From the February 18, 2012, edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
But on Thursday afternoon in Washington, the Rev. Matthew Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, told a panel of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives that the St. Louis-based denomination “stand(s) with our friends in the Catholic Church” in opposition to a recent government ruling on contraception.
The Missouri Synod has not traditionally embraced the notion of pluralism, at least when it comes to what the church calls “altar and pulpit fellowship.” But in an interview Friday, Harrison, who lives in Ballwin with his family, made it clear that the Missouri Synod has “large consensus with the Roman Catholic Church on moral issues.”
“The Christian church is a billion times beyond the Missouri Synod,” Harrison said. “Without the Roman Catholic Church in this country, our way would be infinitely more difficult.”
Harrison’s goal Thursday, he said, was to tell Congress to “get the federal government out of matters of conscience for religious people, particularly in life issues where there’s long-standing moral and ethical church precedent.”
But he also wanted to drive home the intense feeling of alienation that, he said, conservative people of faith feel under the Obama administration. He said he would rather go to jail than comply with even the modified mandate, and that he would “give up my sons to fight” for the First Amendment.
On Friday, he explained those comments: “We’ve laid down our blood to have a free exercise of religion in this country and will continue to do so.”
Harrison told the committee of the charitable work of the Missouri Synod and its members, calling the church “a machine which produces good citizens for this country, and at tremendous personal cost.”
The members of his church “work, pay taxes, are charitable and responsible, take care of their children, participate in their communities and government, and serve in military,” Harrison said. “The state should be interested in religion for this purpose: We produce good citizens. So stop attacking us. We are in every way a blessing for this country. We feel attacked for our fundamental convictions as if we’re a detriment to our country. And that is a lie.”
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