It’s the July 4th weekend and, delightfully, this year the 4th falls on a Sunday. That should give us all pause. Why? Because the American celebration of our temporal freedoms, such as the freedoms of liberty, the 1st Amendment, the 2nd Amendment, and all of our constitutional protections, falls on the same day that we Christians celebrate the eternal liberty that God in Christ earned on behalf of the whole world. We have a saying here at the LCRL that we, as Two-Kingdom (2KG) Christians, are “to put our temporal liberties to work for the sake of the eternal liberties of Christ.”
The looming pro-life issue is whether or not Democrats will push through the elimination of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayer money from funding abortions.
A review of the distinctive powers and purposes of church and state is essential as the pandemic of wokeness accelerates.
A recent lawsuit filed against the Biden Administration by a small Christian college in Missouri reveals the drastic measures faith-based institutions must now employ in order to protect their constitutional rights, not to mention their religious identities and characters. The outcome of the litigation could have significant ramifications for LCMS-affiliated institutions.
You are here not by your own choice, but through the miracle of procreation, a man and a woman coming together with another person resulting. Now, that's you. It's not a matter of reproduction, as if we were made in some factory, but instead a matter of creation.
The miracle that is you began at the very moment of conception. And then, in a mysterious way, you began to grow, a little heart beating, fingers and toes and all the rest. But it was you all along, protected, nourished at thoroughly at home in the womb of your mother. There is nothing like the mother/child bond. As I understand it, a little bit of a child's DNA remains always in her mother. Thus there is a bond that can never be broken, an entanglement. This is true even with those children who are never born, whether through miscarriage or abortion. A mother carries with her that child forever.
IS THE UNITED STATES RELIGOUS?
Some say America is very religious. Others say America is very secular. Which is it?
Well, the USA is a very populous country, the third largest in the world (after China and India). That means that simple binary conclusions about the American conclusion are likely to be misleading.
When it comes to religion, the best way to describe the nation overall is that we are remarkably balanced. About one-third of Americans are religious; one-third are secularist; and one-third are somewhere in between.
Not only that, the trends are intensifying. Americans are becoming more religious than they used to be. And other Americans are becoming more secular than they used to be. From that, I suppose we might conclude that the other Americans are becoming more lukewarm than they used to be.
See where your congressmen and senators rate with regard to the pro-life movement by checking out the Susan B. Anthony List Scorecard here.
The Atlantic recently published an article positing that the nuclear family is a mistake. Help make the case for why the family matters by learning more about the topic.
“Every family is different. We all have baggage and dysfunction. The lines fall in different places. But it is possible to speak civility and to actually talk about things that matter because they matter. I am not here to cast stones. I know there is risk in speaking the truth to anyone who is caught up in his sin. But sometimes Dad needs to be told to turn off the football game and pay attention to his children, or Mom needs to be told that no one needs a third glass of wine, or your friend needs to be told that he is not being fair to his parents. If you love people, the risk is worth it. If we were talking about how to please customers because we want their money, how to win friends and influence people this would be a different conversation, but we are talking about how to live together in love according to God’s Word. We are talking about actually looking out for one another and we aren’t trying to manipulate each other. Who hasn’t been afraid of the outburst a drunk friend will make if you suggest that he not drive or that he will look judgmental? But at the same time, who wants to go to that friend’s funeral and face his widow having made no attempt at all to stop him? None of us. We don’t do this because we think we are better than others. We do it because we love others.” – Rev. David Petersen, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Imagine a nursery in a large hospital. A dozen women have children, and these children are placed in a room together. The next day, you are scheduled to go home along with your child. Would it matter which child you brought home with you? If love makes a family, then biology should not matter.
And what about the child? Should it matter to her? Are there some bonds that are primary? Are there some relationships that take precedence over others? To whom do we owe our first allegiance? To God, of course. After that? Is it mom and dad or the state? To whom do our children belong?
