of SCOTUS, Hobby Lobby, and bridegrooms

The religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. – James Madison, 1785

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“The Church shouldn’t get involved in politics.”

That’s the line we hear. There’s enough to do right here at home, enough issues to deal with in our own congregations, among our own pastors, with our own youth, in our own Synod.

And there is.

And often, that sentiment is right.

But there is also much to do when, on the flip side, the government decides it wants to get involved in the Church.
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On Monday, I made the rounds: from the White House to the Washington Monument to the World War II memorial. The sun was bright; the crowds of tourists busy.DSC_0354

But on Tuesday morning, when the snow came down masquerading as rain and people gathered in front of the United States Supreme Court building, the mood was different.

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There were two groups gathered. Similar in size, they both held signs and umbrellas. They both invited speakers to their podiums. They both cheered.


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But one was very different.

One stood for life.

For liberty.

For freedom to worship and live as our Lord bids us to do and not as Uncle Sam does.

That is our side. We are, after all, the church of the Reformation, the one that tries with all her might to repair what is broken, but the one that ultimately heeds the voice of her Bridegroom, turning away from something when she knows it is irreparable, even if it grieves her.

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We will be tempted in this life to stay out of issues like this, to say that Hobby Lobby and religious liberty and standing in the snow to support life don’t apply to us, that we have bigger fish to fry or that these subjects are best left to lobbyists and congressmen.

But that will just be an excuse.

DSC_0408Because as Christians, we believe that the Church is the bride and that Christ is her groom; that she submits to Him and lives in and by Him; that He protects her and cares for her, loves and respects her.

And that means that no other person, no other groom, gets to tell her how to submit, how to live, what she is given to do and who she ought to do it for.

She hears only her husband, and not another man, not even a government. DSC_0401

I know my husband Chris’s voice. I also know what he believes and what he stands for, the faith he confesses and his love for truth. I would know in an instant and without looking if someone other than Chris stepped into my kitchen at night and proclaimed, “Honey, I’m home!”

And I wouldn’t stick around to see what it was this impostor wanted either. I would make a beeline for Chris, to the man who protects and cares for me, who keeps me safe and helps navigate me through our marriage and this world.

So also the Church. She hears and responds only to Christ, only to her Bridegroom.

No one else.

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That is why She involves herself in matters of life and marriage and religious liberty, why she prays for the Green family and the Hahn family, why she speaks up and speaks out when another tries to tell her to submit to ideas and thoughts and ways that her husband has not. 

It’s why I was proud to represent the LCMS in Washington, D.C., on March 25 when the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments on behalf of the government and on behalf of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialities.

It’s why I chuckled to hear Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women of America, exclaim, “Oh, you’re with the good Lutherans!”

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It’s why I thanked Matt Bowman, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, for his webinar on religious liberty for our LCMS members, that we may know more fully the areas in which the Church, the bride, must be alert and be informed.

It’s why I marveled to hear Paul Clement, the attorney who argued the case on behalf of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga, calmly and humbly ask that our work on this front not stop simply because the hearing was over.

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It’s why I was honored to shake the hands of Mr. and Mrs. Green, the co-owners of Hobby Lobby, and the Hahns, owners of Conestoga Wood Specialities.

It’s why I could tell them in completely sincerity that members of the LCMS are praying in earnest for them, thankful for their bold stand as members of the bride of the Christ who hear the voice of the Bridegroom and listen to no other.


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There are two groups, two who will stand between now and the Supreme Court’s ruling in June, two who will speak to us. One will remind us that we are free in this country to live according to our Bridegroom, that He alone gives us the right and the joy to do that.

One won’t.

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“The Church shouldn’t get involved in politics.”

That’s the line we hear. There’s enough to do right here at home, enough issues to deal with in our own congregations, among our own pastors, with our own youth, in our own Synod.

And there is.

And often that sentiment is right.

But there is also much to do when, on the flip side, the government decides it wants to get involved in the Church.

And the very first is to turn back to our Bridegroom, to His cross, to His love for us, and to His forgiveness, trusting that–even in the midst of those two voices–He will have Words of comfort and peace for His Bride, for His Church, for us.

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