LCMS legislator votes for homosexual “marriage”; DP opposes bill (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

March 4th, 2013 Post by

An Illinois state senator who is a member of an LCMS congregation last month voted in favor of a bill that would legalize homosexual “marriage” in the state. Illinois Democrat Andy Manar is the legislator whose vote helped the bill pass the Senate. Manar is a a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Bunker Hill, a congregation in the Southern Illinois District of the LCMS.

Meanwhile, the president of the Southern Illinois District, the Rev. Timothy Scharr, has written an open letter upholding the biblical and synodical stance against homosexual behavior and thus opposing the bill.

These developments are covered in an article that appeared today in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and its website,, “Illinois gay marriage debate is splitting parties, churches”. Below are some relevant excerpts from the article:

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As Illinois edges toward legalizing same-sex marriage, the debate is dividing partisan, religious and even racial allies. . . .

And in Southern Illinois, a Lutheran state senator’s “yes” vote has rocked his church’s congregation, prompting a letter from an official of his denomination.

“We … feel compelled to express our Synod’s stance on same-sex marriage and the negative consequences that this bill will have on society,” the Rev. Timothy J. Scharr of Belleville, district president for Southern Illinois in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, wrote in the open letter. “Homosexual behavior is prohibited in the Old and New Testaments as contrary to the Creator’s design.” . . .

Sen. Andy Manar, a central Illinois Democrat, supported the bill on the Senate floor along with most of his party — only to get an earful when he returned home and went to church.

Manar’s district takes in a wide, rural swath of the state just northeast of the Metro East area, where sentiment is strongly against same-sex marriage. But it also takes in largely urban sections of Springfield and Decatur.

“This was a vote that I struggled with,” Manar told The State Journal-Register newspaper in Springfield.

Manar’s fellow members of Zion Lutheran Church in Bunker Hill, about 40 miles from St. Louis, also struggled with it after learning he had voted “yes.”

“There were some hard feelings. We didn’t agree on it,” said Michele Weidner, a member of the church, which is under the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. “We just want our church to re-emphasize God’s law as far as same-sex marriage is concerned.”

She and other church members pressed the church for a more firm statement against it. They got it, in the form of a letter from Scharr, the synod’s district president, reiterating the church’s stance that homosexuality is “intrinsically sinful” and that marriage by definition is between a man and a woman.

Church member Kevin Weidner, Michele’s husband, insisted the issue was not an attack on Manar.

“Andy is a friend of mine. (He and his family) are good people. It’s basically a fight on an issue,” Weidner said. “It has created quite a stir, but you hear both sides and then you calm down.”

Manar last week responded to questions about the church conflict with a written statement, noting he has been a member for almost 30 years. “I welcome any member of my church and community to visit with me regarding this issue,” he wrote.

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Also, here is the letter written by Southern Illinois District President Timothy Scharr:

To All Illinois Citizens,

On Feb. 14 the Illinois State Senate passed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois. This bill is now being considered in the House. We as members of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod congregations (LCMS) feel compelled to express our Synod’s stance on same-sex marriage and the negative consequences that this bill will have on society.

Homosexual behavior is prohibited in the Old and New Testaments (Lev. 18:22, 24; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6: 9-20; 1 Tim. 1:10) as contrary to the Creator’s design (Rom. 1: 26-27). The LCMS affirms that homosexuality is “intrinsically sinful” and that on the basis of Scripture, marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2: 2-24; Matt. 19: 5-6). It also urges its members “to give a public witness from Scripture against the social acceptance and legal recognition of homosexual marriage” (2004 Res. 3-05A). At the same time, the Synod firmly believes that “the redeeming love of Christ, which rescues humanity from sin, death, and the power of Satan, is offered to all through repentance and faith in Christ, regardless of the nature of their sinfulness”.

Some supporters of the bill rationalize their vote because of an amendment added that prevents churches from having to perform same-sex marriages. This does nothing to protect individual families, schools, hospitals, and other organizations from the negative repercussions associated with it. Examples of these serious repercussions can be found in the “What same-sex marriage has done to Massachusetts” booklet comprised by the Illinois Family Institute (IFI). A downloadable version of this booklet can be found at One example in the booklet states that because same-sex marriage is “legal,” federal judges have ruled that the schools now have a duty to portray homosexual relationships as normal to children, despite what parents think or believe.

We urge everyone to please contact their State House Representative and ask them to vote ‘No’ for the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.

Rev. Timothy J. Scharr and Concerned LCMS members

Belleville, IL

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  1. helen
    October 23rd, 2013 at 08:04 | #1

    @fws #46
    That’s what I hear you saying. Or what you say Jesus is saying.
    What am I missing?

    Mark 10:1-10 apparently. “Jesus said, “What did Moses command you?”

    And remember that Moses occasionally did things that God did NOT command, and was kept out of the Promised Land for it, along with the rest of the rebellious.

