What we did in 2012

The most recent STAND UP FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM Rally in Fort Wayne was held Saturday, August 11 on the East Front of the Allen County Courthouse.

  • Congressman Marlin Stutzman reported on efforts in Washington to stop the HHS Mandate and other assaults on religious liberty.
  • Dr. Tom McGovern gave a physician’s perspective on how Obamacare will affect doctors and their patients, particularly their religious liberties. The text of his talk is at this link. Or see the video here.
  • Mrs. Christy Stutzman gave a woman's perspective on Obamacare. The text of her talk is here. And here is the video.
  • Mike Ripley of Old National Insurance discussed Obamacare and the Mandates from the perspective of an insurance carrier (employee benefits carrier)
  • Pat Miller spoke on what we can do here in Fort Wayne to defend religious liberty.
  • Attendance was estimated at a bit over 400.

The next rally is scheduled for Saturday, October 6, 10 AM. Further details to be announced soon.

In his February 3 letter, LCMS President Matthew Harrison wrote, “I encourage the members of the LCMS to join with me in supporting efforts to preserve our essential right to exercise our religious beliefs.” We are further encouraged and strengthened by his clear and courageous stand before Congress on February 16.

Although American Lutherans have traditionally avoided much involvement in affairs of the State, today the State is invading the realm of the Church. This violates both our Constitution and our American traditions, as Pastor Harrison noted in his testimony before Congress. It is also a tragedy, because the State is not very efficient or very effective at works of love and mercy – it’s instrument is the sword.

Our suggested plan is quite flexible. Each congregation can adapt it to its own situation and interests. It is interactive in that some aspects are yet to be finalized, depending on feedback from pastors and congregations. The proposed general approach is as follows:

  • Saint Paul’s is in the process of gathering, preparing and posting extensive background materials and resources. This material is now beginning to be posted on this website and on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/sureLiberty .
    • More in-depth resources and analysis will be added in the coming days (and weeks). This is an interactive effort: users may offer additional high-quality materials for consideration for posting.
    • These resources are being developed under leadership of Chris Barnekov, a St. Paul’s member with a doctorate in economic policy and four decades’ experience as a senior policy analyst in seven federal agencies. In recent years, Dr. Barnekov has focused almost exclusively on issues of Church and State.
  • Congregations are encouraged to discuss these issues in adult classes or other appropriate forums. The resources are meant to facilitate these discussions, gathering background information and analysis in one place.
  • After study, each congregation is encouraged to send a letter in care of St. Paul's Fort Wayne, signed by as many individual members as wish (here is a sample letter a congregation might send; but of course congregations may write their own: we simply urge that letters be kept succinct and positive in tone). At St Paul's we used a bulletin insert with the sample letter on the back, so members could more easily read it before signing.
  • For strategic reasons, we suggest that the letters be addressed to Fort Wayne’s Roman Catholic Bishop Kevin Rhoades.
    • The main reasons for this are (1) Catholics are currently the main target (we’re next), and (2) the letter can be positive and encouraging in tone, rather than negative (as a letter to HHS would have to be – but we’ll send copies to appropriate government officials).
  • Congregations are encouraged to send their letters to St. Paul’s by shortly after Easter. They will be presented in a public event including as many pastors (and members) as wish to participate, with media invited.
    • The public event has been set for April 17, beginning at St. Paul's at Noon. More precise details are being developed and will be announced on the website and Facebook page. Pastors (or congregational representatives) who would like to participate in person should contact St. Paul's, so we know how many wish to bring and present their own letters. This event may include congregations from the wider Christian community (parallel efforts are being considered in some other denominations).
    • The tone of this event, as of the letters, is meant to be joyful, a celebration of thanksgiving to Our Lord for His gracious blessings of liberty. We do not, of course, have in mind a public worship service (it will involve other denominations), rather a celebration that will have the effect of a demonstration, but not the tone of a protest.

Plans for the April 17 Stand Together Event

[About 250 pastors and members joined in this expression of support on April 17.]

St. Paul's is finalizing details for the Stand Together Event, now scheduled for mid-day April 17. Basically, we will gather at Noon in the sanctuary at St. Paul's (there is ample parking), and walk over to the Cathedral, arriving at the end of their Noon Mass. Bishop Rhoades and his flock will greet us at the West Entrance and we will have a brief, but joyous celebration of the facts that Christ is Risen and Christ is Lord. We will present our letters of support and literally stand together with those who are the primary target of the current assault on Religious Liberty. The event should be finished by about 1:00. Indiana District President Dan May will take part, and we welcome all other pastors and congregation members. PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW MANY TO EXPECT, ESPECIALLY HOW MANY WOULD LIKE TO PRESENT THEIR OWN LETTERS. Send an email to Leviticus25.10@gmail.com. Further details to come "soon."

  • The more precise details of the proposed event will depend largely on feedback from pastors and congregations. Many interesting possibilities have already been mentioned. We will use this Internet site and Facebook to have a “conversation” about this.
  • The media is falsely portraying this controversy as a concern of only a few “reactionary” Catholic bishops, and claiming it is all about contraception or an assault on women’s rights. The true issue is Religious Liberty, and this is a serious concern to all believers. We want to demonstrate this by standing, literally, with those who are currently the main target of this unprecedented assault on Freedom of Religion.

    It is our hope that, if the Lord wills, we can shock the media by the unusual sight of Lutherans and other denominations rallying to the defense of our Roman Catholic brethren. We also wish to counteract the negative image the media typically presents of Christians, and get past the usual media filter to help Americans understand the significance and danger of this assault on liberty.

    More importantly, we wish to educate our own members and raise their awareness of these increasingly important issues of relations between Church and State. In past years, we could safely ignore these issues because in America the ‘Kingdom at the Left Hand’ largely remained within its own bounds. Sadly, this is no longer true today, and we now face the unprecedented need to “defend” our boundaries. We hope to do so with the means provided by our Lord, the Gospel and the Sword of the Spirit.

    We invite you to consider joining with us in this most atypical excursion into public policy, and helping us bring a Christian perspective into this controversy. We would appreciate your feedback and thoughts.