Free Exercise -- So Exercise Freely!
We thank God for the freedom He gives us in our country. We thank Him for those who paid such a high cost to protect and preserve this freedom. We thank Him for the freedom of religion and the freedom to exercise our religious beliefs.
Given recent events, please join Lutherans For Life (LFL) this Fourth of July in praying particularly for the preservation of this latter freedom. As you know, the Department Health and Human Services (HHS) mandated that religious institutions provide benefits that cover contraception even if contrary to their religious beliefs. The First Amendment prohibits the government from making laws “respecting establishment of religion” and making laws “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The HHS mandate clearly violates this latter prohibition.
LFL concurs with and endorses the recently published letter, “Free Exercise of Religion Putting Belief into Practice.” You may read this document here. A noteworthy cross section of religious leaders signed this document including several from Lutheran denominations. Please share this letter with others.
Protesting the incursion of government into the free exercise of our religious beliefs should also provide impetus for us to freely exercise our religious beliefs! That means, for example, that pastors and congregations have the freedom to speak about the life issues in their churches and from their pulpits. Because the life issues like abortion or euthanasia attack our religious beliefs regarding the God-given sanctity of human life, we are compelled to exercise this freedom. LFL provides all kinds of “exercise equipment” to aid congregations in doing so. We also provide “coaching” in the use of this equipment through the establishment of Life Teams and Life Advocates in congregations through Renewal For Life.
Having said all of this, we need, above all else, to thank God for the freedom He gives in Jesus Christ. Referencing the sometimes public reproach and affliction of his readers, the writer to the Hebrews says, “you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (10:34b ESV).
Should all our religious freedoms be plundered, we possess an abiding freedom that cannot be infringed upon or taken away. In Jesus, God sets us free from sin’s punishment, Satan’s power, and death’s sting.
Rejoice in this freedom.
Live in this freedom.
Freely exercise this freedom.