ANGLICAN CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA

THE
LUTHERAN CHURCH

Missouri Synod

Jan. 2, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Mary Massingale Catholic Conference of Illinois 312-368-1066 Rev. Dan Gilbert, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Northern Illinois District, 708-449-3020 Rev. Mark Miller, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Central Illinois District, 217-793-1802
Rev. Timothy Scharr, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Southern Illinois District, 618-234-4767

Illinois faith leaders write lawmakers to urge preservation of marriage
Natural order, religious freedom at stake
CHICAGO – Pastoral leaders representing more than 1,700 faith communities in Illinois – parishes, congregations, churches and Friday prayer centers – have signed a letter sent to Illinois lawmakers, urging them to safeguard both marriage and religious freedom by rejecting any legislative efforts to redefine marriage. The faith leaders note that traditional marriage “is the natural order embracing the complementary physical, emotional and spiritual design of men and women.” They also warn that simply not being forced to preside over same-sex marriages does nothing to protect religious freedom as guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The proposed legislation falls far short of protecting the rights of churches and individuals to freely exercise their religious beliefs and abide their consciences, they note. “If marriage is redefined in civil law, individuals and religious organizations – regardless of deeply held beliefs – will be compelled to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage in their lives, ministries and operations,” they write. Two state lawmakers in December announced they would seek passage of legislation during this month’s lame-duck session that changes the definition of marriage currently set in state law from "between a man and a woman" to "between 2 persons." The signees of the letter represent a diversity of faiths, including the Anglican Church in North America, the Roman Catholic Church, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, as well as individual Baptist and Evangelical churches.

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ANGLICAN CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA

THE
LUTHERAN CHURCH

Missouri Synod

Jan. 2, 2013 Dear Illinois lawmakers: Marriage is the lifelong, faithful union of one man and one woman, and the natural basis of the family. Marriage is an institution fundamental to the well-being of society because a stable, loving marriage is the ideal environment for raising children. Through marriage, children grow up knowing that they were created through an act of intimate love. Marriage is also beneficial for adults as the ideal structure for men and women to live interdependently, recognizing the equal dignity, beauty and value of one another while also relying on each other’s care and love. This is the natural order embracing the complementary physical, emotional and spiritual design of men and women. As such, marriage in its true definition has long been respected and publicly supported in our society. As religious leaders in Illinois, we find the continued affirmation of marriage between a man and a woman essential. The ongoing attempts to alter the definition of marriage in civil law are full of serious danger, primarily by degrading the cultural understanding of marriage to an emotional bond between any two adults and by giving rise to a profound interference with the exercise of religious freedom for those persons and religious institutions whose faith and doctrine recognize the spiritual foundation of marriage as an authorized union between a man and a woman. Some claim that as long as religious ministers are not forced to preside over same-sex “marriages” the principle of religious freedom, as secured in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment is protected. However, the notion that the exercise of religious freedom is confined to the interior of churches, synagogues, temples or mosques or what one does on Holy Days is wrong and dangerous. The freedom of religion also extends to the ministries of religious organizations and to the individual conscience. Thus, the real peril: if marriage is redefined in civil law, individuals and religious organizations – regardless of deeply held beliefs – will be compelled to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage in their lives, ministries and operations. Compulsion of this nature is a violation of personal conscience and of religious liberty. We implore all people of good will to protect marriage and religious freedom. The far-reaching consequences of redefining marriage in civil law extend throughout society and will directly impact religious freedom. Marriage and religious freedom are ideals integral to Illinois, and our elected leaders should do all they can to maintain these important principles. Sincerely, Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Belleville Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet

Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago

His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago

Reverend Dan P. Gilbert President, Northern Illinois District The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C. Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria

Most Reverend David J. Malloy Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford

Reverend Mark A. Miller President, Central Illinois District The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod The Right Reverend Wesley L. Nolden II Assistant Bishop of Quincy, Diocese of Quincy Anglican Church in North America Reverend Timothy J. Scharr President, Southern Illinois District The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod

The Right Reverend Juan Alberto Morales, OSB Bishop of Quincy, Diocese of Quincy Anglican Church in North America Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki Bishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-in-IL

Elder Jack Ward The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Pastors and members of the following churches also support this letter:
Generational Blessings Flossmoor, IL Philadelphia Missionary Baptist Chicago, IL Grace Temple Holiness Church Chicago, IL Total Christian Life Ministry Joliet, IL Empowerment Christian Center Chicago, IL Sacred Mountain International Christian Center Chicago, IL Evangelical Free Church of Sycamore Sycamore, IL The Purchased Church of God Chicago, IL NuWine Ministries Westchester, IL Deliverance Outreach Center Chicago, IL Montrose Baptist Church Chicago, IL Rock of Ages Baptist Church Maywood, IL Living Hope Missionary Baptist Chicago, IL Bibleway Ministries Barrington, IL The Father's House Zion Church of God Zion, IL Christian Life Church Mt. Prospect, IL Darion Ministries Oak Park, IL Word of Grace Church Chicago, IL Living Waters Presbyterian Church Addison, IL Chicagoland Church of God Lincolnwood, IL Grace & Truth Apostolic Church Evanston, IL Polish Evangelical Fellowship Chicago, IL Grace for Life Bible Church Naperville, IL Empowerment Christian Center Chicago, IL

Immanuel United Church of Christ Peotone, IL Evangelical Free Church Crystal Lake, IL Tree of Life Outreach Ministries Chicago, IL Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church Chicago, IL Pathway Christian Fellowship Shorewood, IL Prince of Peace Baptist Church Chicago, IL First Baptist of Marengo Marengo, IL Park Place Baptist Church Montgomery, IL New Life Ministries Oak Park, IL Covenant Chapel Baptist Church Chicago, IL H.E.L.P.S. Ministry St. Charles, IL New Life Deliverance Church Chicago, IL Greater Damascus Baptist Church Chicago, IL Outreach Fellowship Christian Center East Dundee, IL Life Changing International Ministries Chicago, IL Bethesda Worship Center Des Plaines, IL

Storm of the Spirit Church Chicago, IL Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church Chicago, IL Worth Church of the Nazarene Worth, IL Peace of God Outreach Waukegan, IL Hosanna! Lutheran Church, LCMC St. Charles, IL Christian Tabernacle Church Roselle, IL Alpha Baptist Church Bolingbrook, IL Jesus Word Center Chicago, IL Jesus Journey Church Bartlett, IL True Witness Deliverance Ministries Calumet City, IL Living Word Christian Center Chicago, IL Cross & Crown Chicago, IL Grace Chinese Christian Church Skokie, IL Fox Valley Church of God Geneva, IL Lively Hope Church of God in Christ Joliet, IL First Saint Peter All Nation Church Chicago, IL

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