The reason? Answer: Because Rev. Harrison did not want to appear at a conference where my friend was the keynote speaker. According to the chaplain, Rev. Harrison could not be on the same podium as my friend because the latter had expressed public support for some preliminary documents that led up to the ELCA's decision last summer to ordain gays and lesbians who are in committed, life-long, publicly-accountable relationships.
Has the fear of "impurity" become so great that one cannot even risk being seen "in the company of sinners"? In an earlier time, and still in some places today, LCMSers have taken risks for the sake of the gospel and Christian love. They haven't worried too much, if at all, about "purity" and "impurity," about "clean" and "unclean," but have sought to become all things to all people so that they might by all means save some.
Then again, maybe it was a good thing that Rev. Harrison didn't attend this inter-Lutheran conference. One can imagine what he might have said to "the impure" in his midst. Surely saying nothing is better than saying that.