A few days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the rights of states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison and 34 other U.S. religious leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to traditional marriage and religious freedom.
All signed “The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness,” an open letter to “those in positions of public service.”
Released April 23, the letter “promotes and defends” marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and acknowledges that “marriage is the foundation of the family where children are raised by a mother and a father together.”
Redefining “legal marriage to include any other type of relationship has serious consequences, especially for religious freedom” and “changes every law involving marital status,” according to the letter, and “no person or community, including religious organizations and individuals of faith, should be forced to accept this redefinition.”
Instead, “government should protect the rights of those with differing views of marriage to express their beliefs and convictions without fear of intimidation, marginalization or unwarranted charges that their values imply hostility, animosity or hatred of others.
“In this and in all that we do, we are motivated by our duty to love God and neighbor,” the letter asserts. “The well-being of men, women and the children they conceive compels us to stand for marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We call for the preservation of the unique meaning of marriage in the law, and for renewed respect for religious freedom and for the conscience rights of all in accord with the common good.”
In addition to the LCMS, signers represent the National Association of Evangelicals, Anglican Church in North America, North American Lutheran Church, Islamic Society of Washington Area, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Free Methodist Church — USA, Presbyterian Church in America, Church of the Nazarene, Assemblies of God and a number of other groups.
Harrison also was among faith leaders who signed two previous letters on marriage and religious freedom — “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together” (2012) and “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment” (2010). Read them here.
To read the April 23 letter in its entirety, click here.
To learn more about religious liberty and the Synod’s “Free to be Faithful” initiative, visit https://lcms.org/freetobefaithful.
Posted April 23, 2015