“Please get the federal government out of our consciences”

Mr. Chairman, it’s a pleasure to be here. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is a body of some 6,200 congregations and 2.3 million members across the U.S. We don’t distribute voters’ lists. We don’t have a Washington office. We are studiously non-partisan, so much so that we’re often criticized for being quietistic.

“I’d rather not be here, frankly. Our task is to proclaim, in the words of the blessed apostle St. John, the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all our sin. And we care for the needy. We haven’t the slightest intent to Christianize the government. Martin Luther famously quipped one time, ‘I’d rather have a smart Turk than a stupid Christian governing me.’

“We confess that there are two realms, the church and the state. They shouldn’t be mixed – the church is governed by the Word of God, the state by natural law and reason, the Constitution. We have 1,000 grade schools and high schools, 1,300 early childhood centers, 10 colleges and universities. We are a machine which produces good citizens for this country, and at tremendous personal cost.

“We have the nation’s only historic black Lutheran college in Concordia, Selma. Many of our people [who are alive today] walked with Dr. King 50 years ago on the march from Selma to Montgomery. We put up the first million dollars and have continued to provide finance for the Nehemiah Project in New York as it has continued over the years, to provide home ownership for thousands of families, many of them headed by single women. Our agency in New Orleans, Camp Restore, rebuilt over 4,000 homes after Katrina, through the blood, sweat and tears of our volunteers. Our Lutheran Malaria Initiative, barely begun, has touched the lives of 1.6 million people in East Africa, especially those affected by disease, women and children. And this is just the tip, the very tip, of the charitable iceberg.

“I’m here to express our deepest distress over the HHS provisions. We are religiously opposed to supporting abortion-causing drugs. That is, in part, why we maintain our own health plan. While we are grandfathered under the very narrow provisions of the HHS policy, we are deeply concerned that our consciences may soon be martyred by a few strokes on the keyboard as this administration moves us all into a single-payer … system. Our direct experience in the Hosanna-Tabor case with one of our congregations gives us no comfort that this administration will be concerned to guard our free-exercise rights.

“We self-insure 50,000 people. We do it well. Our workers make an average of $43,000 a year, 17,000 teachers make much less, on average. Our health plan was preparing to take significant cost-saving measures, to be passed on to our workers, just as this health-care legislation was passed. We elected not to make those changes, incur great cost, lest we fall out of the narrow provisions required under the grandfather clause. While we are opposed in principle, not to all forms of birth control, but only abortion-causing drugs, we stand with our friends in the Catholic Church and all others, Christians and non-Christians, under the free exercise and conscience provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

“Religious people determine what violates their consciences, not the federal government. The conscience is a sacred thing. Our church exists because overzealous governments in northern Europe made decisions which trampled the religious convictions of our forebearers. I have ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War. I have ancestors who were on the Lewis and Clark expedition. I have ancestors who served in the War of 1812, who fought for the North in the Civil War – my 88-year-old father-in-law has recounted to me, in tears many times, the horrors of the Battle of the Bulge. In fact, Bud Day, the most highly decorated veteran alive, is a member of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

“We fought for a free conscience in this country, and we won’t give it up without a fight. To paraphrase Martin Luther, the heart and conscience has room only for God, not for God and the federal government. The bed is too narrow, the blanket is too short. We must obey God rather than men, and we will. Please get the federal government, Mr. Chairman, out of our consciences. Thank you.”

via Missouri Synod President tells House Committee: LCMS ‘religiously opposed to supporting abortion-causing drugs’ – The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Booklover

    Wow

  • Booklover

    Wow

  • MarkB

    “We fought for a free conscience in this country, and we won’t give it up without a fight. To paraphrase Martin Luther, the heart and conscience has room only for God, not for God and the federal government. The bed is too narrow, the blanket is too short. We must obey God rather than men, and we will. Please get the federal government, Mr. Chairman, out of our consciences. Thank you.”

    Very powerful words.

    Too bad this will not stir the conscience of those who want to do this. The real problem here is that the federal government has overstepped it bounds with the imposition of national healthcare. Nowhere in the constitution can you find a right to health care. This healthcare law is the springboard to more and more control and implementation of things those in control want.

  • MarkB

    “We fought for a free conscience in this country, and we won’t give it up without a fight. To paraphrase Martin Luther, the heart and conscience has room only for God, not for God and the federal government. The bed is too narrow, the blanket is too short. We must obey God rather than men, and we will. Please get the federal government, Mr. Chairman, out of our consciences. Thank you.”

    Very powerful words.

    Too bad this will not stir the conscience of those who want to do this. The real problem here is that the federal government has overstepped it bounds with the imposition of national healthcare. Nowhere in the constitution can you find a right to health care. This healthcare law is the springboard to more and more control and implementation of things those in control want.

  • norman teigen

    There is no question that the clerics are pious, sincere, and faithful men. These men gave eloquent testimony to their beliefs. These men speak for many Christians. I can’t help but feel, however, that these men were duped by savvy politicians only too willing to exploit the faithfulness of these men for political purposes. I feel that these men were like the farm hicks who, their pockets full of money from the harvest, come to town and spend their money on the attractions of the carnival. The men return to the farm filled with jubilation from the thrill of the bright lights but wake up in the morning to find that their pockets have been picked.

  • norman teigen

    There is no question that the clerics are pious, sincere, and faithful men. These men gave eloquent testimony to their beliefs. These men speak for many Christians. I can’t help but feel, however, that these men were duped by savvy politicians only too willing to exploit the faithfulness of these men for political purposes. I feel that these men were like the farm hicks who, their pockets full of money from the harvest, come to town and spend their money on the attractions of the carnival. The men return to the farm filled with jubilation from the thrill of the bright lights but wake up in the morning to find that their pockets have been picked.

  • #4 Kitty

    I thought his delivery was full of sound and fury.

  • #4 Kitty

    I thought his delivery was full of sound and fury.

  • Tom Hering

    Am I the only one who thinks he spent more time promoting the LCMS than he did making the case for his position?

  • Tom Hering

    Am I the only one who thinks he spent more time promoting the LCMS than he did making the case for his position?

  • Dennis Peskey

    We must obey God rather than men, and we will.
    Amen.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    We must obey God rather than men, and we will.
    Amen.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Jack

    What a wonderful example as to how we are to carry out our various vocations, as we are able.

    We need not be the president of a church body who is before a committee of a nation’s legislative body. We need not be a member of the clergy.

    We need not tailor who we are in order to please another.

    We carry out our various vocations in a God pleasing manner when how we do so flows from faith.

    Thank you, President Harrison.

  • Jack

    What a wonderful example as to how we are to carry out our various vocations, as we are able.

    We need not be the president of a church body who is before a committee of a nation’s legislative body. We need not be a member of the clergy.

    We need not tailor who we are in order to please another.

    We carry out our various vocations in a God pleasing manner when how we do so flows from faith.

    Thank you, President Harrison.

  • L. H. Kevil

    Tom, Yes, you probably are the only one to think that President Harrison spent too much time talking about the LCMS. He said he would rather not be there, but once there, he had to point out what religious freedom means to our society. In other words he was on a political platform and had to talk politically. The benefits of religious freedom he enumerated are substantial and very real. Not to have done that would have left his argument empty in the minds of the secularists. Had I been making the speech, the only thing I would have changed is to mention is that some of our forbears also fought – from the conscience – for the Confederate States of America. But then I would have given a far inferior speech.

    All in all it was a bang-up job.

  • L. H. Kevil

    Tom, Yes, you probably are the only one to think that President Harrison spent too much time talking about the LCMS. He said he would rather not be there, but once there, he had to point out what religious freedom means to our society. In other words he was on a political platform and had to talk politically. The benefits of religious freedom he enumerated are substantial and very real. Not to have done that would have left his argument empty in the minds of the secularists. Had I been making the speech, the only thing I would have changed is to mention is that some of our forbears also fought – from the conscience – for the Confederate States of America. But then I would have given a far inferior speech.

    All in all it was a bang-up job.

