In Sunday night’s discipleship class, we continued to tackle some of the issues that are part of public policy and platform and what the Bible says regarding those issues. This class covered the environment, national defense, foreign policy, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Needless to say, each of these issues, if discussed fully, could constitute a class in and of themselves.
For this post, I’ll touch on the most salient points in each issue. For depth and scope, I again suggest you read Wayne Grudem’s book, Politics According to the Bible, where each issue we discuss is viewed in light of what the Bible says. We do not promote a Republican or Democratic view; instead, our purpose is to inform a biblical worldview. In our final class, we’ll furnish the platforms for each political party and each class member can make their own conclusions.
God stated in the beginning that man would “fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion…” over everything. While we do have dominion over the earth and its resources, we are to be responsible in the care and use of what has been given to us by God.
The United States spends a significant portion of its budget on national defense. Grudem states that if the government has a moral responsibility to protect its citizens in- and outside the country, and to defend our nation and its allies, then the military power must be sufficient to defeat an aggressor nation. He states, too, that “Superior military weaponry in the hands of a nation that protects freedom for itself and other countries is a good thing for the world.”
Foreign policy of a nation must work toward the hospitable relationship of nations as well as defending itself from attack or harm. Governments should seek to “serve and protect the sovereignty and independence of that nation” and “seek to do good for other nations as they are able to do so.” Regarding the United States, Grudem states, “The United States should seek to promote freedom and respect for human rights in other nations.”
Freedom of Speech
The First Amendment guarantees certain rights, stating that Congress will make no law which restricts speech, or the press, and so on. Grudem lists 5 reasons: to prevent the abuse of power by the government, to enable government to be chosen by the people, to protect human liberty, to protect religious speech, and to protect the ability of individuals to think and decide issues for themselves.
Freedom of Religion
Citizens should have complete freedom regarding “religious convictions and religious activities.” Governments should not compel religion, nor establish it – a principle clearly established in the First Amendment. The problem, however, comes when “freedom of religion” is turned into “freedom from religion.” Grudem states that “excluding religious expression from the public square cannot be justified by the original intention or original meaning of the First Amendment.” He goes on to say that the concept of “separation of church and state” has “no legitimate basis in the laws or the actual Constitution of the United States” and is a myth “sustained by endless repetition in the press today…”.