When Obergefell was decided, everyone applauded. It was a wonderful time for all of us to declare our independence from all those who have gone before us. Now those who speak against gay marriage called bigots. But do we recognize what we lost? Including the idea that marriage has any inherent meaning. Including the loss of parental rights.
Throughout history, marriage has been orientated towards children. Sure, other things are involved, such as friendship, companionship, desire, and the like. But government offers no legal recognition of friendship. Why is that? Because only one relationship, that of one man and one woman, can produce a child. And that child has a reasonable right to be raised by her mother and her father too, even as a mom and dad very well expect to leave the hospital with their own biological child and not another.
Adoption is wondrous; it is a great way of bringing joy out of a difficult or sad situation. But it is not the ideal. The ideal is that a mother raise her child alongside that child's father. A kid needs both a mom and a dad. Might a child do ok with only a mom? Perhaps. But statistically, it does not work out well. Children without dad at home are statistically vulnerable in just about every category of human thriving: poverty, incarceration, mental stability, and all the rest. (This is no knock at all against a single mom; it is simply a recognition that a child longs for mom and dad and rightly so.)
But as marriage is no longer a thing, children have no such expectations. But, moms and dads, don't think that your position is safe. It works both ways. As natural law is denied, replaced by societal opinion, a child's right to a mom and dad is gone, and so also is your right, as a mom and dad, to think of your children as yours. What the government gives, the government can take away.
The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer is chairman and professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the M.A. program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.
As Christians, we know every baby, from the moment of conception, is valued and loved. But why are some people still touting population alarmism? Learn more from Glenn Stanton in a recent Issues, Etc. podcast.
A record number of pro-life women are now serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Check out the list!
“As Christ was dying on the cross, His followers were terrified, distraught, hopeless, helpless. They thought that God had abandoned Jesus, and them. But it was not so. The Father had abandoned Jesus to death for them. The greatest act in the history of the universe appeared to be the most pathetic, powerless and useless failure.” - Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, president, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
ABORTION AND THE WILL TO POWER
Critical theorists see power and oppression everywhere. Why don’t they see it in abortion?
My friend and former colleague Mark Mitchell has written a devastating piece for First Things entitled Perverse Freedom. Read it all, but here is an excerpt (my bolds):
The primary value behind the label “pro-choice” is the ability to will. My desires must be gratified, even at the expense of another. Friedrich Nietzsche, that prophet par excellence of our age, insisted that all of life is reducible to the will to power. This assertion that individual will is primary means considerations of justice or goodness or rightness must either fall away or be subsumed under “choice.” The absolute rightness of choice is thus elevated as the single and unimpeachable principle; if the essence of a human being is nothing other than the capacity to choose, this elevation is entirely reasonable. What is forgotten in the euphoria of choice is a helpless human being. Abortion advocates must either deny the humanity of the unborn (a position that is increasingly difficult to maintain) or bite the Nietzschean bullet and acknowledge that abortion is at its core the exercise of power—the strong eliminating those who impede their freedom.
“79 percent of Planned Parenthood's surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of black or Hispanic communities.” Its founder, Margaret Sanger, would be proud. Learn more about her horrifying beliefs here.
A recent study indicates a 50 percent increase on religious liberty intrusions around the world in the past year. Discover the four most disturbing trends with regard to religious liberty in 2020.
“As the Church, we are created to stand against evil. We are created to speak truth … and forgiveness. The truth is that abortion ends the life of a human being, and we should be unwavering in our opposition to it. But that is not the end of the story. We have been given the gift of Christ, and the power of Christ can wash our sins away.” –Rev. Troy Tysdal, Church of the Lutheran Brethren, www.lutheransforlife.org
DON'T GET READY. BE READY.
As I write this, we are bringing 2020 to a close, but there is no end in sight for the continuing tension between fellow Americans on the issue of religious liberty. I am often asked if I am ready for the upcoming battles and challenges ahead and whether or not there were any victories in 2020.
A big victory was that the Department of Defense issued a revised instruction entitled, “Religious Liberty in the Military Services.” This updated policy is grounded in the Constitution and recognizes one of our first liberties is the free exercise of our religious faith and includes the men and women who selfless serve our nation in the military. It emphasizes that service members have the right to observe the tenets of their religion and may not be used as the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment. That’s a great victory for religious liberty.
However, we still need to be ready and prepared for upcoming battles in 2021 where there are those who will continue to assault our God-given and Constitution-protected liberty to live out our faith. Being prepared and being ready are always on the minds of our men and women serving so faithfully in the military. There is not a day that goes by that they are not training. They must be ready at a moment’s notice to answer the call. They don’t have time to “get ready.” They need to “be ready.” And to “be ready,” they train, train, and train some more.
Pray that our LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces is always ready to defend religious liberty for all who wear the uniform of our nation. We don’t know the future, but we do know that we live in a sin-sick world and that there will be those who try to infringe on our religious liberty. In America we may not yet be hauled out of our places of worship, our homes, or our businesses by evil people who threaten our physical life, yet we do live in a “cancel” culture where people are losing their jobs, businesses, or positions simply for giving a defense of their faith and speaking out against issues that go contrary to their conscience and the Word of God. They want you to leave your faith at the door of the church and/or your home and not bring it out into the public square.
Please pray for wisdom and courage as we stand alongside our LCMS members serving in the military that we may encourage them and defend them against assaults on their religious liberty. Please pray that we remain vigilant in our defense of religious liberty for those who sacrifice so much for all the freedoms and liberties we enjoy today.
Finally, remind those whom you know who are currently serving in the military that they are in our prayers and they don’t have to leave their religious faith at home when they join the military. We are here to help them.
The Rev. Craig G. Muehler is CAPT, CHC, USN, (Ret.) and director of LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces.
Did you know that the New England Journal of Medicine is calling for the removal of sex from birth certificates? Learn more from Wesley Smith in a recent Issues, Etc. interview.
The Hyde Amendment has saved some two million lives since 1976. Now some want to repeal it.
“[T]the family is universal. Individuals meeting from different cultures do not have to explain to each other what a family is. The family lies at the quantum level of human society. Family life is deeply rooted in an area of mystery we do not fully understand. Like a tree, it is living, rooted, and nourished by the soil of the past and reaching up into the future. It is not manufactured. Although socially reinforced, it is not ‘socially constructed.’ It is a precious Gift.” –James M. Kushiner, The Fellowship of St. James, www.lutheransforlife.org
WHAT'S AHEAD IN THE NEW CONGRESS.
Perhaps the most consequential same-day, same-state-U.S. Senate elections of modern times will take place on January 5, 2021, in the state of Georgia.
On that date, voters in a single state will determine whether the new 117th U.S. Senate will have a majority of Democrats or Republicans. The race includes Sen. Kelly Loeffler versus Raphael Warnock and Sen. David Perdue versus Jon Ossoff.
Because the U.S. Constitution says whomever is Vice President of the United States is also President of the U.S. Senate, and therefore can vote if he or she chooses to, especially on highly-controversial matters, it is possible that the Democrats could improve their voting total to 50 votes if they win both Georgia races, giving them a clear-majority when Kamala Harris, a current U.S. Senator from California, becomes Vice President.
If the Republicans win only one of those two contested Georgia senate seats, they would have a majority of 51 seats; had Vice President Mike Pence retained his office, the GOP would have 52 votes.
The House of Representatives is controlled by the Democrats, but by the lowest margin since the early 2000s.
Here’s what all this means and why it is important.
The best-case scenario for the Democrats would be to win both Georgia senate seats and have Kamala Harris become Vice President.
If a Senate dominated by Democrats decides to do away with the so-called filibuster – that is a fancy word for needing 60 votes to pass any important legislation – their likely wish-list of major new initiatives would make the new U.S. Senate the most consequential since President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs were passed overwhelmingly in that upper legislative body in near-record time during the 1960s.
If the Democrats become the majority in the senate, and former Vice President Biden becomes the new President of the United States, here are the ten most important legislative proposals to watch for:
+ statehood proposals for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. This would give the Democratic Party a probable added four new seats in the U.S. Senate because both Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are overwhelmingly Democratic;
+ some version of graduated amnesty for millions of people who are living in the United States illegally. This number could be as high as 15 million and as low as 11 million;
+ the end of the filibuster. This voting-protocol has been a fundamental tool to give strong representation and input to the minority party; without it, and especially on all controversial matters, the majority opinion would always prevail. This is decidedly not what our Founders wanted or envisioned;
+ the end of the Electoral College. The ramifications of ending the Electoral College are immense and would constitute one of the most radical changes in American history. The Founders designed it as a stop-gap to allowing the largest states by population to have an outsize influence on the governing of the country. They were wise in its design. Abolishing the electoral college would be a mistake of enormous proportions;
+ creating a larger public option for health care in America. What this would amount to would be the eventual abolition of private insurance and the building a single-payer health care system much like Western Europe’s socialized medical systems. Most progressives see this as the logical next-step after ObamaCare;
+ the provision of monetary reparations for slavery. Many members of the present House and Senate favor this idea and are keen to begin its design and implementation;
+ major tax increases. Vice President Biden and Senator Harris, in their primary bids for the Democratic presidential nomination, and during their summer political convention, promised substantial increases in several sectors of American life totaling into the trillions of dollars;
+ codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law and abolishing the Hyde Amendment. Democrats have long been uncomfortable with the possible chipping-away at the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision imposing abortion in all 50 states up to and including the ninth month of pregnancy. Both Biden and Harris favor transforming the abortion decision into standing federal law. Similarly, the Hyde Amendment has banned federal funding of abortion successfully Congress after Congress. The Democrats strongly favor taxpayer-funded abortion, and the toppling and ultimate repealing of Hyde is a major goal;
+ expanding the Supreme Court by up to three seats. The U.S. Constitution does not mandate the number of justices, but the present nine-member model has been the standard for over a century. Packing the court to add more liberal justices is an idea that Vice President Biden would strongly consider, and has promised to convene a new national advisory counsel likely to recommend new seats on America’s highest court;
+ voiding religious exemptions from various federal laws. Currently, the cornerstone protection of religious liberty and conscience protections at the federal level – congruent with the Constitution itself – are provisions in federal law that rightly give churches and religious institutions broad leeway. Biden and Harris are uncomfortable with that latitude and, for instance, strongly favor punishing the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups by removing foundational protections. We would see much more of that anti-Little Sisters model in a new senate; and finally,
+ elements of the Green New Deal would be proposed and enacted; as with most major environmental legislation, the ramifications for families and communities would be directive and burdensome. Also, population control and mandates on suburban, exurban, and rural America would be an essential element of long-term environmentalism. The vague nature of the Green New Deal is seen by its strongest proponents as a plus so that potential opponents or critics are kept in the dark until the last moment.
A sage once observed that “elections have consequences.” Perhaps none as consequential as the pending 117 United States Congress depending on how those elections in Georgia transpire.
Timothy S. Goeglein is vice president of External and Government Relations for Focus on the Family, Washington, D.C.
Identity politics are popping up everywhere, even at places like the Smithsonian Museum. Learn more from Joy Pullman in a recent Issues, Etc. interview.
Did you know that Planned Parenthood aborted some 1,500 babies each day in 2018? The numbers from their annual reports will horrify you. Click here to read more.
“As this New Year begins and you make resolutions of things to do for yourself, consider ways in which you could spend one hour a week helping someone in need—at a crisis pregnancy center, a hospice house, a nursing home, etc.” –Rev. Scott Licht, National Director of Lutherans For Life, www.lutheransforlife.org