By Sara Bielby
MILWAUKEE (July 14, 2016) — On its final day, the 66th Regular Convention of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod resolved to engage the culture on several key issues — among six resolutions from Committee 14 adopted at that session.
In light of recent rulings on same-sex marriage, delegates resolved that facilities and pastors would not be made available to sanction such unions, and that the LCMS will seek to preserve pastors’ rights to decline their involvement in those unions, based on religious liberty.
Some discussion explored whether clergy should continue to perform marriages for the state, particularly regarding Resolution 14-04, which affirms the right of the church to a voice in the public square.
“Walking away from the signing of marriage certificates and participating in the state-sponsored component of marriage is tantamount to walking away from a civic battle that really goes to the heart of what we believe and who we are,” commented Paul Lagemann, a member of Floor Committee 14 from Fort Wayne, Ind.
Two resolutions uphold and commend those who confess the faith through their vocations — both LCMS members in positions of civil authority in government and business (Resolution 14-07A) and faithful public servants who respond to acts of violence (Resolution 14-11).
Resolution 14-08A opposes physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, advocating end-of-life care and a faithful response to legal decisions as they occur.
The convention recognized Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) for its role in securing legal protection for congregations and individuals who remain faithful in the face of attacks on religious freedom.
Aaron Silletto, an attorney and voting delegate from Louisville, Ky., described the “boot camp” of training he received from ADF.
“They equip Christian attorneys to be able to make a strong witness in the public square,” Silletto said. “These attorneys agree as a part of their training that they will donate hundreds of hours [each] … toward defending sanctity of life, defending marriage and standing up for religious liberty.”
His comments were met with a round of applause from the assembly.
“These attorneys … help stand for all of us, … for what it is that we believe and teach and confess in the public square,” he said.
Sara Bielby is a deaconess at University Lutheran Chapel, Ann Arbor, Mich., and at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Monroe, Mich.
Posted Aug. 8, 2016