    @Bill #49
    No-fault divorce as legislated in the United States allows both parties to terminate a marriage without any wrongdoing on either part.

    The wrong doing, from the Christian’s POV, is the divorce, in that unlikely case. See Mark above.

  2. helen
    October 23rd, 2013 at 08:14 | #2

    @Bill #49
    My cousin who lives in Arizona, married with one young child has decided he does not want to put up with his wife any longer and has separated and will be filling for divorce.

    Your cousin, besides creating a special kind of hell for his young child, may have the next bed lined up, if he isn’t already sleeping in it. [If he stays unmarried, I will withdraw the comment with an apology.] But that isn’t the way the world goes as I have experienced it.

    No-fault divorce laws clearly attach [attacks?] the biblical institution of marriage in that it turns marriage from a commitment “until God do us apart” to a commitment “while I see a benefit for myself”.

    That statement is 100% correct in my experience.

    (But stay at home Moms are likely to be the victims.)

  3. Jais H. Tinglund
    October 23rd, 2013 at 10:10 | #3

    @helen #1

    helen :
    And remember that Moses occasionally did things that God did NOT command, and was kept out of the Promised Land for it, along with the rest of the rebellious.

    That is a correct observation, Helen. However, as it stands in Holy Scripture, the command that a man who divorces his wife give her a certificate to that effect (thus protecting her against accusations for being the one terminating the marriage) is part of the Law God gave Moses. And it would be problematic in so many ways to dismiss it as something Moses injected without divine authorisation ….
    I think the best way to understand this is to look at the social legislation in the Law as provisions for Israel’s life as a nation (Luther talked about the “*Sachsenspiegel* of the Jews”, comparing it to the laws of Saxony), and thus as expressions of God’s permissive will rather than His actual intent. I think the words of our Lord Jesus in that regard point in that direction – as I briefly outlined it above …

  4. Bill
    October 23rd, 2013 at 11:14 | #4

    Pastor Ted Crandall :

    Bill :
    Pastor Ted

    Have we been properly introduced?

    , it seems to me that you have not heard or understood what I said.

    My friends at ALPB often noted my lack of nuance and sophistication when it came to discerning distinctions with no difference.

    Now and this is what you don’t seem to get, with regard to how the government deals with sodomy this is an entirely political issue, and it has zero bearing to theology.

    You speak of “the government,” but I am speaking of a soul who claims to be a member of an LCMS congregation while publicly endorsing sodomy.

    Furthermore as a pastor it is none of your business to take a political stance on how the State ought to regulate sodomy when you are speaking from the church pulpit or from your office as pastor.

    Where is this written?
    Using your “logic” a Christian in the days of Nero could publicly endorse the feeding of Christians to the lions…

    If you like politics, get involved in it but please leave the LCMS out of it.

    Just out of curiosity, do you give liberals the same advice, when they are, for instance, making it a matter of conscience to support Obamacare?

    Pastor Ted:

    1) I can not believe that you truly think that Senator Andy Manar endorses sodomy. He is an LCMS member in good standing and I read his pastor recommended that others vote for him. I am sure Senator Manar hates the sin of sodomy as much as you and I do. That he voted to legalize same sex marriage does not mean that he doesn’t consider it is an abomination to have homosexual relations. Do you think that everybody that thinks legalizing marijuana favours pot smoking? Of course not. Do you think that those legislators that legalize tobacco at the beginning of the 20th century after the prohibition period are saying smoking cigarettes is OK? Of course not. I hate smoking (never put a cigarette in my mouth) and hate marijuana (never in my life had it) with a passion, yet I favour laws that would legalize both the sale of cigarettes and the sale of marijuana. A christian can have a libertarian (free market) attitude towards cigarettes and marijuana while hating the habits of smoking and marijuana drug consumption as I do. I hate the sin of sodomy more than any other sin maybe, since the bible condemns the practices of Sodom and Gomorrah and also Romans 1 is so clear, and yet I can still favour legislation that legalizes homosexual marriage. Though personally I have to admit, I am not a politician and I am not sure how I would vote on the issue. But I certainly would respect those brothers in Christ that have trusted in Him alone for salvation, if they so choose to vote in favour of legalizing homosexual marriage.

    2) I give liberals the same advice. I would tell a liberal to never use the pulpit to promote Obamacare or even any policy that helps the poor. A liberal pastor has no business promoting his political views from the pulpit, and neither does a conservative one. Both need to join political parties, but the church should not take a position whether liberal or conservative politics are right for the country. The church should welcome in its membership both liberals and conservatives. You would be shocked to know that in Canada we have free health care, every citizen of the country, and everybody here loves it. I vote conservative in Canada, but the conservative party in Canada like every other political party in Canada, supports universal free health care for every man, woman, and child. All get the same quality health care, whether rich or poor. Obamacare is not liberal, in the US you are allowed to purchase private health insurance, and the rich get better health coverage than the poor. In Canada private health insurance is banned by law, all hospitals and medical doctors are paid by the state. The state treats exactly the same a billionaire and a homeless person when it comes to health care. Health care in Canada does not cost a billionaire or a homeless person one penny.

