Christian Citizenship

Living as Christian Citizens in the Here and Now

God our Creator instituted government to be a means by which He preserves and orders life among fallen human beings. Government belongs to His kingdom of power. The governmental realm is to be distinguished from that of the church. Governments are instituted not to save souls, but to uphold order and provide justice. God’s Word teaches that government is to reward the one who does good and to punish the evildoer (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17).
 
In the United States, Christians as citizens have many opportunities to do good in the governmental realm.  Not only do individual Christian citizens pay taxes; we can also seek elected office and vote. We may participate in voluntary associations such as service clubs, civic improvement organizations, and political parties. We can let our views be known to our neighbors, government officials and others.

By applying moral principle to public and political issues, we make a crucial contribution to maintaining justice and freedom in our communities and in our country. This stands out as an important responsibility, one for Christian citizens to take soberly and prayerfully.

We sing, “God bless our native land.” One of the ways for Him to do so is through His people, as we act in our capacity as citizens.

 


October 2022

Illinois House bill 5779 would classify the creation and obliteration of human embryos as a fundamental right for residents of this state. This bill was introduced in August. It could come up for consideration at the Illinois legislature’s veto session which will be held Nov. 15-17 and Nov. 29-Dec. 1. It could also come to the floor at a “lame duck” session of the legislature, which will be attended by present lawmakers on Jan. 4-11, prior to the start of the new legislative session at noon on Jan. 11.

The bill would amend the state’s so-called Reproductive Health Act. This act currently assures Illinois residents on-demand abortions. The pending bill would add the classification of assisted reproductive technology as a fundamental right for adults in Illinois. Assisted reproductive technology includes in vitro fertilization and a number of other techniques that aim to create children outside of the normal biological way. The bill would also prohibit Illinois from regulating the storage and destruction of embryos. For additional information on the bill, see the article at https://thefederalist.com/2022/10/25/illinois-bill-would-allow-residents-to-manufacture-unlimited-embryos-and-destroy-them-all/

Click here to read more.


June 2022

On Friday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed its decision in the 1973 Roe vs. Wade case. In its new ruling, the court did not outlaw abortion nationwide, but it did hold that the Roe decision was wrong to assert a legal protection for abortion nationwide under the U.S. constitution. The effect of this ruling is to return lawmaking concerning abortion to the individual states.

We give thanks to God that lives of untold numbers of unborn babies will be saved in states that will now legislate against abortion. We also face the grim fact that Illinois has been positioning itself to become an “abortion destination,” particularly in the Midwest. Clearly, there is much to be done to defend the weak and defenseless here in our state.

We repent of our own carelessness over these matters, and we ask for the help as well as the forgiveness of our good and gracious God as we move into the future. Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

For a statement by LCMS President Pastor Matthew Harrison concerning the Supreme Court decision, click here.

For a statement from LCMS Life Ministry upon the Supreme Court’s announcement of its decision, click here.

For a look at a joint letter from the presidents of the Missouri, Wisconsin, and Evangelical Lutheran (“Little Norwegian”) Synods to the U.S. Attorney General concerning threats and possible violence to pro-life organizations, click here.


February 2022

House Bill 5162, scheduled for hearing in the House State Government Administration Committee on Feb. 16, would prohibit Illinois from expending or investing any “public funds in any organization, nonprofit organization, religious organization, or any other entity that performs conversion therapy.” “Conversion therapy” in Illinois is defined as “any practices or treatments that seek to change an individual's sexual orientation, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings towards individuals of the same sex.

The wording on the face of it is serious enough. Broadly interpreted, it might mean be construed to include a pastor, teacher, counselor, etc. even telling someone – or a whole group such as a class or a congregation – that homosexual behavior is wrong.

Advocates for religious schools are concerned that this bill, if adopted, could affect Invest in Kids and other funding that religious schools receive in Illinois. It could conceivably have an effect on the tax-exempt status of churches and other religious organizations.

This bill bears close scrutiny. It might be disapproved at the committee level, or it could go to the House for a vote.  


January 2022

As the Illinois state legislature’s 2022 session begins, at least three issues bear watching.

One is an amendment to the state’s Health Education Act. This was proposed but not adopted in 2021. It might be reintroduced during 2022. This amendment would have required all Illinois schools to teach contraception and to offer instruction concerning two drugs for treatment and prevention of HIV. These drugs can be obtained by prescription, but without parental notification. Note that this legislation, as it was introduced in 2021, would have affected both public schools and Lutheran (and other nonpublic) schools.

Another area to watch has particular importance for nonpublic schools. This would be potential changes to the state’s school code, specifically regarding official Illinois recognition of nonpublic schools within the state. A change already made in 2021 effectively prevents these schools from prohibiting hairstyles that are associated with particular ethnicities. Going forward, the question arises: what other requirements could Illinois in effect force on nonpublic schools by threatening to refuse to recognize them? In 2021, for example, thought was given to removing such recognition if a nonpublic school had a policy that disallowed hairstyles associated with one gender or the other. That proposal may re-emerge in 2022. Others may restrict parochial schools from teaching and acting in accord with biblical teachings.

The most sweeping and fundamental changes could be proposed in the increasingly contested area of parental rights. The basic issue here is: who has the responsibility for the rearing of children? More and more in American society, the claim is being made that children belong not to their families but to the entire community, and that although parents are supposed to take care of their children, it is the role of the state – through professional educators in public schools – to shape them for the future. However, the Lutheran Confessions, recognizing the authority of parents as God’s own representatives, hold that “all authority flows and is born from the authority of parents. Where a father is unable alone to educate his child, he uses a schoolmaster to teach the child. If he is too weak, he gets the help of his friends and neighbors. If he departs this life, he delegates and confers his authority and government upon others who are appointed for this purpose” (Large Catechism I 141; Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions [second ed., CPH, 2006], 375).

Christian citizens have a responsibility to inform themselves concerning not only legislation but also legislators. Do you know how your state representative or senator voted with respect to past legislation, for example, the 2021 removal from Illinois law of the requirement to notify parents if an abortion was to be performed on their minor child? If you write your state representative or senator concerning one or more of the issues noted above, you may well get a response that tells you where this person stands on that particular subject.

For help in getting contact information on those who represent you in the Illinois legislature, the “Contact your Rep” feature of the Illinois Policy Institute can be a handy tool. (This is a recommendation only of the tool, not necessarily anything else on the Illinois Policy Institute website.) The tool can be found at https://www.illinoispolicy.org/maps/


For more information on Human Care & Christian Citizenship, contact:

Dr. Ken Schurb, Human Care Executive
LCMS Central Illinois District
1850 N. Grand Avenue West
Springfield, IL 62702-1626
(217) 793-1802
kschurb@cidlcms.org