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, stltoday.com, “Illinois gay marriage debate is splitting parties, churches”. Below are some relevant excerpts from the article:

– – – – – – – – – –

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.

– – – – – – – – – –

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 www.massresistance.org. 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. Billium
    August 26th, 2014 at 14:39 | #1

    @Jais H. Tinglund #48
    I think you know I’m talking about an individual – gay or straight – being able to marry any other adult who is able to give consent, and not claiming that gays didn’t have the right to marry anyone. Incidentally, at one time people used religion to make interracial marriage illegal, but civil rights quashed those objections to it.
    And the fact of the matter is, the government of the United States is secular, and not based on the Bible. It’s rather a matter of how the Bible guides us in running our government in regard to our consciences.

  2. Jais H. Tinglund
    August 26th, 2014 at 14:55 | #2

    An arrangement different from a marriage is not a marriage – even if entered into by consenting adults …

    Billium :
    Incidentally, at one time people used religion to make interracial marriage illegal, but civil rights quashed those objections to it.

    At one time some people did; and in the context of what this conversation is about, that observation clearly proves … what, exactly?

    Billium :
    And the fact of the matter is, the government of the United States is secular, and not based on the Bible.

    Even though that is true, it is not the fact of this matter.

    Billium :
    It’s rather a matter of how the Bible guides us in running our government in regard to our consciences.

    What is?

  3. Billium
    August 26th, 2014 at 15:30 | #3

    The definition of marriage in the secular state is not necessarily the same as it is in the sacred. If the people or their representatives, or the courts who interpret the law, believe that marriage can include same sex consenting adults, then that’s that. But no one is saying that the LCMS has to accept gay marriage within the walls of our churches. No one is saying that you as an individual has to like it. Just as both you and I know there is no salvation outside of Christ, but we still live in a country where even Non-Christian religions are given freedom to worship.
    As for my point of interracial marriage – it had been argued, as in the case of gay marriage, that people found it objectionable for religious reasons (or at least that had been their public rationale), yet the rights of individuals overrode those alleged religious objections. Like it or not, gay marriage is going to be the law of the land. We have to learn to live with it just like those good ol’ boy crackers had to get along with interracial marriage being the law of the land.
    As far as the last point you had brought up concerning my last post – I was thinking more long the lines of the Bible guiding us on a personal basis rather than collectively as a national government – sorry if I was unclear.

  4. Jais H. Tinglund
    August 26th, 2014 at 15:53 | #4

    Billium:
    The definition of marriage in the secular state is not necessarily the same as it is in the sacred.
    My response:
    Again, I am approaching this exclusively under the perspective of natural law – and the doctrine of the two kingdoms. What is “sacred” and what is not has nothing to do with anything – in this context.

    Billium:
    But no one is saying that the LCMS has to accept gay marriage within the walls of our churches.
    My response:
    I am not sure that “no one” is saying that, even if there is not yet legislation on the table to that effect – and I believe “yet” would be the operative term here.
    Although it was made clear at the second inauguration of the current President that, as far as the government concerns, any Pastor upholding a Biblical/natural understanding of marriage is persona non grata.

    I am not sure, either, that I am comfortable with your equating Christians encouraging legislation that honours natural law with the “good ol’ boy crackers” who – contrary to natural law as well as Holy Scripture – opposed interracial marriage.

    Actually, truth be told, I find it rather offensive …

  5. August 26th, 2014 at 16:31 | #5

    Billium :
    @Nicholas #46
    But in the civil realm, everyone must have equal rights in this country, even gays. Again, I go back to the doctrine of the two kingdoms.
    If we were to excommunicate every elected leader for supporting a stand contrary to scripture, a whole lot of conservative and libertarian Republicans should then be ousted from the church for cutting programs for the poor, disabled, and for the children of people in need, while giving tax breaks to the rich, as well as protection from prosecution for multiple crimes, and even personhood to corporations. After all, I recall the Bible always taking the side of those in need.

    “Billium,”

    Do you recall the Bible taking the side of sodomy?

    Did the ELCA or ALPB send you over here?

    Seriously.

  6. Jais H. Tinglund
    August 27th, 2014 at 12:25 | #6

    John Rixe :
    @Jais H. Tinglund #48
    Pr Tinglund:  Should his congregation excommunicate Senator Manar for his vote?

    I think I owe you a little more by way of an answer.

    I do not believe Senator Manar should be excommunicated for his vote.

    To impose Church Discipline in the interest of a political goal, however good and godly in itself, would be an abominable abuse, a Second Command violation, and probably a whole lot of other things that I cannot come to think of right now.

    Whether Senator Manor should be excommunicated would depend on whether or not he is in a spiritual situation from which he needs to be rescued and restored by means of Church discipline, for the sake of his salvation.