  • Tom Hering

    L. H. Kevil @ 8, President Harrison should have spoken of President Walther’s support of God-ordained slavery? Hmm. That hadn’t occured to me as a shortcoming of his address. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    L. H. Kevil @ 8, President Harrison should have spoken of President Walther’s support of God-ordained slavery? Hmm. That hadn’t occured to me as a shortcoming of his address. :-D

  • Mary

    I agree with L.H. Kevil in #8. Pr Harrison was pointing out that Freedom of Religion does not end at the Sanctuary door, but rather is carried out in our schools, seminaries, charities, inner cities, even to East Africa. This mandate not only affects our “worship” but our practice of religion. It looks as if Obama feels the First Amendment is about how we worship inside our local congregations not how we carry out our beliefs.
    I especially appreciated at the end of the session how he brought up the point that Christian business owners will be affected by this ruling. Will I, as a small business owner be required by the government to cover my employees Morning After Pills and Ella? Will I get a special accommodation? Since when is it the Federal Government’s job to “accommodate” my First Amendment right?

  • Mary

    I agree with L.H. Kevil in #8. Pr Harrison was pointing out that Freedom of Religion does not end at the Sanctuary door, but rather is carried out in our schools, seminaries, charities, inner cities, even to East Africa. This mandate not only affects our “worship” but our practice of religion. It looks as if Obama feels the First Amendment is about how we worship inside our local congregations not how we carry out our beliefs.
    I especially appreciated at the end of the session how he brought up the point that Christian business owners will be affected by this ruling. Will I, as a small business owner be required by the government to cover my employees Morning After Pills and Ella? Will I get a special accommodation? Since when is it the Federal Government’s job to “accommodate” my First Amendment right?

  • SKPeterson

    Kitty @ 4 – Sound and fury don’t always signify nothing. True, he was speaking to a Congressional committee. Sadly, I think Norman may have hit closest to the mark on the actual outcome.

  • SKPeterson

    Kitty @ 4 – Sound and fury don’t always signify nothing. True, he was speaking to a Congressional committee. Sadly, I think Norman may have hit closest to the mark on the actual outcome.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Too bad this will not stir the conscience of those who want to do this.

    They would first have to have consciences.

    These are baby killers. No way are their (non-existent) consciences going to be stirred.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Too bad this will not stir the conscience of those who want to do this.

    They would first have to have consciences.

    These are baby killers. No way are their (non-existent) consciences going to be stirred.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Kudos to the Lutherans for drawing the line in the sand.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Kudos to the Lutherans for drawing the line in the sand.

  • Tom Hering

    “Religious people determine what violates their consciences, not the federal government. The conscience is a sacred thing.” – President Harrison.

    But isn’t conscience changeable? Isn’t it often altered by argument? How then can it be sacred? And is government always wrong when it forces religious folk to act against their conscience? What about the issues of slavery, polygamy, child brides, refusing children medical help, etc.?

    Luther didn’t stand on conscience alone, but gave grounds (sound Scriptural arguments) for the particular demands of his conscience. And he certainly didn’t make Harrison’s argument that Christians have done good, and are doing good – therefore they shouldn’t be forced to do this. Weak.

  • Tom Hering

    “Religious people determine what violates their consciences, not the federal government. The conscience is a sacred thing.” – President Harrison.

    But isn’t conscience changeable? Isn’t it often altered by argument? How then can it be sacred? And is government always wrong when it forces religious folk to act against their conscience? What about the issues of slavery, polygamy, child brides, refusing children medical help, etc.?

    Luther didn’t stand on conscience alone, but gave grounds (sound Scriptural arguments) for the particular demands of his conscience. And he certainly didn’t make Harrison’s argument that Christians have done good, and are doing good – therefore they shouldn’t be forced to do this. Weak.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom @ 14: Translation: government supercedes God. You haven’t given me any reason to believe otherwise :(

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Tom @ 14: Translation: government supercedes God. You haven’t given me any reason to believe otherwise :(

  • DonS

    Tom @ 14: Your conscience guides you in accordance with your values and judgment. If your values are biblically sound, then your conscience will be a reliable guide. In Acts 24:16, Paul said “And in this do I always exercise myself, to have a conscience clear of offense towards God and towards men.” The Bible, of course, speaks of a conscience being “seared” when one repeatedly acts against its promptings, until eventually it ceases to be a reliable moral guide. The conscience IS sacred, and it is crucial to protect its vitality by not ignoring it.

    You seem to have missed the entire point of Pr. Harrington’s message. He was definitively NOT saying that “…Christians have done good, and are doing good – therefore they shouldn’t be forced to do this”. He began his talk by giving background — Lutherans care about their neighbor and have a history of demonstrating that care through voluntary action The point, of course, was to provide evidence that the issue isn’t one of not wanting to help the disadvantaged. Christians do that voluntarily, and have done so for centuries, without the need for government coercion. Rather, the current opposition he is speaking to is being forced to do something directly opposed to Lutheran/Christian doctrine and sensibilities, i.e. killing fellow human beings using abortifacients.

    Read this paragraph again — it is key to his message:

    I’m here to express our deepest distress over the HHS provisions. We are religiously opposed to supporting abortion-causing drugs (emphasis added). That is, in part, why we maintain our own health plan. While we are grandfathered under the very narrow provisions of the HHS policy, we are deeply concerned that our consciences may soon be martyred by a few strokes on the keyboard as this administration moves us all into a single-payer … system. Our direct experience in the Hosanna-Tabor case with one of our congregations gives us no comfort that this administration will be concerned to guard our free-exercise rights.

    Also this: “Religious people determine what violates their consciences, not the federal government.” Government has no right to dictate to people of faith the means by which they exercise that faith. Such action is the antithesis of FREE exercise.

    His comments were specific, substantive, and on point. Yes, insofar as this administration is concerned, they very likely fell on deaf ears. But that doesn’t mean the message wasn’t worth delivering.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 14: Your conscience guides you in accordance with your values and judgment. If your values are biblically sound, then your conscience will be a reliable guide. In Acts 24:16, Paul said “And in this do I always exercise myself, to have a conscience clear of offense towards God and towards men.” The Bible, of course, speaks of a conscience being “seared” when one repeatedly acts against its promptings, until eventually it ceases to be a reliable moral guide. The conscience IS sacred, and it is crucial to protect its vitality by not ignoring it.

    You seem to have missed the entire point of Pr. Harrington’s message. He was definitively NOT saying that “…Christians have done good, and are doing good – therefore they shouldn’t be forced to do this”. He began his talk by giving background — Lutherans care about their neighbor and have a history of demonstrating that care through voluntary action The point, of course, was to provide evidence that the issue isn’t one of not wanting to help the disadvantaged. Christians do that voluntarily, and have done so for centuries, without the need for government coercion. Rather, the current opposition he is speaking to is being forced to do something directly opposed to Lutheran/Christian doctrine and sensibilities, i.e. killing fellow human beings using abortifacients.

    Read this paragraph again — it is key to his message:

    I’m here to express our deepest distress over the HHS provisions. We are religiously opposed to supporting abortion-causing drugs (emphasis added). That is, in part, why we maintain our own health plan. While we are grandfathered under the very narrow provisions of the HHS policy, we are deeply concerned that our consciences may soon be martyred by a few strokes on the keyboard as this administration moves us all into a single-payer … system. Our direct experience in the Hosanna-Tabor case with one of our congregations gives us no comfort that this administration will be concerned to guard our free-exercise rights.

    Also this: “Religious people determine what violates their consciences, not the federal government.” Government has no right to dictate to people of faith the means by which they exercise that faith. Such action is the antithesis of FREE exercise.

    His comments were specific, substantive, and on point. Yes, insofar as this administration is concerned, they very likely fell on deaf ears. But that doesn’t mean the message wasn’t worth delivering.

  • rlewer

    Tom,
    Are you going to tell us that no one can get birth control without the help of the federal government? No ones “rights” are being denied if they are not provided with “free” birth control. Where in the Bill of Rights does it include the “right” to “free” birth control? Is this one of the rights “endowed by our Creator” of which the Declaration speaks? This has nothing do do with slavery, etc.

