God and Government

My dear friend, Pastor Bruce Brock, from Faith Community Church, Tucson, Arizona, preaching on the subject of “God and Goverment.” (Sermon hand out notes below)

God and Government from Faith Community Church on Vimeo.

Sept 29-30, 2012 God and Government HANDOUT

THE CHURCH IN BABYLON (America).

Abortion. Two opposing views:

1. Laws should protect a woman’s right to abortion on demand throughout entire pregnancy. Only judges who agree with this should be confirmed as federal judges.

2. Laws should protect the life of the unborn child throughout pregnancy. Judges should not create new laws about abortion but should leave this to be decided by elected representatives of the people.

What does Scripture say? Ex 21:22-25, Lev 18:21, Ps 139:13-19, Luke 1:41-44.

How could the Supreme Court validate abortion? 14th Amendment

Same-sex marriage. Two opposing views:

1. Government should recognize and promote same-sex marriage. Federal courts should declare any other view unconstitutional (even state constitutional amendments such as Prop. 8 in CA should be nullified by the courts). To speak against this view is hate speech.

2. Government should preserve marriage between one man and one woman. The definition of marriage should be decided by the will of the people through their elected representatives and referendums, not by unelected unaccountable judges.

What does Scripture say? Gen 1:27, Lev 18:22, I Cor 6:9-11, Rom 1:26-28

Freedom of religion. Two opposing views:

1. Freedom of religion should be diminished and become freedom from religion in public places (government events, schools, school buildings, parks, sporting events). First Amendment means government should not even favor all religion in general. Freedom of conscience must be nullified if it stands in the way of supporting abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives, and same-sex “marriage”.

2. Freedom of religion means individuals should be free to express their beliefs in public places. First Amendment means government should not “establish” an official national church, but it should have policies that benefit all religions generally. Government should not force people to violate their consciences over widely-disputed moral issues like abortion, contraceptives, and same-sex “marriage”.

First Amendment NOTE: The First Amendment was not understood by anyone in 1787 (when the Constitution was adopted) to prohibit government officials from freely expressing their own religious beliefs in public and particularly at government functions, nor was it understood that way by the entire legal system of the United States for about the next two centuries. In fact, when Thomas Jefferson was President, church services were regularly held in the Capitol itself. The Marine band played in the services. Services were also held in the Supreme Court building. After the Civil War, the First Congregational Church of Washington held services in the House of Representatives.

What does Scripture say? Matt 22:21, Matt 28:19-20, Acts 5:29.

The Constitution. Two opposing views:

1. The Constitution is a living document that changes meaning according to the changes of society. Judges should tell us how the Constitution is changing and should have power to decide all the major issues facing the nation. (4 justices: Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan)

2. The Constitution has a fixed meaning (its original public meaning, what the words meant when it was adopted). Judges should interpret the Constitution, not change it. The fixed meaning of the Constitution is our foundational protection against the tendency of governments to usurp too much power. The people’s elected representatives, not unelected judges, should decide the major issues facing the nation. (4 justices: Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito).

Who do you want to have the “last word” on these kinds of issues? The courts? The president and/or congress? The people? The founding documents?

What about “separation of church and state”? The basis for separation of church and state is a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State”.

NEXT WEEK: Jesus, the Redeemer of His people, is born in Israel during Roman occupation. There was resistance from the Zealots but Israel was under Rome’s rule. One would think – and some did – that Jesus would deliver Israel from Rome and exalt her above all other nations. Even Pilate – John 18:28-38. Even the disciples after Jesus’ resurrection asked this question – Acts 1:4-6.
How is the church to conduct herself in this time? What should her focus be? NEXT WEEK