Bachmann, family leave Minn. church congregation

AP News
Posted: Jul 15, 2011 5:03 PM
Bachmann, family leave Minn. church congregation

A church official says Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann and her family gave up their membership in a conservative Lutheran congregation about the time she opened her presidential campaign.

A spokesman for the denomination to which the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church belongs says the church council granted the Bachmanns' request for release from membership June 21. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod spokesman Joel Hochmuth says the request was made "within weeks" of the council decision. Bachmann announced her campaign plans in mid-June.

Hochmuth says Bachmann gave no reason for leaving. An email was sent Friday to a campaign spokeswoman Friday.

The conservative denomination adheres to strict doctrine and excludes women from church leadership roles. A pastor at the church had previously told The Associated Press the Bachmanns stopped attending regularly years ago.