LCMS President comments on birth control mandate

Uploaded by TheLCMS on 15.02.2012

[pause] Harrison>>Hi. I'm Pastor Matthew Harrison,
president of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, a denomination of some 6,200 congregations
across the United States. We also have many institutions, which care for the needy and
also 10 universities.
In response to President Obama's announcement Friday concerning an 'accommodation' to a
previous mandate that health plans must cover all forms of birth control (even those that
can kill the unborn), The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod remains deeply concerned. We strongly
object to the use of drugs and procedures that are used to take the lives of unborn
children, who are persons in the sight of God from the time of conception. Drugs such
as "Plan B " and "Ella," which are still included in the mandate, can work post-conception to
cause the death of the developing child, so don't be fooled by statements to the contrary.
We see President Obama's action Friday as significant, in that it appears to have been
prompted by the many voices united in concern over an infringement of our religious liberties.
But the 'accommodation' did not expand the exemption for religious employers, nor did
it restrict the mandate in any way. It simply described a temporary enforcement delay and
a possible future change-a change that, unfortunately, would not adequately protect religious freedom
or unborn lives.
We remain opposed to this mandate because it runs counter to the biblical truth of the
sanctity of human life. We are committed to working to ensure that we remain free to practice
the teachings of our faith, that our religious rights are not violated and that our rights
of conscience are retained. Freedom of religion extends beyond the practice of our faith in
houses of worship. We must be free to put our faith into action in the public square,
and, in response to Christ's call, demonstrate His mercy through our love and compassion
for all people according to the clear mandate of Holy Scripture.
The government has overstepped its bounds. This controversy is not merely about birth
control and the Catholic Church's views about it. It's about mandating that we provide medications
which kill life in the womb. And moreover, and perhaps even more ominous, it is about
an overzealous government forcing coercive provisions that violate the consciences and
rights of its citizens. We can no longer expect a favored position for Christianity in this
country. But we can, as citizens of this great nation, fight for constitutional sanity against
secularizing forces. As we have vividly experienced in discriminatory state legislation with respect
to homosexual adoption, we and our institutions (and those of other religious citizens of
good will) are being robbed of the right to the free exercise of religion absent government
intrusion or threat. The next assault will come upon church-related retirement facilities.
How much longer will it be legal in this country to believe and act according to the dictates
of biblical and creedal Christianity?
We in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod pray for our president and his administration
every day. In fact, I personally pray for the president every single day. We have had
members of our church body serve in very significant positions, including attorney general, also
chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and many other significant positions. We have
and have had senators and House of Representatives members. We've contributed to the well being
of this country in countless ways. In fact, the most highly decorated living veteran is
a member of the LCMS.
Jesus bids us, "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark
12:17). We will pray for and support our government where we can, but our consciences and our
lives belong to God.
Thank you.