Lutherans engage March for Life
One of the largest rallies in Washington, D.C., is the annual March for Life in January, on or near the January 22 anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision regarding the availability of abortion. This march in 2011 is scheduled for Monday, January 23, according to Dennis Dimauro, president of the Northern Virginia chapter of Lutherans For Life (LFL), the hosting group for Lutherans nationally.
“I noticed that there really wasn’t much of a [visible] Lutheran presence at the March for Life marches, and so in 1997 began to organize the Northern Virginia chapter,” Dimauro explained. “Our first participation was in January 1998, and we have grown to a significant size in recent years.”
Dimauro is himself a lay member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), though there is much stronger participation by Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod members in the pan-Lutheran organization. Some other Lutheran church bodies, while officially pro-life, don’t participate in LFL because of “fellowship restrictions” for members, Dimauro noted.
“Early on the chapter handled many of the logistics, and we meet at Immanuel Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Alexandria, Virginia,” Dimauro said. “Now the church coordinates most of the activities. The only thing I do is coordinate people staying from out of town, finding Lutheran host families.”
Dimauro doesn’t believe that the changed political environment since the 2010 elections will affect the nature of the march. “The place real progress is being made now is at the state level,” he explained. “I don’t think anything of consequence will happen on the federal level this year.”
The Rev. James I. Lamb, LFL president, echoed this sentiment in a recent article in LifeDate, the quarterly journal of LFL. Lamb wrote: “We make a grave mistake if we think just electing leaders whom we label ‘pro-life’ is somehow a pro-life mandate that will bring sweeping changes protecting the unborn.”
The reason to participate in a national pro-life march, according to Dimauro, is to share ideas, encourage one another, and re-energize the pro-life movement.
Walking one’s walk
Lutherans attending the March for Life are invited to particpate in an opening worship at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Virginia, January 23 at 9:00 a.m., followed by the rally on the National Mall at noon. James Lamb will be preacher at the worship service.
In 2010, Dr. Robert Preus, Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana, filled in as preacher for the Rev. Matt Harrison, the director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care, when he was called to Haiti in response to the earthquake there. Harrison was subsequently elected president of the synod.
Dimauro suggested anyone traveling to the March for Life and in need of housing contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Lutherans For Life, go to www.lutheransforlife.org.
Tags: Bob Hulteen, Concordia Seminary Fort Wayne Indiana, Dennis Dimauro, ELCA, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Immanuel Lutheran Church Alexandria Virginia, James I. Lamb, LCMS, LCMS World Relief and Human Care, LFL, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Lutherans For Life, March for Life, Matt Harrison, Rev. James I. Lamb, Rev. Matt Harrison, Robert Preus