Kieschnick issues statement on inauguration

LCMS President Gerald B. Kieschnick on Jan. 16 issued the statement which follows, sharing his thoughts as inauguration day approaches.

Barack Obama will be inaugurated January 20, 2009, as the 44th president of the United States of America. As he said on election night, ‘Change has come to America.’

  • He is the first person of African descent to be inaugurated as president. We acknowledge this fact with deep love and respect for all African-American citizens of our country, including those who are members of congregations of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

  • His campaign for the presidency galvanized many of the young people of this country to political action. Many of them voted for the first time, exercising the wonderful privilege and freedom we have in our great tradition of democracy.

  • People of all ages and backgrounds crossed traditional party lines to cast their ballots for President Obama, hoping he will bring about the changes he promised for our country.
  • President Obama assumes office at a time of great and grave responsibility, including the national challenge of a deepening recession in our country and the global challenges of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, with conflict now occurring also between Israel and Gaza. It is certainly our hope and prayer that these and other challenges will be addressed successfully by all our elected leaders and that the result will be many blessings of life and peace for the citizens of these United States and for citizens of nations around the world. It is also our hope and prayer that our leaders will honor and protect the great blessing each of us has received from the hand of our gracious God-the gift of life itself.

    In this regard it is appropriate to add and to emphasize that as Lutheran Christians we hold, on the basis of God’s Word, that human life has great intrinsic value, since God is the creator of life. We have reason to be deeply concerned about possible changes in the laws of our Land that would lessen rather than strengthen legal protection for all human life, from conception to natural death. Of special concern in this regard is President Obama’s stated views on abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

    We will therefore continue as a national church body with 2.4 million members and as citizens of this nation to present our beliefs regarding the right to life for all people-which is guaranteed by the constitution of our country-to the new president and his staff, and also to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. We have both the responsibility and the privilege of proclaiming to the world in which we live the Word of God that speaks to these issues.

    As we discover what changes might be considered regarding the sanctity of life in our country, we will work to influence those changes. In doing so, we must always endeavor to speak the truth in love, relying on what Holy Scripture teaches (Rom. 13:1-7; Matt. 22:15-22) and praying that, beginning with our new president, the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government will make wise decisions on all matters, including matters of life.

    We pray for the safety and health of President Obama and his family. And we place our trust in our everlasting God, who will continue to reign as Lord over the nations (Is. 46:8-10), even when all human governments have vanished.

    Posted January 16, 2009

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