Russell Moore's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has posted a flawed "Evangelical Declaration on Marriage" entitled "Here We Stand." While I appreciate the effort at getting evangelical leaders to declare affirmation of a male-female requirement for marriage, I think that every evangelical leader who signed this (and there are already quite a few) signed a statement that errs at some points and gives the wrong advice at others.
This is not an attack on those who have already signed the document. Doubtless, many signed simply because it does contain a number of good statements. For example, the first paragraph states, "We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot"; and the second paragraph affirms strongly Jesus' own affirmation of marriage as a male-female union. Nor should my comments be construed as a personal attack on any formulators of the statement or an accusation of doctrinal heresy. However, substantial disagreements or concerns exist about the content of the statement that I hope my friends can hear with some degree of openness.
So here are at least five problems that I see with the statement. more >>
The president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, the Rev. Bill Owens, is calling on Christians to not participate in gay marriage ceremonies by "refusing to obey unjust laws" in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
Owens, who held a press conference in Dallas on Tuesday where he was joined by other prominent conservative leaders who support traditional marriage, said Christians in all areas of society should stand up and defend their constitutional rights.
"We are calling on Christians and people of faith in all areas of society, especially those in leadership positions, to refuse to obey unjust laws that have legalized same-sex unions, and to join our movement [called Real Marriage] that will take back our Constitution and our rights," said Owens in a statement posted on Facebook prior to the press conference. more >>
After a federal appeals court ruled this week that four Christian colleges in Oklahoma and a group of nuns will have to abide by an Obamacare contraception mandate that they say violate their institutions' biblical beliefs, former U.S. Solicitor General Ken Starr explained Thursday that the court loss can be blamed on the organization's lawyers not building strong enough cases.
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned a U.S. District Court ruling that temporarily exempted Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Baptist University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Mid-America Christian University from having to comply with an Affordable Care Act mandate requiring the Christian schools' health insurance providers to offer free birth control drugs that could induce an abortion to its employees.
The court's decision came in one mass-encompassing opinion that also affected the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Colorado nuns who serve the elderly, and a handful of other religious organizations. more >>
In the aftermath of Obergefell v. Hodges, pastors and church members are experiencing a wave of anxiety over what many of them deem the "nightmare scenario": lawsuits or government action designed to force them to perform or recognize same-sex marriages. While there are — so far — no meaningful judicial precedents that would permit such dramatic interference with churches' core First Amendment rights, lawsuits challenging church liberties are inevitable.
Indeed, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has declared that prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity "sometimes" apply to churches and has stated that a "church service open to the public" is not a "bona fide religious purpose" that would limit application of the law. In 2012 a New Jersey administrative-law judge ruled that a religious organization "closely associated with the United Methodist Church" wrongly denied access to its facilities for a same-sex wedding.
An 18-year-old student from an academic institution in Wisconsin has accused a professor of forcing her to omit references to the Bible for a class assignment.
University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County Professor Annette Kuhlman is guilty of religious discrimination for not allowing biblical references in a sociology project, student Rachel Langeberg claims.
"The biggest myth about judges is that they're somehow imbued with greater insight, wisdom, and vision than the rest of us; that for some reason God Almighty has endowed them with superior judgment about human fairness. But the truth is that judges are men and women with human imperfections and frailties. Some have been brilliant, principled and moral. Others have been mentally impaired, venal, and even racist." Mark Levin, Men in Black
Judicial activism occurs when judges depart from their constitutional role of interpreting law and make law from the bench. It's a pernicious practice that undermines the democratic process, and it has been with us for a long time. American judicial history is filled with instances where judges usurped authority that did not belong to them and rewrote the law or constitutional provisions under consideration. Examples of cases involving judicial activism include Dred Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson, Korematsu v. United States and Roe v. Wade – to name just a few.
Article One of the United States Constitution vests the legislative authority of the government in the Congress. It is the province of elected legislators – not unelected judges – to make law. The framers of the Constitution were careful to separate the powers of government among three separate, co-equal branches. They did not intend for one branch of government to exercise powers belonging to the other branches. To the contrary, James Madison warned in the Federalist Papers that the concentration of all powers – legislative, executive, and judicial – in the same hands "may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." more >>