Supreme Court Ruling Emboldens Us to Continue to Carry On
Two years ago, I sat on a panel before Congress, testifying to the importance of religious liberty in America today.
It seems like a long time ago.
Since then, we have seen and heard a steady stream of news, from the church and the culture, about the Health and Human Services’ mandate and the Affordable Care Act, abortifacients and the conscience, religious freedoms and what this means for women.
Thankfully, the wait is over. The Supreme Court has ruled, and the verdict is in: In a landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of religious liberty, specifically in regard to closely held corporations (those with a small number of shareholders and offering no public stock, such as corporations that are family-owned, not operated by boards).
While we rejoice in this strong upholding of religious freedom, this decision does not signal an end to this discussion. It simply emboldens us carry on, doing what we do best as Christians: praying, confessing the faith and living it out in our daily callings.
We pray that Americans, whose consciences are burdened because they have been forced to violate their religious beliefs, would know God’s comfort and forgiveness.
We confess that life, which begins at conception, is a gift from God and ought to be held in the highest regard in this country.
We live, knowing that the First Amendment guarantees us not only the right to worship, but also to practice our faith as Lutheran citizens of this great nation, serving our neighbor where the Lord has placed us.
We do all of this, even as we rejoice with the Greens of Hobby Lobby, with the Hahns of Conestoga Wood Specialties and with our millions of brothers and sisters in the United States who believe just as strongly in the religious liberties guaranteed in our Constitution.
Today we are thankful for this step toward maintaining the integrity of our religious freedoms inherent in the First Amendment, but we will also remain ever mindful. The issue is and will continue to be purely and simply about religious freedom.
And so we pray. We confess. We live.
“We fought for a free conscience in this country,” I told the committee two years ago, “and we won’t give it up without a fight.”
I meant that, and I pray you do too.
The Rev. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod