The following statement, written by Rev. John Hill, President of the Wyoming District of the LCMS, responds to H.R. 8404, known among us as the “Disrespect for Marriage Act,” which repealed the “Defense of Marriage Act” and rejected God’s definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman for life. It is a call especially for Christians to see that the United States government is not promoting neutrality in its legislation on marriage but has instead set forth a secular and wicked religious stance, in defiance of the Creator of heaven and earth. It is also a call for us to see what a beautiful thing God’s institution of marriage is, how God means it for our good and for everyone’s good, and that it is worth fighting for, even suffering for, especially when we see this marriage is a reflection of the marriage between Christ and His Church. – The Editors
God created man as male and female and instituted marriage as the lifelong conjugal union of one man and one woman. By this design for mankind God continues to create the fruit of children, gives companionship in marriage and family, and provides help against lustful desires. God gave marriage to be the fountainhead of goods that He intends for all children and adults, for all communities, and for all churches.
These truths about marriage are not private religious opinions. The Biblical teachings on marriage are taught by nature itself. They have no particular traditional, national, ethnic, or cultural character to them. They are universal truths. They apply to all people of all places and all times. They are the foundation and source of all just civil laws for marriage and family. Every legitimate government is bound by God to promote and defend them.
H.R. 8404, “An Act to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act,” rejects this foundation for just and good laws. It proposes to repeal “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” to replace God with government and His laws with unnatural laws. It requires that lies about man’s nature and about marriage be established with favored legal status.
All legislators who voted for H.R. 8404 have publicly repudiated the works and will of the one true God. By this legislative action they have established a favored, secular religion which is openly set against the Holy Triune God. They have rejected God as the only source of just laws, that is, of justice, goodness, beauty, and every civil good. Legislators who claim that Christian doctrine permits or even requires the passage of H.R. 8404 have compounded a sinful vote with a false confession.
The governmental establishment of an unnatural, unbiblical definition of marriage does not obligate Christians to give it any faith or credence. Christian love does not permit us to live a lie. All Christians are called to confess the truth of marriage even if this law brings down civil and financial penalties on them. “We must obey God rather than men.” By upholding the lifelong, conjugal union of one man and one woman we defend God’s plan for protecting people from the loneliness, pain, and other evils that follow from the destruction of the family.
God the Father sent His Son to be born of a woman within a marriage, to be born under His eternal law. By His crucifixion and resurrection He obtained eternal redemption and life for all. The Church rejoices with every Christian that Jesus offers this redemption and this healing as an answer to all evil, loneliness, and pain. We bring the good news to every sinner that Jesus invites you into the true family of God through faith in Him. We acknowledge that the passage of H.R. 8404 will give the enemies of Christ the legal means to afflict faithful Christians and churches with many evils. Yet by God’s grace in Christ we will continue to proclaim God’s truth, live according to God’s Word, love all our neighbors as God teaches, and bear the malice of others with fortitude. For we have a never-ending source of comfort and hope in God our Savior. God teaches us to strengthen one another’s hearts to have hope “through the endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures” (Romans 15:5). Jesus Himself bids us “rejoice and be exceeding glad” when we are persecuted for the truth of Christ (Matthew 5:12). And He says, “When these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28). God grant us peaceful hearts, cheerful minds, and bold courage to speak and live according to His Word.
In Christ’s name,
Pastors of the Wyoming District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod