I’m Pastor Douthwaite and
I Approved This Message . . .
I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase a LOT recently, since we are in the heart of election season. In the Lutheran Church we do not support or encourage you to vote for particular candidates, for everyone – Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, or of any other political party – should be welcome in our churches. The message that is heard in our churches is not a political one but the very voice of the Gospel, the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ who has come to die for the sin of the world, for the forgiveness of all people. That is the message, as the Apostle Paul told his young protege Timothy, that will make him a workman approved not by people, but by the Lord of the Church whose servant he is (2 Timothy 2:15). So that is our message, and there is no message better or more needed in our world, yesterday, today, and forever!
But you are encouraged to vote, for to do so is fulfilling your vocation as a citizen in this country. Voting is showing love for your neighbor. So whatever political party you align with – or no party at all – consider the issues seriously and vote!
There is an issue, however, with which you need to be concerned, and that is the free exercise of religion. Events of the past year would require all who provide health coverage for employees to include abortive medicines as part of their health plans. Compliance with this mandate would be violating the individual consciences of many Christian business owners as well as the teaching of our church and the health care that is provided for our church workers. Our synod has no official position on what is known as “Obamacare,” but we have long stood for the sanctity of human life and that abortion (except when the life of the mother is endangered) is sin.
At issue here is what the “free exercise of religion” means. Is this restricted to religious institutions and within those religious institutions to only the service of its own members? Or is it more than that? Is a Christian business owner free to exercise his or her religion without government mandate? What about church run schools, hospitals, and outreach to the needy? This is a large and complex issue, and one that is not going away.
To help you sort through the issues and learn ways you can help, our Synod has a new area on their web page entitled “Free to Be Faithful.” You will find here articles and resources to educate and equip Christians about these issues and what you can do to help. There are already resources posted here, with many more to come. So go check it out and go back regularly to see what has been added. Either go through the LCMS homepage, or follow this link:
Most importantly – pray. Pray for our leaders. Pray for our Lord’s wisdom and guidance for them. Pray for those babies in the womb waiting to be born. Pray that our country (and world!) become again a culture of life not a culture of death. Pray that the Lord would use you to help those in need. Pray. Remember the words of St. Paul:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
~1 Timothy 2:1-4
His servant and yours,