  • rlewer

    Tom,
    Are you going to tell us that no one can get birth control without the help of the federal government? No ones “rights” are being denied if they are not provided with “free” birth control. Where in the Bill of Rights does it include the “right” to “free” birth control? Is this one of the rights “endowed by our Creator” of which the Declaration speaks? This has nothing do do with slavery, etc.

  • formerly just steve

    With all of his poignant words, his problem, I fear, is that he did not bring enough money to the coffers of the Church of the Hill D.C. The people to whom he was speaking care only for money and power. He brought neither.

  • formerly just steve

    With all of his poignant words, his problem, I fear, is that he did not bring enough money to the coffers of the Church of the Hill D.C. The people to whom he was speaking care only for money and power. He brought neither.

  • JunkerGeorg

    Rev. Harrison: “We confess that there are two realms, the church and the state. They shouldn’t be mixed – the church is governed by the Word of God, the state by natural law and reason, the Constitution.”
    —————–

    A wonderful speech by Rev. Harrison overall. While if I had been him, I wouldn’t necessarily have changed his words quoted above, nevertheless, the underlying and undeniable reality between the “real” and the “ideal” might lead one to speak under their breath Harrison’s words with a slightly changed wording:

    “We confess there are two realms, the church and the state. They shouldn’t be mixed – the church SHOULD BE governed by the Word of God, the state SHOULD BE governed by natural law and reason, the Constitution.”
    ——

    As things actually stand, or rather, as things actually are gradually decaying/falling, as natural law/reason/the Constitution is increasingly disregarded by the State in actual policy (and I include both major parties, albeit doing so sometimes in different ways), so is the Word of God (alone) increasingly disregarded by the church in actual practice. Mere lip service is paid to such governing principles in both realms at best—yes, we are fully in “post-modern times”, as Dr. Veith would say. Both realms seek to govern rather than serve, and govern by whatever relativistic notions they devise (all under the banner of “pragmatism”, of supposed progress—a “Modern Fascism” indeed!), as they no longer seek to be governed by higher principles, and so be servants of the people. It’s every man for himself and the strongest prevails. In short, we are in the end times. Maranatha! E’en so Lord Jesus, Quickly Come…

  • JunkerGeorg

    Rev. Harrison: “We confess that there are two realms, the church and the state. They shouldn’t be mixed – the church is governed by the Word of God, the state by natural law and reason, the Constitution.”
    —————–

    A wonderful speech by Rev. Harrison overall. While if I had been him, I wouldn’t necessarily have changed his words quoted above, nevertheless, the underlying and undeniable reality between the “real” and the “ideal” might lead one to speak under their breath Harrison’s words with a slightly changed wording:

    “We confess there are two realms, the church and the state. They shouldn’t be mixed – the church SHOULD BE governed by the Word of God, the state SHOULD BE governed by natural law and reason, the Constitution.”
    ——

    As things actually stand, or rather, as things actually are gradually decaying/falling, as natural law/reason/the Constitution is increasingly disregarded by the State in actual policy (and I include both major parties, albeit doing so sometimes in different ways), so is the Word of God (alone) increasingly disregarded by the church in actual practice. Mere lip service is paid to such governing principles in both realms at best—yes, we are fully in “post-modern times”, as Dr. Veith would say. Both realms seek to govern rather than serve, and govern by whatever relativistic notions they devise (all under the banner of “pragmatism”, of supposed progress—a “Modern Fascism” indeed!), as they no longer seek to be governed by higher principles, and so be servants of the people. It’s every man for himself and the strongest prevails. In short, we are in the end times. Maranatha! E’en so Lord Jesus, Quickly Come…

  • http://www.frankgantz.com Frank Gantz

    I am not a Lutheran, but greatly appreciate this testimony.

  • http://www.frankgantz.com Frank Gantz

    I am not a Lutheran, but greatly appreciate this testimony.

  • formerly just steve

    Same here, Frank. Same here.

  • formerly just steve

    Same here, Frank. Same here.

  • Random Lutheran

    It may be time for those whose forebears in faith left a land where orthodoxy was not allowed, to pick up stakes themselves, taking their abilities and gifts elsewhere. 2,000,000+ actual citizens up and moving would be a body blow to Caesar. The problem is that there are few (if any) places worth moving to; freedom grows small in much of the world, and there are few frontiers with both room and arable land.

  • Random Lutheran

    It may be time for those whose forebears in faith left a land where orthodoxy was not allowed, to pick up stakes themselves, taking their abilities and gifts elsewhere. 2,000,000+ actual citizens up and moving would be a body blow to Caesar. The problem is that there are few (if any) places worth moving to; freedom grows small in much of the world, and there are few frontiers with both room and arable land.

  • http://redemptivethoughts.com John H. Guthrie

    Tom Hering #14- Since when does the fact that our consciences can change render them non-sacred? Whether they change on a particular issue or not, this is still a circumstance where an outside power seeks to cause individuals of religious institutions to act contrary to the dictates of their consciences. In other words, the government is taking it upon itself to decide whether individual consciences have no importance in the public sphere. As to slavery, polygamy, child brides, refusing medical help for children, these are issues that do not concern the private consciences of individuals alone, but affect other parties who’s rights are being violated or are not in a legal position to decide what is best for them (they are minors).

  • http://redemptivethoughts.com John H. Guthrie

    Tom Hering #14- Since when does the fact that our consciences can change render them non-sacred? Whether they change on a particular issue or not, this is still a circumstance where an outside power seeks to cause individuals of religious institutions to act contrary to the dictates of their consciences. In other words, the government is taking it upon itself to decide whether individual consciences have no importance in the public sphere. As to slavery, polygamy, child brides, refusing medical help for children, these are issues that do not concern the private consciences of individuals alone, but affect other parties who’s rights are being violated or are not in a legal position to decide what is best for them (they are minors).

  • http://www.docsdining.blogspot.com Jason

    Almost makes me wish to return to the LCMS if I didn’t have such a great church now. Well done, president Harrison.

  • http://www.docsdining.blogspot.com Jason

    Almost makes me wish to return to the LCMS if I didn’t have such a great church now. Well done, president Harrison.

  • Abby

    “I thought his delivery was full of sound and fury.”

    Fury is good. I’m very proud of President Harrison. Actually, I think he held back more than he wanted to. He was in a very hard place under great pressure. God bless Him. And He will. Don’t worry — this is not over.

  • Abby

    “I thought his delivery was full of sound and fury.”

    Fury is good. I’m very proud of President Harrison. Actually, I think he held back more than he wanted to. He was in a very hard place under great pressure. God bless Him. And He will. Don’t worry — this is not over.

  • Michael B.

    So basically an organization gets to decide for itself which health care services it wants to provide. I wonder if this will cause more in the center to see the benefits of a government health care.

    There’s no reason why you can say that the birth control pill or morning after pill causes abortions and not say that the rhythm method causes abortions — they both work in part by putting the embryo in a less hospitable environment, and is more likely to be flushed out by the woman.

  • Michael B.

    So basically an organization gets to decide for itself which health care services it wants to provide. I wonder if this will cause more in the center to see the benefits of a government health care.

    There’s no reason why you can say that the birth control pill or morning after pill causes abortions and not say that the rhythm method causes abortions — they both work in part by putting the embryo in a less hospitable environment, and is more likely to be flushed out by the woman.

  • Tom Hering

    “He was in a very hard place under great pressure.” – Abby @ 25.

    Say what? It was a show “hearing” set up to present just one point of view – the view Harrison shared. And he was invited (not subpoenaed) by the Republican chair, who was entirely friendly toward him. The word “martyr” doesn’t spring to my mind as easily as it did to Harrison’s.

    “… this is not over.” – @ 25.

    It could have been, if conservatives had handled it well. Instead, one of Santorum’s biggest contributors makes a joke about women putting an aspirin between their knees. Then an all-male panel is called to testify about the mandate’s impact on religious liberty, and the Chair admits he blocked the testimony of a woman (the one witness Democrats were allowed to call) because she wasn’t “relevant.” Wow. Republicans couldn’t, as an alternative, find one prominent woman to speak in defense of religious liberty? When the issue is inseperable from another issue of great concern to women?

