Says repeal will inhibit military chaplains
ST. LOUIS, December 17, 2010—Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), sent the following e-mail message to LCMS pastors and commissioned ministers today in response to the U.S. Senate’s pending vote on the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:
“In a surprising turn of events in the waning days of the current Congress, the effort to repeal the U.S. military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy has gained new momentum with the announcement today of support from Republican senators Scott Brown (Mass.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Olympia Snowe (Maine). The repeal may be voted on in the Senate as early as tomorrow. For a number of reasons, we encourage you to let your elected leaders know that The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has a clear biblical position on this important issue.
“In terms of our spirituality, we are all alike sinners (Rom. 3:9ff.) in need of repentance and forgiveness. For 2,000 years the church has welcomed sinners, but refused to affirm sin. The saving grace of Jesus Christ and His Gospel are for all people (2 Cor. 5:19), and the only thing that separates us from this forgiveness is a lack of repentance or sorrow over our sin. We believe the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy will sorely inhibit our military chaplains’ ability to call all sinners to repentance.
“If the government normalizes homosexual behavior in our military branches—a behavior that we believe God’s Word identifies as intrinsically sinful (Rom. 1:26ff)—the implications are profound. Military chaplains striving to carry out their responsibilities for preaching, counseling, and consoling will find themselves under the strain of having to question whether to obey God or men (Acts 5:29).
“Lastly, we express our concern as citizens that a move by the government to essentially affirm homosexual behavior within the armed forces will endanger the morale or esprit de corps—the unit cohesion and the primary mission of the military, namely, to prosecute and win the war—of the men and women who serve and willingly place themselves in harm’s way on our behalf.
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we urge you to share this message today with your colleagues, congregational members, and any others whom you believe would benefit from it and be moved to contact their government representatives.
“For more information on this issue, see The Lutheran Study Bible, Page 1911, on Romans 1.
“God bless you.
“Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
“Dr. Mark J. Schreiber,
CAPT, CHC, USN, (Ret.)
Director, LCMS World Mission’s Ministry to the Armed Forces”