Every week in our worship services we pray for our country, for its leaders and its citizens. God has given us many blessings in this country – especially the blessing of the freedom of religion.
The First Amendment of our Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Recently some have tried to limit the freedom of religion to that which takes place in houses of worship. But our religion is not something we do only on certain days and in certain places. Religion is not just worship. Religion also includes the way we live out our faith.
President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Matt Harrison recently said, “This ruling simply emboldens us to carry on, doing what we do best as Christians: praying, confessing the faith and living it out in our daily callings… We confess that life, which begins at conception, is a gift from God and ought to be held in the highest regard in this country. We live, knowing that the First Amendment guarantees us not only the right to worship, but also to practice our faith as Lutheran citizens of this great nation, serving our neighbor where the Lord has placed us.”
In June 2013, the president issued a mandate requiring most employers to provide contraception at no cost. Some of the methods of contraception involved destroying the fertilized egg and thus the earliest form of human life. However 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act says that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless that burden is the least restrictive means to further a compelling governmental interest.
We are thankful that the Supreme Court decided in favor of allowing citizens the right not to be involved in methods of contraception that violated their religious beliefs. We pray that our country would continue to protect our religious rights and find the right balance between individual rights and “compelling governmental interest.” (Information taken from The LCMS Reporter: “U.S. Court Supreme rules in favor of religious liberty.”)