‘Religious Freedom Day’ resources available

By Adriane Heins

It is one day particularly worth celebrating, but it also doesn’t garner decorations or turkeys, a day off work or a special stamp from the post office. It’s Jan. 16: Religious Freedom Day.

twitter-chat-freeIn 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote the “Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom,” which included the following commentary about the importance of religious liberty and the protection of it, specifically afforded by the First Amendment:

No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod prizes that freedom still today, and its “Free to be Faithful” education and awareness campaign was launched in 2012 in an effort to protect freedom of religion as well as assist Christians in responding articulately and faithfully to increasing intrusions by the government in the realm of the church.

In light of this year’s nod to Religious Freedom Day, the following resources are available for free download at lcms.org/freetobefaithful:

  • infographics on the two kingdoms, the changing face of marriage in America today and how youth can get involved in supporting the sanctity of life.
  • shareable, downloadable social-media banner images supporting religious liberty — a visual way to let one’s social media following know that Lutheran Christians aren’t afraid to engage the public square.
  • an article by LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, titled “Genius and Courage,” starts a conversation on what sets the LCMS apart from other denominations in how to understand church and state.
  • the winning entries from Free to be Faithful’s essay contest have been compiled into a three-part Bible study — including articles on marriage, life and religious liberty as well as accompanying questions — and can be used in Bible class, youth meetings and other discussion groups. The authors and titles of the winning essays are “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave? Defending Religious Liberty, Blessing Those Who Seek to Take It” by the Rev. Peter Speckhard; “Proclaim Life!” by the Rev. Philip H. Young; and “What Is Marriage?” by the Rev. Richard C. Eyer.

Also visit lcms.org/freetobefaithful for a variety of other resources available for congregational, home and school use.

Adriane Heins (adriane.heins@lcms.org) is managing editor of The Lutheran Witness.

Posted Jan. 2, 2015 / Updated Jan. 12, 2015

Reporter Online is the Web version of Reporter, the official newspaper of
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Content is prepared by LCMS Communications.

7 Responses to ‘Religious Freedom Day’ resources available

  1. Carl Vehse January 3, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    The “Christ and Caesar: Being a Christian Citizen Infographic” states that the Church doesn’t do this: “Tell members how to vote”

    However Synod officials telling Lutherans to tell their elected officials how to vote appears permissible. The January 20, 2014, Reporter article, “May, Harrison call for support of Indiana marriage bill” states:

    “CMS Indiana District President Rev. Daniel P. May and LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison are working together to strengthen — and safeguard — traditional marriage in Indiana.

    “Both Synod leaders have signed a letter that asks Lutherans in Indiana to encourage their state legislators to vote in favor of House Joint Resolution 6, or HJR6, which would amend the state constitution to prohibit future legislatures from passing laws that would allow same-sex couples to marry or that would provide legal protections for such marriages.”

  2. Robert Bjornstad January 7, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    Thomas Jefferson defends the rights of each and every citizen to hold to a faith of their choosing; and asks for the respect of all citizens for each others’ religious beliefs. The present administration of the LC-MS encourages it members to advocate for what they see as “Religious Freedom”, but focus only on what they choose to believe and practice. The respect and defense of all citizens’ religious freedom is lost in zeal for their own.
    We must defend the freedom of those who follow a different perspective and / or faith. President Harrison has lost sight of this basic element of religious freedom; and you can see this by the resources provided to celebrate Religious Freedom Day.

  3. Bernie Schaeffer January 9, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

    “You can’t pick and choose which types of freedom you want to defend. You must defend all of it or be against all of it.”
    ― Scott Howard Phillips

  4. January 10, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    Freedom of religion is not the same as promoting lifestyles that are against God’s laws for sex.

  5. Bernie Schaeffer January 12, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    Good point Darlene. Meanwhile, Jesus himself was pretty much silent on matters pertaining to sexual behavior. What do you suppose that means?

    • Ben Perkins January 16, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      Bernie, your assertion is false. Jesus validates the Commandments, admonishes the adulteress to ‘sin no more’, testifies that the forgiven sins of the prostitute are many, validates the Genesis given parameters for marriage, and of course sends Paul, the missionary/author who is anything but silent on sexual matters. I encourage you to read the Bible and search out these matters carefully. Be well.

  6. Stephen Nordhus January 19, 2015 at 9:00 am #

    I have recently become aware that some secular college campuses have had discrimination aimed at Christians.

    Now I read in this website that the “Free to be Faithful” education and awareness campaign was launched in 2012 in an effort to protect freedom of religion as well as assist Christians in responding articulately and faithfully to increasing intrusions by the government in the realm of the church.”

    What are these increasing intrusions?

    Thanks in advance.

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