    If Obamas’s mandate was not only wrong (and I’ll say for the umpteenth time that it was) but politically stupid in an election year, then the conservative response has been downright imbecilic. I mean, if the majority of women weren’t energized to vote for Obama in November, they are now. And if the religious liberty issue was unclear to most voters before, it’s completely muddied now.

  • Tom Hering

    “He was in a very hard place under great pressure.” – Abby @ 25.

    Say what? It was a show “hearing” set up to present just one point of view – the view Harrison shared. And he was invited (not subpoenaed) by the Republican chair, who was entirely friendly toward him. The word “martyr” doesn’t spring to my mind as easily as it did to Harrison’s.

    “… this is not over.” – @ 25.

    It could have been, if conservatives had handled it well. Instead, one of Santorum’s biggest contributors makes a joke about women putting an aspirin between their knees. Then an all-male panel is called to testify about the mandate’s impact on religious liberty, and the Chair admits he blocked the testimony of a woman (the one witness Democrats were allowed to call) because she wasn’t “relevant.” Wow. Republicans couldn’t, as an alternative, find one prominent woman to speak in defense of religious liberty? When the issue is inseperable from another issue of great concern to women?

    If Obamas’s mandate was not only wrong (and I’ll say for the umpteenth time that it was) but politically stupid in an election year, then the conservative response has been downright imbecilic. I mean, if the majority of women weren’t energized to vote for Obama in November, they are now. And if the religious liberty issue was unclear to most voters before, it’s completely muddied now.

  • Mike

    “And you will be brought before Kings and governors for my name’s sake.” (Luke 21:12)

    That’s what came to mind. And that’s what he did for Christ and the body of Christ on earth.

  • Mike

    “And you will be brought before Kings and governors for my name’s sake.” (Luke 21:12)

    That’s what came to mind. And that’s what he did for Christ and the body of Christ on earth.

  • Tom Hering

    “For I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.” (Luke 21:15)

    Not exactly the case here, Mike. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “For I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.” (Luke 21:15)

    Not exactly the case here, Mike. :-D

  • Mike

    @tom #29

    Yet to be seen

  • Mike

    @tom #29

    Yet to be seen

  • Deaconess Kris

    I’ve never been more proud to belong to the LCMS. Thank you, President Harrison. To God be the Glory!

  • Deaconess Kris

    I’ve never been more proud to belong to the LCMS. Thank you, President Harrison. To God be the Glory!

  • Joanne

    The cry has gone out. Churches that don’t normally work together in supporting their religious libery rights now have a kernel of leaders to rally ’round. This is the value: the Gospel was proclaimed therefore letting loose the power of the Holy Spirit on all who heard it. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit have the power to change the hearts of men. The apparently crusty, unchangeable congresspersons all spent their youths in church and Sunday school. You cannot see the anima, it blows where it will. You canot see it coming nor going, but it gives life to all living things.
    This is a battle for hearts, not minds. If President Harrison had based his message on natural law and logic, where would the power of the Gospel be in that? The Gospel of Jesus Christ has defeated many empires, this is a piece of cake.

  • Joanne

    The cry has gone out. Churches that don’t normally work together in supporting their religious libery rights now have a kernel of leaders to rally ’round. This is the value: the Gospel was proclaimed therefore letting loose the power of the Holy Spirit on all who heard it. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit have the power to change the hearts of men. The apparently crusty, unchangeable congresspersons all spent their youths in church and Sunday school. You cannot see the anima, it blows where it will. You canot see it coming nor going, but it gives life to all living things.
    This is a battle for hearts, not minds. If President Harrison had based his message on natural law and logic, where would the power of the Gospel be in that? The Gospel of Jesus Christ has defeated many empires, this is a piece of cake.

  • CRB

    It seems to me that in such a circumstance, one needs to walk a fine line between defending our rights as citizens, (as did St. Paul) while avoiding the impression that we are like the religio-politicos who seem to fall into the trap of triumphalism: “the attitude or practices of a church that seeks a position of power and dominance in the world.”
    Well done, President Harrison!

  • CRB

    It seems to me that in such a circumstance, one needs to walk a fine line between defending our rights as citizens, (as did St. Paul) while avoiding the impression that we are like the religio-politicos who seem to fall into the trap of triumphalism: “the attitude or practices of a church that seeks a position of power and dominance in the world.”
    Well done, President Harrison!

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Posted two of his videos-
    great to see that a Lutheran leader is stepping up –

    I noticed-when he was inducted to the Pres of MS – that he gave honor to his wife-rare-and brought a smile from me—
    after his video on abortion (from the LCMS site)- and his strength under ‘fire’ while on the panel before the Congress
    I like Pres Harrison more and more-!!!!
    Carol-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    Posted two of his videos-
    great to see that a Lutheran leader is stepping up –

    I noticed-when he was inducted to the Pres of MS – that he gave honor to his wife-rare-and brought a smile from me—
    after his video on abortion (from the LCMS site)- and his strength under ‘fire’ while on the panel before the Congress
    I like Pres Harrison more and more-!!!!
    Carol-CS

  • Tom Hering

    “This is the value: the Gospel was proclaimed therefore letting loose the power of the Holy Spirit on all who heard it.” – Joanne @ 32.

    I know the Gospel – as a Lutheran would define it – was briefly mentioned, but how did 99.9% of Harrison’s testimony proclaim it? Maybe you have a broad definition of the Gospel. Broader than Harrison himself would accept.

    Look, I understand why Christian culture warriors are pleased with this so-called hearing. As an anti-abortion Leftist, I wanted to be pleased with it too. But politics isn’t about what you say, it’s about what people hear, and in this respect Issa’s show was a complete failure. From its mere appearances (an all-male panel, right off the bat), through the panelists’ weak arguments, to one panelists’ embarrassingly silly hypothetical – the forced sale of pork in kosher delis. Most of the country, when it wasn’t laughing, was groaning or yawning.

    Now, the argument can be made that the reaction of most of the country is neither here nor there. Fine. But the idea that the mountains were made to tremble, and the Hill ( ;-) ) was made desolate, is one heck of a stretch.

  • Tom Hering

    “This is the value: the Gospel was proclaimed therefore letting loose the power of the Holy Spirit on all who heard it.” – Joanne @ 32.

    I know the Gospel – as a Lutheran would define it – was briefly mentioned, but how did 99.9% of Harrison’s testimony proclaim it? Maybe you have a broad definition of the Gospel. Broader than Harrison himself would accept.

    Look, I understand why Christian culture warriors are pleased with this so-called hearing. As an anti-abortion Leftist, I wanted to be pleased with it too. But politics isn’t about what you say, it’s about what people hear, and in this respect Issa’s show was a complete failure. From its mere appearances (an all-male panel, right off the bat), through the panelists’ weak arguments, to one panelists’ embarrassingly silly hypothetical – the forced sale of pork in kosher delis. Most of the country, when it wasn’t laughing, was groaning or yawning.

    Now, the argument can be made that the reaction of most of the country is neither here nor there. Fine. But the idea that the mountains were made to tremble, and the Hill ( ;-) ) was made desolate, is one heck of a stretch.

  • moallen

    Tom,
    Pastor Harrison does say that he proclaimed the gospel – here’s an interview he did on Issues Etc.:
    http://issuesetc.org/2012/02/16/4-religious-liberty-pr-matt-harrison-2162012/
    Also, did you know that 2 women testified that morning regarding Obama’s birth control and abortifacient decree. Two panels testified, two women were in the second panel.

  • moallen

    Tom,
    Pastor Harrison does say that he proclaimed the gospel – here’s an interview he did on Issues Etc.:
    http://issuesetc.org/2012/02/16/4-religious-liberty-pr-matt-harrison-2162012/
    Also, did you know that 2 women testified that morning regarding Obama’s birth control and abortifacient decree. Two panels testified, two women were in the second panel.

  • http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com Pastor Larry Peters

    And to those who thought he should not have spoken or his words made little difference or he risked being used by those in opposition to Obamacare, I ask only if there was anything to be gained by remaining silent?

