to alcohol and presumably other drugs, is frequently a form of self-medication. Unhappy people look for a shot of dopamine and other chemicals that will temporarily relieve their pain. And there does seem to be a lot of that going around.