About 250 people gathered downtown Fort Wayne today. They were members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. They rallied around Bishop Kevin Rhoades in opposition to a department of health and human services mandate that they say violates their teachings.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri synod says they view this particular mandate as an assault on religious freedom. The mandate is requiring religious institutions to cover certain contraceptive services that they say are against their beliefs.
About 250 Lutheran Church members and leaders departed from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church to march over to the Roman Catholic cathedral in downtown Fort Wayne.
They say they are marching to show solidarity with Catholics. St. Paul’s pastor says all persons of faith should be concerned.
“We wanted to show that even though we’re not Roman Catholic, as fellow Christians and American citizens concerned about any kind of erosion of our religious liberty.”
St. Paul’s encouraged area congregations to write letters of support to the catholic bishop, Kevin Rhoades. Some letters came from congregations as far away as Iowa. Rhoades was presented with the letters at today’s event. “When each of the pastors and representatives came up with the letters of support I was really overwhelmed,” he says.
Lutherans and Catholics have their differences when it comes to contraception. Catholic doctrine says contraceptives are unacceptable. The Lutheran Church-Missouri synod teaches that human life begins at conception but they’re not necessarily against birth control. Both groups are anti-abortion. Both groups agree that they’re against the morning-after pill.
“This act of coercion by the department of health and human services is an actual violation of our religious freedom and very dangerous for the future of our society.”
Bishop Rhoades says he wants people of all faiths to follow the lead of the Lutheran Church and join the fight against this mandate.