We Cannot Remain Quiet Any Longer

pp-video-its-a-babyComparisons to Nazi Germany are always dangerous to make. It’s too easy to be dismissed as overstating your case. Nazi Germany symbolizes utter evil. What Nazi Germany stood for and did is in fact that: they dehumanized, medically experimented on, and murdered a vast swath of humanity in a short period of time. Utter evil.

The scourge of abortion is our modern-day holocaust. We are living through it. Some 55 million-plus children have been murdered in abortion procedures since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Planned Parenthood, the nation-wide abortion mill here in the U.S., contributes almost 400,000 of these murders every year. Almost 94% of pregnant women who come into Planned Parenthood and receive services end up having an abortion there.

These statistics are horrifying. Yet statistics are abstract. We can be horrified and still look away. In the last several weeks a series of undercover videos have revealed that Planned Parenthood harvests the organs of later-term children they murder, profiting from the sale of these organs. Every one of these videos has shown this in graphic detail. I have watched the videos.

We Christians can no longer look away or say we didn’t know what was happening. We have to know what is happening; we must see it, or at least know the descriptions of what is going on in these abortion mills, our sacrificial temples to the god of sexual license. We should never have looked away in the first place.

In the most recent video, a baby boy who has survived the abortion is still alive outside of the womb; placed into a plate. His heart is still beating. A medical technician then cuts through the chin, face, and forehead of this child – still alive! – in order to harvest his brain for medical research.

This is the truth of our culture of death. We have dehumanized our children to the point that we will consider them a commodity, useful only so far as to make our lives better. What horror. Words cannot describe the monstrousness of all this.

Beloved, we live in Nazi Germany.

If we remain quiet, we are accessories to murder. Lord, help us! Lord, have mercy! O Lord, open my lips!

This Saturday there is a coordinated nationwide protest against Planned Parenthood from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m (local time). I hope that if you are able you will go. It’s not our obligation to go and protest this Saturday, but we must speak out. It will take courage. It will take a willingness to listen to those who would speak against us. It will take a resolve to stick it out – no matter what – for the sake of the 55 million children who have been murdered, and for all those who await a similar fate. It will require us to be ready with the Gospel for those who repent.

There will be many more opportunities for all to get involved in helping out crisis pregnancy centers and other pro-life organizations around the country. Every day you may have opportunities in your lives to question the American assumption of the right to an abortion; the supposed right to murder a child.

We should not act because we might win. We must act and speak because it is right and true. Our Lord loves life, He loves you, and He has died for all sin. Let’s repent of our quietness and quickly begin to be Gospel voices for life.

Lord have mercy on us. Amen.

A Need to Speak for Life in Illinois

In 1977, the State of Illinois saw a bill passed through the legislature and signed into law that implemented a ban on the taxpayer funding of abortion. This included not allowing coverage of abortion services in state employee health plans, as well as not allowing the coverage of abortion services in Medicaid. That year – 1977 – over 12,700 abortions were paid for by tax dollars under Medicaid. The ban was challenged in the courts, but was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980.
The ban has since remained in effect, but a bill was recently introduced into the Illinois House that seeks to remove this ban on taxpayer funding of abortion through Medicaid and state employee health plans. In other words, the removal of the ban would allow blanket funding of abortion services with taxpayer dollars, with basically no restrictions whatsoever. The bill also would allow the Department of Human Services to provide taxpayer-funder grants to organizations that provide referrals for, counsel for, or even provide abortions (e.g. grants would be allowed from the state to Planned Parenthood).
Simply put, this is a terrible bill that is not only harmful to our littlest neighbors and women in need to true help, but is also dangerous to the consciences of so many citizens of the State of Illinois.
The bill has made it through committee and now is on the calendar to be debated and voted one by the full Illinois House, likely sometime in mid to late April.
I’m asking you to take a few minutes and write a letter or make a phone call to your State Representative and tell him to vote “NO” on IL HB 4013. Again, please take a few minutes and write a letter or make a phone call. To confirm your Representative, you can search here.
If you’re unsure what to say, politely ask them to vote “NO” because the bill would 1) be harmful to unborn children who have no say in the matter of whether they should be killed by abortion or not; 2) would be harmful to mothers and fathers who are scared and in need of help, but are misled into thinking that killing their child is the best way out; and 3) would be harmful to the consciences of Illinois taxpayers, who should not be forced to subsidize the intention killing of unborn children in any way.
Please also be unceasingly praying that our leaders at the state and national level would seek to protect the unborn, mothers and fathers who are scared, and the consciences of all citizens.

Remember: Add 9 Months

I’ve heard the comments so many times. “Praise the Lord! As of 5:37 p.m. last night, I’m a grandmother!” “Today we’re celebrating Tom’s first birthday since he became a grandpa.” “It’s so wonderful that we finally have a daughter.”

These are all wonderful, life-affirming comments. Except that almost every time I hear something like this, the statement is factually untrue. Almost all of the people that I hear say this love life, and would never think that an unborn child isn’t a real living person. But in almost every case they speak about the unborn child as if he’s not.

Are the statements above sinful? Hardly. Yet they speak of life in a way that is fuzzy and vague compared to the way our Lord speaks of life, and puzzlingly off from what we Christians believe about life. And, frankly, not even in line as to what the facts of biology confess about life.

“…fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…” (O’Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29.)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jeremiah 1:5, ESV)

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13, ESV)

Remember: When you’re going to speak about children’s lives, add 9 months. We’ve been taught by our culture to only talk about post-birth children as persons. But they have been a person – fully human – for (usually) 9 months prior. Let’s celebrate Tom’s first birthday since he became a grandpa; let’s rejoice that you finally have a daughter. But let’s do so at the proper time. And if we miss it? Then let’s celebrate Tom’s second birthday since becoming a grandpa, and all the other birthdays, too. Let’s continue to celebrate and rejoice in God’s gift of life.

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.