  • http://www.pastoralmeanderings.blogspot.com Pastor Larry Peters

    And to those who thought he should not have spoken or his words made little difference or he risked being used by those in opposition to Obamacare, I ask only if there was anything to be gained by remaining silent?

  • Tom Hering

    moallen @ 35, yes, I knew that. But both women on the second panel were chosen by Issa to present the single point of view he wanted to promote.

    The traditional role of a hearing is to hear views from more than one side of a debated issue.

    As to the second panel, where was Sister Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association (which actually runs Catholic hospitals)?

    The Catholic Health Association is very pleased with the White House announcement that a resolution has been reached that protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions.

    As to the first panel, where was the Rev. Larry Snyder, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA?

    Catholic Charities USA welcomes the Administration’s attempt [the mandate compromise] to meet the concerns of the religious community and we look forward to reviewing the final language. We are hopeful that this is a step in the right direction and are committed to continuing our work to ensure that our religious institutions will continue to be granted the freedom to remain faithful to our beliefs, while also being committed to providing access to quality healthcare for our 70,000 employees and their families across the country.

    Or the Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame?

    The widespread concerns expressed by Catholics and people from other faiths have led today to a welcome step [the mandate compromise] toward recognizing the freedom of religious institutions to abide by the principles that define their respective missions.

    Or a representative from the Association Of Jesuit Colleges And Universities?

    The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) acknowledges and appreciates the compromise that President Obama has made to accommodate religious institutions in regard to the birth control mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

    Or James Salt, executive director of Catholics United?

    President Obama has shown us that he is willing to rise above the partisan fray to deliver an actual policy solution that both meets the health care needs of all employees and respects the religious liberty of Catholic institutions.

    Or a representative from Faith In Public Life?

    We applaud the White House for listening carefully to the concerns raised by religious leaders on an issue that has provoked heated and often misinformed debate. This ruling [the mandate compromise] is a major victory for religious liberty and women’s health. President Obama has demonstrated that these core values do not have to be in conflict.

    Or, if this was really about the broad issue of religious liberty in America, where was a representative from the Muslim faith? Hmm. Maybe Muslims aren’t part of the GOP base, the way politically conservative Jews, Catholics, and Protestants are.

    Pastor Larry Peters @ 36, no, there was nothing to be gained by Rev. Harrison remaining silent. On the other hand, I’m not sure what, if anything, was gained by speaking at this “hearing.” Maybe a rise in the number of Teddy Roosevelt comparisons? :-D

  • Tom Hering

    moallen @ 35, yes, I knew that. But both women on the second panel were chosen by Issa to present the single point of view he wanted to promote.

    The traditional role of a hearing is to hear views from more than one side of a debated issue.

    As to the second panel, where was Sister Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association (which actually runs Catholic hospitals)?

    The Catholic Health Association is very pleased with the White House announcement that a resolution has been reached that protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions.

    As to the first panel, where was the Rev. Larry Snyder, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA?

    Catholic Charities USA welcomes the Administration’s attempt [the mandate compromise] to meet the concerns of the religious community and we look forward to reviewing the final language. We are hopeful that this is a step in the right direction and are committed to continuing our work to ensure that our religious institutions will continue to be granted the freedom to remain faithful to our beliefs, while also being committed to providing access to quality healthcare for our 70,000 employees and their families across the country.

    Or the Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame?

    The widespread concerns expressed by Catholics and people from other faiths have led today to a welcome step [the mandate compromise] toward recognizing the freedom of religious institutions to abide by the principles that define their respective missions.

    Or a representative from the Association Of Jesuit Colleges And Universities?

    The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) acknowledges and appreciates the compromise that President Obama has made to accommodate religious institutions in regard to the birth control mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

    Or James Salt, executive director of Catholics United?

    President Obama has shown us that he is willing to rise above the partisan fray to deliver an actual policy solution that both meets the health care needs of all employees and respects the religious liberty of Catholic institutions.

    Or a representative from Faith In Public Life?

    We applaud the White House for listening carefully to the concerns raised by religious leaders on an issue that has provoked heated and often misinformed debate. This ruling [the mandate compromise] is a major victory for religious liberty and women’s health. President Obama has demonstrated that these core values do not have to be in conflict.

    Or, if this was really about the broad issue of religious liberty in America, where was a representative from the Muslim faith? Hmm. Maybe Muslims aren’t part of the GOP base, the way politically conservative Jews, Catholics, and Protestants are.

    Pastor Larry Peters @ 36, no, there was nothing to be gained by Rev. Harrison remaining silent. On the other hand, I’m not sure what, if anything, was gained by speaking at this “hearing.” Maybe a rise in the number of Teddy Roosevelt comparisons? :-D

  • Abby

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/februaryweb-only/women-contraceptive-mandate.html

    While today’s men are striving to be more open to listening to women and “giving them the floor,” I still find it true that men prefer to listen to prominent and respected men from various fields of expertise. I also prefer the right men speaking on my behalf (men who can better articulate verbally the same belief system that I espouse to). And if Pastor Harrison has to go to jail regarding this issue of religious freedom (because that is what this is — it is NOT a woman’s “health issue” or “cost issue” to women. There are college campuses that provide the “morning after” pill in vending machines.) I’m quite sure that some really good women could be found that would be willing to go along with him.

    I am not speaking judgmentally against women who have had abortions. Because all repented sin can be forgiven. But I will agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr with regard to legislation:

    “Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart.
    But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated.
    It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless.”

    From: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/02/16/you-cant-legislate-morality/print/

    So far we have “heartless” abortion laws in place. May God grant that we change and get rid of these for the protection of the millions of babies now being killed. And may God continue to grant us freedom of religion and conscience.

  • Abby

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/februaryweb-only/women-contraceptive-mandate.html

    While today’s men are striving to be more open to listening to women and “giving them the floor,” I still find it true that men prefer to listen to prominent and respected men from various fields of expertise. I also prefer the right men speaking on my behalf (men who can better articulate verbally the same belief system that I espouse to). And if Pastor Harrison has to go to jail regarding this issue of religious freedom (because that is what this is — it is NOT a woman’s “health issue” or “cost issue” to women. There are college campuses that provide the “morning after” pill in vending machines.) I’m quite sure that some really good women could be found that would be willing to go along with him.

    I am not speaking judgmentally against women who have had abortions. Because all repented sin can be forgiven. But I will agree with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr with regard to legislation:

    “Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed. Religion and education must play a great role in changing the heart.
    But we must go on to say that while it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated.
    It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless.”

    From: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2012/02/16/you-cant-legislate-morality/print/

    So far we have “heartless” abortion laws in place. May God grant that we change and get rid of these for the protection of the millions of babies now being killed. And may God continue to grant us freedom of religion and conscience.

  • Abby

    “Say what? It was a show “hearing” set up to present just one point of view . . .”

    Excellent! It’s about time the “other side” had some “controlled” media time for a change. As you know, it’s rarely given. Don’t cite Fox News — that is only one channel out of how many others devoted to the Left?

  • Abby

    “Say what? It was a show “hearing” set up to present just one point of view . . .”

    Excellent! It’s about time the “other side” had some “controlled” media time for a change. As you know, it’s rarely given. Don’t cite Fox News — that is only one channel out of how many others devoted to the Left?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed.

    It is not a problem. It is a conflict. Conflicts do not have solutions. They have outcomes.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Certainly, if the problem is to be solved then in the final sense, hearts must be changed.

    It is not a problem. It is a conflict. Conflicts do not have solutions. They have outcomes.

  • moallen

    Tom,
    Your original standard was that no women testified. So the new standard is the right kind of women need to testify. Okay. The women who testified don’t count as women. Got it.
    Are all panels that testify before congress balanced? In other words – if scientists testify of the dangers of cigarettes, do they find someone to testify on the economic benefits to tobacco farmers in North and South Carolina. That would be an equivalent – since the talking point on one side is that this is about denying women birth control, while the other side is saying don’t make me deny my religious convictions and pay for your birth control and abortifacients – pay for them yourselves, why make me participate and violate my conscience? Must we all subsidize cigarette purchases from Phillip Morris so that tobacco farmers can prosper – even if we think cigarettes bring suffering and death? Buy your own cigarettes. Must we all subsidize Planned Parenthood even if we believe abortionists bring suffering and death? Are all panels that testify balanced between opposing sides talking about unrelated issues revolving around the latest law passed or Presidential proclamation? I doubt it.

