Lutheran Witness: January 2015

From the editor

There’s one day each year that doesn’t garner decorations or turkeys, a day off work or a special stamp from the Post Office. It’s January 16, Religious Freedom Day.

It’s not a new thing either. Thomas Jefferson, in 1786, wrote, in the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom, about the importance of religious liberty and the protection of it, afforded by the First Amendment.

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

This month, we took take a look at what we are “free to profess” about matters key to the discussions currently ongoing in America today, specifically those of marriage, life and religious liberty.

In “Talking Marriage,” the Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer helps you articulate how to make the case for one-man/one-woman marriage and why it is good for children and for civilization, while lawyer Mark Stern explains how to respond to increasing intrusions by the government in the realm of the Church in “Challenges at the Church Door.”

Rachel Thompson’s “Having Done All, Stand Firm” moves us to speak the truth in love to a culture not always willing to listen, even as Tim Goeglein and Doug Napier’s “Free People” explains where freedom of religion is already at risk in America today.

Find answers to the questions college students are asking about how to stay Christian on secular campuses in the Rev. Jonathon Bakker’s “College Is Tough,” and learn more from President Matthew c. Harrison’s “Genius and Courage” about what James Madison had to say about the Lutheran understanding of church and state, which the Rev. Chris Thoma explains in “Two Kingdoms.”

Finally, learn more about the Synod’s “Free to be Faithful” campaign, which serves to educate and raise awareness about the topics of marriage, life and religious liberty, particularly as they are addressed in the public square. Go to to learn more and for a free download of all the infographics found in the following pages.

On January 16–Religious Freedom Day–remember what we as Lutherans are for. “We are for the right of the unborn child to life,” writes Mark Stern. “We are for the right of every child to have a mother and a father if at all possible.” But there’s something even better: “Most importantly, Christ is for us; He gave His life for all of sinners and for our salvation.” And that is worth remembering, not just on January 16, but every day of the year.

Adriane Heins, Managing Editor
The Lutheran Witness

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