    This would be for his Pastor to determine through conversation with Senator Manor. From such conversation an assessment should be made as to where Senator Manor stands with regards to the faith; a such assessment would not only consider his willingness to vote differently, but also his reasonings for voting as he does, as well as his attitude to admonition.

    The crucial question is whether Senator Manor is, in fact, in a state of disobedience to and deliberate disregard for the Word of God, and thus rebellion against the faith.

    And this would be something other than having failed to fully understand some aspects of the so-called doctrine of the two kingdoms (I prefer the term “realms” to “kingdoms” – and I believe it is a much more accurate translation).
    Misconceptions in that regard are held by many – including those who would argue that whenever a politician does not vote to outlaw ungodliness in the civil realm, the should be excommunicated!

    For the congregation, of course, it might be a concern that Senator Manor’s vote might be doing damage to the congregation or its reputation.
    Whether or not this can justifiedly be said to be the case would, I believe, really depend on many factors, such as how Senator Manor conducts himself, the testimony presented in his public statements, and to which degree his church membership is part of his public image, and to which degree his politics affect the congregation.
    Whether or not any damaging effects of Senator Manor’s political views and activities should lead to excommunication would, again, depend on his stance towards the faith and the Word of God, whether or not he himself needs to be rescued and restored through Church Discipline.

    And most likely, this will be evident from his attitude to godly admonition …

  7. Paul of Alexandria
    August 27th, 2014 at 12:29 | #7

    @Billium #47
    If we were to excommunicate every elected leader for supporting a stand contrary to scripture, a whole lot of conservative and libertarian Republicans should then be ousted from the church for cutting programs for the poor, disabled, and for the children of people in need, while giving tax breaks to the rich, as well as protection from prosecution for multiple crimes, and even personhood to corporations.

    The problem is that you’re taking a purely Progressive view of “helping those in need.” In reality, conservatives and Christians have found that public programs for the poor, disabled, etc cause more problems than they solve, primarily through creating dependency on the government. Private charitable organizations do a far better job, and care more about the souls of those helped. Simply issuing a blanket condemnation of conservatives for “not caring about the poor” is simply false.

  8. August 27th, 2014 at 13:00 | #8

    Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help, And How to Reverse It

    “Veteran urban activist Robert Lupton reveals the shockingly toxic effects that modern charity has upon the very people meant to benefit from it. Toxic Charity provides proven new models for charitable groups who want to help—not sabotage—those whom they desire to serve. Lupton, the founder of FCS Urban Ministries (Focused Community Strategies) in Atlanta, the voice of the Urban Perspectives newsletter, and the author of Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life, has been at the forefront of urban ministry activism for forty years.”

  9. Jais Tinglund
    August 27th, 2014 at 13:22 | #9

    I do not want to open the door to a poltical discussion (and it might be too late for that anyway, since the door seems to have opened already) – but …
    I am not entirely concinced that one needs to be taking a purely Progressive view of “helping those in need” to suspect that looking out for one’s own interest is every bit as much a motivator in Conservative politics as is charity and concern for those in need, and, in fact, more so ….

  10. John Rixe
    August 27th, 2014 at 16:54 | #10

    @Jais H. Tinglund #6

    Thanks for your good answer and for reminding us that the purpose of excommunication is to promote repentence, rescue and restoration.

  11. fws
    August 27th, 2014 at 20:23 | #11

    @Ted Crandall #5

    The bible did not take the side of divorce. so we excommunicate our officials who dont push to outlaw it (except for biblical reasons…)?
    The bible outlaws false doctrine. So we vote against anyone who is not lcms lutheran (after, of course, we quiz them doctrinally)?

    I think maybe you are asking the wrong question?

    men and women can vote for alot of things that they would personally be opposed to… legalization and regulation of alcohol, drugs, prostitution or maybe even polygamy in some countries. How would this be an excommunicatable offense pastor?

    mormons are as squeeky clean family values and as moral as they come. and… they are raising children to grow up believing satanic, immoral, godless doctrines so that they truly hate God and are opposed to the one faith. Isn’t this really the greatest of sins that the Bible calls out as the greatest of all sins? The Origin of all sin in fact..idolatry? The Original Sin?

    so aren’t you worked up over symptomatic sins , and by so doing, distracting from the one thing that will truly end sin forever?

  12. fws
    August 27th, 2014 at 20:25 | #12

    @Ted Crandall #8

    that’s a broad brush. Good men can disagree on alot of this eh? Is it good for those here who identify as pastors to take a public stand on any of this? you are speaking AS a pastor here. and condemning adiaphora maybe?

  13. fws
    August 27th, 2014 at 20:39 | #13

    @Jais H. Tinglund #48

    just as rome argues that your marriage is only a “marriage” since roman marriage is a “sacrament.” so you can add your own marriage to that of the unicorns. In a pluralistic society, that is how it works. you are “married”.

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