FORT WAYNE, IN (CTS)—On Thursday, February 16, 2012, several clergy members were invited to respond to the Health and Human Services (HHS) recent mandate requiring employers to provide access to health insurance that covers most forms of birth control, as well as drugs that induce abortion. Click here to read a response to the mandate from the faculty of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.
The Rev. John T. Pless, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, accompanied Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, to Washington D.C. as he testified in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concerning the mandate.
“The HHS health care plan over reaches the divide of separation of church and state and President Harrison did a wonderful job of articulating our Synod's opposition to the HHS policy on the basis of the Lutheran understanding of the Two Kingdoms,” commented Prof. Pless. “Lutherans have no choice but to resist this intrusion of the government into the internal life of religious communities. Rehearsing LCMS contributions to the welfare of our nation, Harrison noted that the HHS would impair this involvement to the detriment of our nation's citizens.”
In a previous statement President Harrison said, “This action by HHS will have the effect of forcing many religious organizations to choose between following the letter of the law and operating within the framework of their religious tenets. We add our voice to the long list of those championing for the continued ability to act according to the dictates of their faith, and provide compassionate care and clear Christian witness to society's most vulnerable, without being discriminated against by government."
CTS President, Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr., acknowledges this issue will certainly affect the seminary’s students as they prepare to minister to those in need across the world. Further, he stated, “We Americans have been blessed from our beginnings with freedom from government intrusion into our religious expression. We deeply appreciate the firm stand and bold witness of President Harrison and look forward to a continuing partnership with the President’s Office as we address matters crucial to the church and its mission.”