  • moallen

    Tom,
    Your original standard was that no women testified. So the new standard is the right kind of women need to testify. Okay. The women who testified don’t count as women. Got it.
    Are all panels that testify before congress balanced? In other words – if scientists testify of the dangers of cigarettes, do they find someone to testify on the economic benefits to tobacco farmers in North and South Carolina. That would be an equivalent – since the talking point on one side is that this is about denying women birth control, while the other side is saying don’t make me deny my religious convictions and pay for your birth control and abortifacients – pay for them yourselves, why make me participate and violate my conscience? Must we all subsidize cigarette purchases from Phillip Morris so that tobacco farmers can prosper – even if we think cigarettes bring suffering and death? Buy your own cigarettes. Must we all subsidize Planned Parenthood even if we believe abortionists bring suffering and death? Are all panels that testify balanced between opposing sides talking about unrelated issues revolving around the latest law passed or Presidential proclamation? I doubt it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “From its mere appearances (an all-male panel, right off the bat),”

    Why the extreme sexism against men? If we are all equal, then why do we have to have de facto quotas? Why the assumption that there is something wrong with these men just because they are men?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “From its mere appearances (an all-male panel, right off the bat),”

    Why the extreme sexism against men? If we are all equal, then why do we have to have de facto quotas? Why the assumption that there is something wrong with these men just because they are men?

  • moallen

    Tom Hering,
    Planned Parenthood was also very pleased with the compromise. Perhaps more so than anyone I would guess. “We believe the compliance mechanism does not compromise a woman’s ability to access these critical birth control benefits.” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.
    In other words, they got everything they wanted – nothing changed.

  • moallen

    Tom Hering,
    Planned Parenthood was also very pleased with the compromise. Perhaps more so than anyone I would guess. “We believe the compliance mechanism does not compromise a woman’s ability to access these critical birth control benefits.” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.
    In other words, they got everything they wanted – nothing changed.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If Obamas’s mandate was not only wrong (and I’ll say for the umpteenth time that it was) but politically stupid in an election year, then the conservative response has been downright imbecilic.

    Not politically stupid at all. It would be if the electorate cared more for freedom than freebies, but they don’t, so it works.

    The response by religionists and libertarian sorts has been too nuanced and precise for many to grasp.

    The mischaracterizations by those who stand to gain from such mandates has been crude and deceptive, but given the audience, effective.

    Planned Parenthood tweeted

    “Instead of focusing on our nation’s real problems, Congress is coming after your birth control.”

    http://www.jillstanek.com/2012/02/stanek-sunday-funnies-conservatives-started-it-edition/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If Obamas’s mandate was not only wrong (and I’ll say for the umpteenth time that it was) but politically stupid in an election year, then the conservative response has been downright imbecilic.

    Not politically stupid at all. It would be if the electorate cared more for freedom than freebies, but they don’t, so it works.

    The response by religionists and libertarian sorts has been too nuanced and precise for many to grasp.

    The mischaracterizations by those who stand to gain from such mandates has been crude and deceptive, but given the audience, effective.

    Planned Parenthood tweeted

    “Instead of focusing on our nation’s real problems, Congress is coming after your birth control.”

    http://www.jillstanek.com/2012/02/stanek-sunday-funnies-conservatives-started-it-edition/

  • Med Student

    I have a really hard time understanding how people don’t recongnize that this mandate is a blatant violation of the free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment. In order to constrain free exercise of religion, the government has to meet a very strict standard of compelling government interest (hence no human sacrifice or right to beat your spouse or children because your religion commands/allows it). Last time I checked, there is no compelling government interest in giving people free birth control. An argument maybe could be made that people have a right to birth control, but people also have a right to own firearms, and I don’t see anyone interpreting that as meaning that the government has to provide them for free. I find it very disturbing that so many people are willing to throw the Bill of Rights out the window because they want to stick it to the Catholic church or some such nonsense.

  • Med Student

    I have a really hard time understanding how people don’t recongnize that this mandate is a blatant violation of the free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment. In order to constrain free exercise of religion, the government has to meet a very strict standard of compelling government interest (hence no human sacrifice or right to beat your spouse or children because your religion commands/allows it). Last time I checked, there is no compelling government interest in giving people free birth control. An argument maybe could be made that people have a right to birth control, but people also have a right to own firearms, and I don’t see anyone interpreting that as meaning that the government has to provide them for free. I find it very disturbing that so many people are willing to throw the Bill of Rights out the window because they want to stick it to the Catholic church or some such nonsense.

  • Med Student

    *recognize

  • Med Student

    *recognize

  • Tom Hering

    “Your original standard was that no women testified.” – moallen @ 41.

    No, my earlier comment was that it was imbecilic to start off with an all-male panel, in this hearing on religious liberty, as it relates to an issue of concern to women.

    “So the new standard is the right kind of women need to testify.” – @ 41.

    No, my argument all along has been that men and women from both sides of the debate should have been asked to testify. Abby @ 39 is happy the so-called hearing was one-sided, and maybe you are too. But the majority of Americans are less than pleased. So, if the purpose of the hearing was to increase support for religious liberty, it was a failure. Indeed, as it’s obvious to most people this was nothing but an election-year stunt, it may actually have decreased sympathy among people who aren’t part of the choir. (With one result being that Rev. Harrison’s attempt to make the LCMS look like the good guys backfired.)

  • Tom Hering

    “Your original standard was that no women testified.” – moallen @ 41.

    No, my earlier comment was that it was imbecilic to start off with an all-male panel, in this hearing on religious liberty, as it relates to an issue of concern to women.

    “So the new standard is the right kind of women need to testify.” – @ 41.

    No, my argument all along has been that men and women from both sides of the debate should have been asked to testify. Abby @ 39 is happy the so-called hearing was one-sided, and maybe you are too. But the majority of Americans are less than pleased. So, if the purpose of the hearing was to increase support for religious liberty, it was a failure. Indeed, as it’s obvious to most people this was nothing but an election-year stunt, it may actually have decreased sympathy among people who aren’t part of the choir. (With one result being that Rev. Harrison’s attempt to make the LCMS look like the good guys backfired.)

  • Abby

    “But the majority of Americans are less than pleased. So, if the purpose of the hearing was to increase support for religious liberty, it was a failure.”

    The 2010 election yielded some good results. A surprising blood-bath so-to-speak. Maybe 2012 will be a surprise too.

  • Abby

    “But the majority of Americans are less than pleased. So, if the purpose of the hearing was to increase support for religious liberty, it was a failure.”

    The 2010 election yielded some good results. A surprising blood-bath so-to-speak. Maybe 2012 will be a surprise too.

  • Megan

    Med Student,
    I, unfortunately, do not have a hard time understanding how people do not recognize the First Amendment violation. As a high school senior who recently completed my state-mandatory semester of U.S. Government at a parochial high school, I see firsthand what the average American knows about Constitutional principles. The one semester course I took revolved mainly around the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, due process, and the roles and relations of the branches of government at a federal level. Most of the students I took the course with, less than a week after the final exam, could not tell you which amendment was which, let alone whether the government was violating said amendment. This is the sort of American public that the media reaches with messages such as “Congress is going to take away your birth control”. Most either do not know enough or, more likely, do not care enough to do more than be outraged at the message handed down to them from the television or Internet about government taking this or that away from them. They do not look into the issue deeply enough to see that it is the freedom of their conscience, rather than their freedom to have or use birth control, which is being debated.

  • Megan

    Med Student,
    I, unfortunately, do not have a hard time understanding how people do not recognize the First Amendment violation. As a high school senior who recently completed my state-mandatory semester of U.S. Government at a parochial high school, I see firsthand what the average American knows about Constitutional principles. The one semester course I took revolved mainly around the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, due process, and the roles and relations of the branches of government at a federal level. Most of the students I took the course with, less than a week after the final exam, could not tell you which amendment was which, let alone whether the government was violating said amendment. This is the sort of American public that the media reaches with messages such as “Congress is going to take away your birth control”. Most either do not know enough or, more likely, do not care enough to do more than be outraged at the message handed down to them from the television or Internet about government taking this or that away from them. They do not look into the issue deeply enough to see that it is the freedom of their conscience, rather than their freedom to have or use birth control, which is being debated.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “No, my earlier comment was that it was imbecilic to start off with an all-male panel, in this hearing on religious liberty, as it relates to an issue of concern to women.”

