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Religious Liberty 2017-08-23T21:25:08+00:00

FIRST PRINCIPLES: RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

Scripture

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:26-27

So Jesus said …, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. – Mark 16:15-16

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 28:19

For freedom Christ has set us free. – Galatians 5:1

First Principles

Ideas and viewpoints informed by the sacred contribute enormously to the improvement of society (e.g., the abolition of slavery). The unalienable liberty of religious conscience and expression includes the freedom to believe and hold such ideas as a matter of conscience, as well as to manifest such conscience.

Human beings hold inherent dignity because God created us in His image, including the capacity to exercise free will and to reason. Because humans possess inherent dignity, government authorities must respect it. The unalienable liberty of religious conscience and expression arise out of this inherent dignity; such liberty enables the Created to freely form a sentient personal relationship with his or her Creator, know His truth and, as a matter of conscience, share it with others.

For ideas and viewpoints informed by the sacred to enter the marketplace of ideas, individuals must be free to not just to believe and hold them as a matter of conscience, but also to manifest such conscience, including through speech and other expression. Preserving the unalienable liberty of religious conscience and freedom of expression is, therefore, essential to ensure that citizens can introduce such ideas and viewpoints into the marketplace of ideas. It also ensures that these ideas, informed by the sacred, can continue to contribute to the improvement of society.

Finally this unalienable liberty protects against government action excluding citizens from participating in civil society based on the viewpoint or religious conscience held by the citizen.

The Church: An amorphous concept that conjures up images in the public mind ranging from white buildings with steeples to tyrannical theocracies. Yet the true Church stands in stark contrast to many of the images promoted by the world. The Church, as God designed, holds the esteemed position of prophet, servant, and sanctuary. God intended for His Church to make disciples, uphold truth, care for the widows, orphans, and infirm, and provide refuge for the oppressed.

As Jesus Christ’s representative on earth, the Church should be a beacon of light that intentionally and sacrificially serves its community. It should speak truth and bring hope to the dire situations facing its neighbors. It should lay down its life to see God glorified and His Kingdom expanded. The Church should be defined by John 17, Romans 12, and Acts 2.

The Church, unified, loving and guided by the Holy Spirit, transforms communities. Citizen statesmen, make no mistake, the Church is not a building or the pastorate; it is comprised of each person who proclaims Christ as Lord.

Resources

The following resources are provided for informational use only and are not necessarily endorsed by the Great Lakes Justice Center. They should always be examined against Scripture, our primary resource. If you would like to add resources to this list, please contact us.

Articles, Books, & Journals

  1. First Amendment: An Overview“, Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School
  2. Speech Overview“, Rodney A. Smolla, First Amendment Center
  3. A Model of Christian Charity“, Governor John Winthrop
  4. Being the Body, Charles Colson
  5. Building up one Another, Gene Getz
  6. Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, Timothy Keller
  7. The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal, Charles Swindoll
  8. City of God, St. Augustine
  9. Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  10. Entrepreneurship & Youth: The Critical Role of the Christian Community in Development”, Ruth Entwistle
  11. In the Ruins of the Church: Sustaining Faith in an Age of Diminished Christianity, R.R. Reno
  12. “The Christian Theologian’s Reading List: 99 Important Books”
  13. The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out, Mark Driscoll
  14. When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself, Brian Fikkert & Steve Corbett
  15. The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen

Organizations, Events & Ministries

  1. The Bill of Rights Institute
  2. The Cato Institute
  3. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  4. All About God
  5. Apologetics Press
  6. Apologetics Resource Center
  7. CARM
  8. C.S. Lewis Institute
  9. C.S. Society
  10. Evangelism Explosion International
  11. Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity
  12. Girl’s Ministries
  13. International Justice Mission
  14. Investigating Faith
  15. Living Waters
  16. Ministry127
  17. Ministry Idea Exchange
  18. Ministry-to-Children
  19. The Navigators
  20. Open Church
  21. RZIM
  22. Youth Ministry 101

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY PUBLICATIONS

ISSUE BRIEF – Williamston School Board Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity Policies

It is the duty of the school board to affirm and uphold constitutionally-protected freedoms, not pass laws granting special protections for some, while coercing and compelling others to comply with a political agenda.

October 2nd, 2017|Education, Good Governance, Issue Brief, Religious Liberty|

ISSUE BRIEF – New Sexual Orientation-Transgender Laws

Proposed laws extending civil rights protections to LGBTQ individuals seek to increase regulation of business, religious organizations and citizens. The proposed laws create new protected classes of individuals, giving new legal causes of action on the basis of “sexual orientation,” “sexual identity,” “gender identity and expression,” “family responsibilities,” etc.

October 24th, 2014|Good Governance, Issue Brief, Religious Liberty|

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