    3) With regard to feeding christians to the lions or in cases like Hitler’s holocaust or in cases of mandatory abortion (like China where you are only allowed to have one child and the State forces you to abort a second child or abort females from what I heard) or in cases where we are prohibited to preach the gospel. Well in these cases where the State forces a christian to sin, then we have to obey God rather than man as the apostle Peter said, and it is perfectly fine from a biblical perspective to refuse to obey state laws. It is actually commanded to christians to obey God rather than man, in cases where a christian is mandated to sin by the government.

  5. Bill
    October 23rd, 2013 at 12:06 | #5

    Helen, you have it backwards.

    1) The civil law was given to Moses by God. But the civil law of Israel was designed by God for a theocracy. Jesus Christ abolished the jewish civil law, this is why he told the pharisees to stop stoning an adulteress in accordance with Moses civil law. Jesus was clear, his Kingdom is not of this world, Jesus did not come to give laws to the Government on how it ought to run the country.

    2) No-fault Divorces in today’s society are not the result of adultery but the cause of adultery. My cousin has nobody lined up, he is a Phd in Physics and works as an Engineer. He is happily single and not interested in women for now. His wife was a bitter domineering woman that verbally abused him and he got tired of her, Most divorcees do not even date while they go through their divorce or when it is just finished. Divorce precedes adultery and actually causes it as Jesus taught. If anybody divorces and subsequently gets married, he commits adultery and also causes his former spouse to commit adultery if he / she remarries. Luke 16:18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” And Matthew 19:9 “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” See how Jesus shows that divorcing from a spouse is the engine, the cause of adultery. Most divorces are not because of fornication of the spouse, but are the cause of subsequent fornication as a result of the divorce. Most people when they divorced, they are traumatized and want to heal the wound and stay alone, they don’t jump into bed with somebody else (commit fornication) right away.

  6. helen
    October 23rd, 2013 at 12:23 | #6

    @Bill #4
    In Canada private health insurance is banned by law, all hospitals and medical doctors are paid by the state. The state treats exactly the same a billionaire and a homeless person when it comes to health care.

    Yes, except those who can afford it come to the United States for serious operations because the schedule would have them waiting for surgery in Canada until after they were dead or seriously disabled. :(

    We have one program for the majority and another for Congress and the Executive, who are increasingly “exempt” from the laws they pass for the rest of us. If Obamacare is so good, let’s see Obama’s family signed up for it… providing they can get through the web site!

  7. October 23rd, 2013 at 14:11 | #7

    @Bill #4

    I do apologize to all here for prolonging the agony…

  8. helen
    October 23rd, 2013 at 19:34 | #8
  9. Randy
    October 23rd, 2013 at 22:02 | #9

    @Pastor Ted Crandall #7

    I don’t care who you are, that’s pretty funny right there!

  10. Quasicelsus
    October 24th, 2013 at 14:00 | #10

    @Pastor Ted Crandall #7
    i laughed out loud at your response to the the language sensitivity, and i’m grateful for that. it was funny, and i didn’t think it was directed at me, and i still felt i was being heard.

    as for your parrot, if that was directed at me – unless we knew each other so well we could rib each other, i’d be incredibly offended, and emotionally hurt as well. one of the primary problems is that i’d still be holding on to potential spiritual errors. there’s no teaching, just handwaving. there’s no iron sharpening iron. there’s no law or gospel. there’s just ridicule. even paul saying that impurity is not to be tolerated doesn’t count as a 2×4 or a handwaving, it’s still an instruction, and it’s not a verse in isolation. you are given an opportunity to teach and instruct in these articles, even if the topic falls off course. even an invitation to speak privately or directing to a pastor well versed in a specific issue would be useful and build others up in the faith.

    i could be wrong.

    if someone wants to open an article on obamacare and why that’s morally, spiritually, or in some other way wrong, i’d love to hear it. i know several people personal who are going to be able to be treated for life threatening problems, that would otherwise be bankrupt without it.

    i don’t think obamacare is the answer for america, but it’s the answer for several americans i know.

  11. Nicholas
    December 17th, 2013 at 22:45 | #11

    Dear Gary,

    I apologize for and retract my comments on this thread.

  12. gary
    December 18th, 2013 at 00:38 | #12

    @Nicholas #11

    Dear Brother Nicholas,

    Thank you for this comment. I too ask for your forgiveness. I lost my temper in the heat of debate and should have spoken to you with brotherly compassion instead of anger.

    God bless you for having the courage to post your comment.

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