    Why is it imbecilic? These men are religious leaders and it is a religious issue pertaining to their religions.

    “No, my argument all along has been that men and women from both sides of the debate should have been asked to testify.”

    I don’t understand this. What is the other side when one group is complaining that the government is infringing on its religious liberty? Certainly folks whose consciences are not violated do not comprise the other side. That makes no sense. They simply are not affected. The two sides are the government and the aggrieved. Those who are not aggrieved are not the other side. They are extraneous.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “No, my earlier comment was that it was imbecilic to start off with an all-male panel, in this hearing on religious liberty, as it relates to an issue of concern to women.”

    Why is it imbecilic? These men are religious leaders and it is a religious issue pertaining to their religions.

    “No, my argument all along has been that men and women from both sides of the debate should have been asked to testify.”

    I don’t understand this. What is the other side when one group is complaining that the government is infringing on its religious liberty? Certainly folks whose consciences are not violated do not comprise the other side. That makes no sense. They simply are not affected. The two sides are the government and the aggrieved. Those who are not aggrieved are not the other side. They are extraneous.

  • norman teigen

    congratulations, Megan. You are a wise woman indeed. So much of the discussion has fallen far short of your perceptive views. Sadly, even well-meaning and pious persons have urged us to ‘Rally with the Catholics’ or to assert that ‘We are all Catholics now!’ What the discussion needs is more people like you who think, reason, and write with a clear mind.

  • norman teigen

    congratulations, Megan. You are a wise woman indeed. So much of the discussion has fallen far short of your perceptive views. Sadly, even well-meaning and pious persons have urged us to ‘Rally with the Catholics’ or to assert that ‘We are all Catholics now!’ What the discussion needs is more people like you who think, reason, and write with a clear mind.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What the discussion needs is more people like you who think, reason, and write with a clear mind.

    sounds swell, but reasonable voices must meet reasonable ears.

    We lament the shortage of the latter.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What the discussion needs is more people like you who think, reason, and write with a clear mind.

    sounds swell, but reasonable voices must meet reasonable ears.

    We lament the shortage of the latter.

  • Tom Hering

    sg @ 50, your view is perplexing. The issue is a government mandate trampling on religious liberty. So, if the government itself is going to hold a hearing on the issue, they ought to hear from religious leaders who believe said trampling is still taking place, and from religious leaders who believe their concerns have been addressed by the mandate’s revision. This way, you get a picture of what America’s religious communities, as a whole, think. But that’s not what Issa and the GOP wanted. They wanted, and want, to defeat Obama. And they are, as they always have been, more than happy to take cynical advantage of a certain segment of religious Americans. Who, in turn, are more than happy to get some air time. Actual consequences be damned.

  • Tom Hering

    sg @ 50, your view is perplexing. The issue is a government mandate trampling on religious liberty. So, if the government itself is going to hold a hearing on the issue, they ought to hear from religious leaders who believe said trampling is still taking place, and from religious leaders who believe their concerns have been addressed by the mandate’s revision. This way, you get a picture of what America’s religious communities, as a whole, think. But that’s not what Issa and the GOP wanted. They wanted, and want, to defeat Obama. And they are, as they always have been, more than happy to take cynical advantage of a certain segment of religious Americans. Who, in turn, are more than happy to get some air time. Actual consequences be damned.

  • reg

    from today’s Boston Herald (our conservative paper):
    Up in ever wackier New Hampshire, ultra-conservatives have just discovered that their Catholic institutions have been required to cover birth control costs for a decade now. Who knew? I didn’t know either, frankly, that since 2002 Massachusetts — like 20-plus other states — has also required Catholic institutions from Boston College to St. Elizabeth’s to cover birth control, too. Where was the hysteria about religious liberty then? Apparently — and purely coincidentally, I’m sure — the hysterics waited till Barack Obama entered the picture. Now New Hampshire legislators, and half the country, are outraged. Outraged!

  • reg

    from today’s Boston Herald (our conservative paper):
    Up in ever wackier New Hampshire, ultra-conservatives have just discovered that their Catholic institutions have been required to cover birth control costs for a decade now. Who knew? I didn’t know either, frankly, that since 2002 Massachusetts — like 20-plus other states — has also required Catholic institutions from Boston College to St. Elizabeth’s to cover birth control, too. Where was the hysteria about religious liberty then? Apparently — and purely coincidentally, I’m sure — the hysterics waited till Barack Obama entered the picture. Now New Hampshire legislators, and half the country, are outraged. Outraged!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “if the government itself is going to hold a hearing on the issue, they ought to hear from religious leaders who believe said trampling is still taking place, and from religious leaders who believe their concerns have been addressed by the mandate’s revision.”

    I don’t get it.

    Why do people who have no grievances need to show up to say they have no problem with the mandate?

    Citizens have the right to petition for redress of grievances.

    There is no particular need for people to show up to Congress to cheerlead for policies they like in order to drown out the aggrieved minority.

    Individuals have constitutional rights. So even the tiniest minority, the individual has the rights in the Bill of Rights.

    Majority rule. Minority rights.

    But that’s not what Issa and the GOP wanted. They wanted, and want, to defeat Obama.

    No kidding.

    Anyway, the aggrieved minority still has a right to be heard and there is no real point in having members of the majority there to assert their support of trampling the rights of the minority.

    Finally, are you going to say what your problem is with the guys? Are they somehow mischaracterizing the positions of the groups they lead? Don’t men have rights of conscience, too? or do chicks get to override the consciences of men?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “if the government itself is going to hold a hearing on the issue, they ought to hear from religious leaders who believe said trampling is still taking place, and from religious leaders who believe their concerns have been addressed by the mandate’s revision.”

    I don’t get it.

    Why do people who have no grievances need to show up to say they have no problem with the mandate?

    Citizens have the right to petition for redress of grievances.

    There is no particular need for people to show up to Congress to cheerlead for policies they like in order to drown out the aggrieved minority.

    Individuals have constitutional rights. So even the tiniest minority, the individual has the rights in the Bill of Rights.

    Majority rule. Minority rights.

    But that’s not what Issa and the GOP wanted. They wanted, and want, to defeat Obama.

    No kidding.

    Anyway, the aggrieved minority still has a right to be heard and there is no real point in having members of the majority there to assert their support of trampling the rights of the minority.

    Finally, are you going to say what your problem is with the guys? Are they somehow mischaracterizing the positions of the groups they lead? Don’t men have rights of conscience, too? or do chicks get to override the consciences of men?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Apparently — and purely coincidentally, I’m sure — the hysterics waited till Barack Obama entered the picture.”

    It’s cuz he’s black y’know. (sarcasm)

    If it happened in a state, then the folks there voted it on themselves and it is the responsibility of the people up there to take it up with the state or court, etc. There is a difference between a state and the federal government. Insurance law has long been handled at the state level. A federal mandate is a whole ‘nother animal. Finally, if you don’t like a state, you can leave. It is not so easy to leave the country.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Apparently — and purely coincidentally, I’m sure — the hysterics waited till Barack Obama entered the picture.”

    It’s cuz he’s black y’know. (sarcasm)

    If it happened in a state, then the folks there voted it on themselves and it is the responsibility of the people up there to take it up with the state or court, etc. There is a difference between a state and the federal government. Insurance law has long been handled at the state level. A federal mandate is a whole ‘nother animal. Finally, if you don’t like a state, you can leave. It is not so easy to leave the country.

  • reg

    Sg: “It’s cuz he’s black y’know. ” (with sarcasm)
    reg: Unfortunately, with many of his critics you are probably right to a large extent. (with sadness)

  • reg

    Sg: “It’s cuz he’s black y’know. ” (with sarcasm)
    reg: Unfortunately, with many of his critics you are probably right to a large extent. (with sadness)

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Unfortunately, with many of his critics you are probably right to a large extent.”

