Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New LCFS Policy and Its Threat to Conscience

Just today I opened a letter (dated April 2014) from Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, with the expectation that it might be an appeal for donations, a blurb encouraging awareness of LCFS, or some such ordinary communication as we pastors tend to receive from organizations that serve the LCMS.

It was not.

The letter has to do with the new Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act and Marriage Fairness Act passed in Illinois, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. These new ordinances arose in Illinois following a controversy in 2010 when an application was made to LCFS in Illinois for a foster parent license by someone identified as openly gay. The applicant was referred to another agency, but made a complaint of discrimination to the Illinois Attorney General. All this ultimately contributed to this legislation. In essence, the new laws forced the LCFS to choose between compliance and closing their doors altogether.

The LCFS chose to comply. This resulted in the revocation of RSO status, by the LCMS, in March of this year.  If you have trouble with the alphabet soup, that's the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod officially revoking the status of a Religious Service Organization, essentially saying it can not longer be an auxiliary of the Synod. The Synod Secretary Raymond Hartwig dutifully informed LCFS that, due to its new policy allowing gays to serve a foster parents, the Missouri Synod could no longer endorse it or recognize it as and RSO.

This brings me to the letter sitting on my desk. LCFS is hoping that "our congregational partners will continue to support us in our mission," that is, in spite of the LCMS's withdrawal of RSO status.

Their reasoning has to do with the plethora of adoptions, foster homes, placements, and good things that LCFS has done for youths, parents, veterans, and so forth.  "The issue," they admit, "is a complex one that invites ongoing discussion."

So, let's discuss.  If memory serves, weren't Catholic Charities forced to close not very long ago because of this very thing? Were they not served with an ultimatum, and, in identical circumstances, did they not say, we will not compromise what we believe, no matter how much good might otherwise be served?

Further, the revocation of RSO status by the Synod is not without reason. In fact the Synod is to be commended for taking this difficult step; this attempt by LCFS to solicit funds while having newly lost RSO status is essentially making the LCMS leadership look like the bad guys, when in fact, they are the ones who, like Catholic Charities, are following conscience.

But of course, we needn't let the Synodical leadership or the Roman Catholic Church be our guides. This is not really a tough decision ethically, because the bending or compromising of principles is never a good thing to do, no matter what good might come of it.

To be sure, it's all truly sad, and the loss of so much good is heartbreaking. But our legal losses in the state legislatures these days do have, and will have, severe ramifications. How much more severe will they be if we lose conscience because of them?

17 comments:

  1. LCFS is hoping that "our congregational partners will continue to support us in our mission," that is, in spite of the LCMS's withdrawal of RSO status.

    The only support LCFS should get is from the minions of hell.

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    1. "The only support LCFS should get is from the minions of hell."

      That is the most Christ-like statement I think I have ever heard. Thank you for that model of Christian integrity. I'm sure our Lord and Savior would be thrilled to hear you say that!(I hope you hear the sarcasm dripping off that statement...)

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    2. It does appear that things are deteriorating a bit.

      In the past, Mr. Vehse and his "conciliar" colleagues allowed their neighbor the temporal means of a rowboat, in addition to a rousing send-off to hell.

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  2. Behold, we are witnessing the deeds of darkness exposed to the cleansing and bright light of day. What sort of first principles, foundational beliefs, are in play when the LCMS, through its social ministry arm (now "Mercy") cooperates wantonly with wickedness? The issue isn't limited to LCFSI.

    How is it that Floor Committee 2, under the leadership of DP Dave Benke during the last LCMS convention, also torpedoed Michigan District Overture 2-05, which defended traditional, biblical marriage, and substituted in its place LCMS Resolution 2-07A, which gave carte blanche to LCMS President Matt Harrison's "Same-sex Task Force" (now the "God's Gift of Sexuality Task Force," which still has to produce anything), so that Harrison could achieve his desire of providing "ministry" to persons with "same-sex attraction," whatever that is?

    And, along with that is the now infamous "Memorandum of Understanding" signed by Harrison and the head of the Boy Scouts USA, in which the LCMS capitulated to the demands of the "loud and proud" folks by agreeing---as never done before!---not to "discriminate" solely on the basis of sexual orientation? The shoe, in which a adult gay Boy Scout or Scout leader sues and wins in court, will drop, and the LCMS is, pardon the indelicacy, screwed in the matter.

    Or what about more Harrison-Benke shenanigans, this time the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service? Currently, Judy Benke, along with another Friend-of-Matt Monica (John) Nunes and a cast of usual suspects, who take time serving on the LIRS board of directors, now effectively promotes amnesty of illegal aliens? The collusion between the Harrison Administration, the CTCR, and Rev. Dr. Leopoldo Sanchez M., the author of the recent CTCR document "Immigrants Among Us," is outrageous not merely because it serves as a clear example of putting theology in the service of liberal social politics, but also because the report admits that its findings are not based on sound, time-tested Lutheran principles of biblical interpretation!

    There is something deeply wrong here, and I'll give you a hint what is the problem: It has everything to do with different and irreconcilable beliefs within the same Synod about the Law of almighty God.

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    1. I suppose it is the "same old same old" notion that it is more important to maintain some kind of rocky peace within the LCMS through compromise, then to maintain a sound Biblical assurance of God's presence among us.

      Steve Harris
      Head Elder and Subdeacon
      Saint Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church
      Kewanee, Illinois

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    2. Dear bioetike (whoever you are), I suggest you read the piece more carefully, for you may have missed that it expresses kudos to the LCMS for withdrawing RSO status to LCFS; or perhaps you simply chose this opportunity to go on a tangential rant. The LCMS is manifestly not cooperating with LCFS, at least not now, not here. Let's at least give credit where credit is due.

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    3. Are the other assertions of "Bioethike" correct concerning homosexual marriage, the Boy Scouts USA and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service?

      Steve Harris
      Head Elder and Subdeacon
      Saint Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church
      Kewanee, Illinois

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    4. Thanks, my May 8 reply was based on "Bioethike's" May 7 reply.

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    5. Hey, Rev. Paul Mc Cain, where did you go (again)?

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  3. You can't disobey the Word under cover of "mercy". Why is this so hard to understand?

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  4. Practical question. What is one to do when seeking to adopt? My wife and I were just about finished with the mountain of paperwork at LCFS-IL to be ready and waiting for a child to adopt when we found out that we were (somewhat surprisingly) pregnant. Our child is officially old enough that we can be considered for adoption again (1 year+) and were planning on starting the process over again once school lets out. What would be your recommendation? Are there other agencies that do Godly work? Are we in a "better of two evils" situation now?

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  5. John Gore, you *can* disobey God's Law if you are no longer under it. Such is the view of neo-Lutherans, those who have succumbed to Kant's philosophical influence. For neo-Lutherans, the Law's only uses are curb and mirror. "Christian freedom," then, becomes Kant's autonomy (baptized with copious Luther quotations), whereby we make our own laws, having been curbed and mirrored.

    In short, Luther, Melancthon, Chemnitz, Gerhard, Walther, share Pieper share one view of the Law (the biblical/confessional view), while neo-Lutherans have another view of the Law, identifying it (essentially, that is, according to its essence) with God's wrath or with our subjective feelings of terror and guilt.

    Neo-Lutherans suffer "category confusion," but they're unaware that they do.

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  6. R in RSO is 'recognized', not 'religious' FWIW per http://www.lcms.org/rso#whatisrso

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  7. Hey Heath,

    Good post that provided excellent conversation between my wife and I as well as devotional material for our family this morning. The day is rapidly approaching (and is here already) when the post-Constantinian church must choose between Jesus Christ or Caesar. Come quickly Lord Jesus...

    Mike Weider

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    1. Hey Mike,

      Good to hear from you! This post was from our esteemed Chief Editor and Head Honcho, Rev. Dr. Fritz Eckardt...but yes, it's a good one :)

      +HRC

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    2. Although Herr Doktor is a far FAR more educated and highly articulate version of the man I would like to be...and though vehse is, ahhh, not on my list of recipients when I send out my "Saint Mary Ever Virgin" cards on all four of the Marian Holy Days which I celebrate...I gotta give a big "Thumbs Up" to Brother Rick on his "minions from hell" comment. I concur. See, hyper-euros and Voter-Supremacists can find common ground

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