Religious Liberty on the Docket – Pray for Protection of Conscience

I penned this letter to my congregation this morning, regarding today’s arguments before the Supreme Court in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. May it be helpful to you, too.

Today Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby is argued before the Supreme Court.

You’re going to hear a lot about this case on the news, on social media, in the newspaper, on the radio; basically everywhere. It’s a very big deal. Some will falsely portray it as all about religion trying to impose a ban on contraception in the public square. Some will paint a politicized picture of a boss with one set of beliefs forcing certain health-care choices on his employees. Neither is correct.

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod – which signed an amicus brief in this case – holds to the Scriptures’ teaching that life is a gift of God, that God alone is the one who has the ultimate say over life and death (Deuteronomy 32:39), and that the willful, unauthorized-by-God taking of life is sinful (Exodus 20:13). The Green family (who privately own and run Hobby Lobby), being themselves Christians, hold to the same scriptural teaching.

They (and we) are opposed to the HHS Contraception Mandate of the Affordable Care Act because four of the twenty mandated contraceptive drugs act to prevent implantation of an embryo in the womb of the mother, thus causing an abortion. The Greens cannot justify paying for these drugs through their company’s health plans because they run Hobby Lobby as a Christian business. The LCMS has a vested interested in this case – as do I, your pastor, and as do you all – because the conscience of any particular Christian (or any religious person) should not be burdened with having to pay for drugs that end human life.

These abortifacient drugs will regrettably continue to be available for no cost to a large swath of the country under this HHS Mandate. We as Christians mourn this fact, and on other fronts should continue to work to stop the casual ending of human life that has become the norm in this country. However, this case isn’t about that. This case is solely about whether the government can impose a regulation on its citizens, even against their religiously-informed consciences.

Please be praying for all involved today, but especially that the Justices of the Supreme Court would ultimately decide to uphold the protections of conscience and religious liberty which are intrinsic to the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.

In the love of Christ,
Pastor Schuermann

President Matthew Harrison, of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, yesterday wrote an op-ed for the LCMS Reporter to encourage us all to not give up the spiritual warfare necessary in this matter. I encourage you all to read it for yourself:

Tired of Hobby Lobby?

For further information on various religious liberty matters that concern us, be sure to check out the Free To Be Faithful section of the LCMS website. There are plenty of excellent and helpful resources there.