    Absurd with a capital A, hence the sarcasm. Duh.

    It is not about race. double duh.

    but when you have no argument, trot out the race card.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Unfortunately, with many of his critics you are probably right to a large extent.”

    Absurd with a capital A, hence the sarcasm. Duh.

    It is not about race. double duh.

    but when you have no argument, trot out the race card.

  • Tom Hering

    sg @ 55, so if government holds a hearing on its nuclear power policies, and the minority – the nuclear power industry – wants its grievances about the way government is handling nuclear power to be heard, then only industry executives should be called to testify? Government shouldn’t also be interested in the favorable views of other groups? To get a complete picture of what all involved parties think of its policies? Okey dokey. (Hey, my hypothetical is no worse than the one about forcing pork on a kosher deli. Maybe better. :-D )

  • Tom Hering

    sg @ 55, so if government holds a hearing on its nuclear power policies, and the minority – the nuclear power industry – wants its grievances about the way government is handling nuclear power to be heard, then only industry executives should be called to testify? Government shouldn’t also be interested in the favorable views of other groups? To get a complete picture of what all involved parties think of its policies? Okey dokey. (Hey, my hypothetical is no worse than the one about forcing pork on a kosher deli. Maybe better. :-D )

  • reg

    The race issue does not necessarily relate to this topic, but generally it plays a significant part of the hatred in certain circles of the O-man. (and btw I am not a particular fan of his). His alleged “otherness”, whether the claim be that he was not born in the US, or that he is a Muslim, or that he is a radical Marxist Leninist, or that he has an anti-colonial hatred of the US, or that he is Kenyan or Indonesian or that he is motivated by black nationalist liberation theology, or what not. Any thing to deny his legitimacy

    To deny that race plays a part of this is to reveal intentional blindness or worse that one shares in that bias.

  • reg

    The race issue does not necessarily relate to this topic, but generally it plays a significant part of the hatred in certain circles of the O-man. (and btw I am not a particular fan of his). His alleged “otherness”, whether the claim be that he was not born in the US, or that he is a Muslim, or that he is a radical Marxist Leninist, or that he has an anti-colonial hatred of the US, or that he is Kenyan or Indonesian or that he is motivated by black nationalist liberation theology, or what not. Any thing to deny his legitimacy

    To deny that race plays a part of this is to reveal intentional blindness or worse that one shares in that bias.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Martin Luther famously quipped one time, ‘I’d rather have a smart Turk than a stupid Christian governing me.’”

    This probably would not have been included if one had read Gene Veith’s February 21, 2007, Cranach column, “The Wise Turk quote.” The quote is simply an urban legend or old wives’ tale.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Martin Luther famously quipped one time, ‘I’d rather have a smart Turk than a stupid Christian governing me.’”

    This probably would not have been included if one had read Gene Veith’s February 21, 2007, Cranach column, “The Wise Turk quote.” The quote is simply an urban legend or old wives’ tale.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The race issue does not necessarily relate to this topic, but generally it plays a significant part of the hatred in certain circles of the O-man.

    Like what circles?

    His alleged “otherness”, whether the claim be that he was not born in the US,

    Alleged by the racist Clinton campaign.

    or that he is a Muslim, or that he is a radical Marxist Leninist, or that he has an anti-colonial hatred of the US, or that he is Kenyan or Indonesian or that he is motivated by black nationalist liberation theology, or what not.

    Those aren’t baseless. Look at his actual life and things he has written about himself and what he believes. Plenty of people in politics have written nothing on those topics, but Obama did and his opinions of them in his books. Also, how about his associations? I don’t think he agrees with everything every associate ever said. That is absurd, but he had the kind of friends that conservatives loathe and they wouldn’t like them any more if he were not half black. Obama is the opposite end of the political spectrum from some people and they dislike him for being their political opponent. It ain’t race.

    To deny that race plays a part of this is to reveal intentional blindness or worse that one shares in that bias.

    I don’t see that.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The race issue does not necessarily relate to this topic, but generally it plays a significant part of the hatred in certain circles of the O-man.

    Like what circles?

    His alleged “otherness”, whether the claim be that he was not born in the US,

    Alleged by the racist Clinton campaign.

    or that he is a Muslim, or that he is a radical Marxist Leninist, or that he has an anti-colonial hatred of the US, or that he is Kenyan or Indonesian or that he is motivated by black nationalist liberation theology, or what not.

    Those aren’t baseless. Look at his actual life and things he has written about himself and what he believes. Plenty of people in politics have written nothing on those topics, but Obama did and his opinions of them in his books. Also, how about his associations? I don’t think he agrees with everything every associate ever said. That is absurd, but he had the kind of friends that conservatives loathe and they wouldn’t like them any more if he were not half black. Obama is the opposite end of the political spectrum from some people and they dislike him for being their political opponent. It ain’t race.

    To deny that race plays a part of this is to reveal intentional blindness or worse that one shares in that bias.

    I don’t see that.

  • Tom Hering

    “I don’t see that [re: intentional blindness].”

    I hope you meant to be funny, sg. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “I don’t see that [re: intentional blindness].”

    I hope you meant to be funny, sg. :-D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ha, ha,

    nope.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    ha, ha,

    nope.

  • Tom Hering

    Oh poo.

  • Tom Hering

    Oh poo.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Unfortunately, with many of his critics you are probably right to a large extent.”

    Best construction?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Unfortunately, with many of his critics you are probably right to a large extent.”

    Best construction?

  • Marian

    Michael B. # 26:
    Nothing about the “rhythm method” (Natural Family Planning) has any effect on the embryo’s environment. The method consists of monitoring the woman’s monthly cycle and abstaining from intercourse during the part of the cycle when conception is likely. In other words, there is never any embryo! If you get the timing wrong and an egg is fertilized, it is just as likely to implant successfully as it would be if you hadn’t been paying attention.

  • Marian

    Michael B. # 26:
    Nothing about the “rhythm method” (Natural Family Planning) has any effect on the embryo’s environment. The method consists of monitoring the woman’s monthly cycle and abstaining from intercourse during the part of the cycle when conception is likely. In other words, there is never any embryo! If you get the timing wrong and an egg is fertilized, it is just as likely to implant successfully as it would be if you hadn’t been paying attention.

  • Michael B.

    @Marian@67

    “If you get the timing wrong and an egg is fertilized, it is just as likely to implant successfully as it would be if you hadn’t been paying attention.”

    No, it isn’t. That’s the entire point.

  • Michael B.

    @Marian@67

    “If you get the timing wrong and an egg is fertilized, it is just as likely to implant successfully as it would be if you hadn’t been paying attention.”

    No, it isn’t. That’s the entire point.

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Michael B (@68), you really appear to have missed Marian’s point (@67). 

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Michael B (@68), you really appear to have missed Marian’s point (@67). 

  • JHenry

    One thing politicians and many theologians/pastors can count on is their followers being to lazy to fact check whatever they utter. All the hoopla over Harrison’s quote of Luther “‘I’d rather have a smart Turk than a stupid Christian governing me” is only an urban myth. Luther never, in English or German quoted any such thing. Theatrics is all it was i.e., politicking for the conversative right. Shame on the leadership of the LCMS. By the way you can find many of Luther’s quotes regarding the pope being the antichrist. Have Harrison’s catholic friends send you some. By the way, try and find the quote but be sure to take plenty of food and water because you will need it on your journey.

  • JHenry

    One thing politicians and many theologians/pastors can count on is their followers being to lazy to fact check whatever they utter. All the hoopla over Harrison’s quote of Luther “‘I’d rather have a smart Turk than a stupid Christian governing me” is only an urban myth. Luther never, in English or German quoted any such thing. Theatrics is all it was i.e., politicking for the conversative right. Shame on the leadership of the LCMS. By the way you can find many of Luther’s quotes regarding the pope being the antichrist. Have Harrison’s catholic friends send you some. By the way, try and find the quote but be sure to take plenty of food and water because you will need it on your journey.

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