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August 3, 2020 9:53 am
This week on Family Policy Matters, we are re-airing Part 1 of a 2-part show from July 2019 featuring Dan Darling, pastor and Vice President of Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Darling discusses the importance of people of faith being involved in public policy and advocating for justice in our nation and the world.
Family policy matters in engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Ralston, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will fold better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation. Today we bring you part one of the show with Dan Darling that originally aired in July 2019. Thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters when public policy gets uglier difficult. Many Christians are tempted to opt out to retreat to their churches and just concentrate on evangelism.
I think we can all agree that our top priority.
As Christians is to make disciples. However, in addition, as citizens of a country where we elect our leaders and where we have input in setting public policy. We are held responsible for what those policies are abdicating that responsibility is really not an option will most of us know that, but it's always helpful to be reminded so today were joined by Dan Darling up pastor and VP of communications at the ethics and religious liberty commission of the Southern Baptist convention in order to discuss why American Christians have a duty to stay involved in the public policy arena. Dan welcome to family policy matters. Good to be with you guys a group of really important work that you all are doing and thank you Dan.
Why should we as Christians care about secular laws number number one euro laws ultimately are essentially how we order ourselves of the society, you know how given society ordered. So laws affect the portioning of her neighbors over to love our neighbors as ourselves in our lives reflect the way that we think about our neighbors so you know people say that you can't legislate morality but every law is a reflection of her morality.
So if you have lost. For instance, against murder laws against embezzlement you're saying is decided that those two things are you know or are you making a moral statement by saying those two things are wrong and that we want to have laws that protect the vulnerable from crimes committed against them in that way. So I think we should care about the laws.
I also think because we are citizens of a representative republic. When we read Romans 13, for instance, about the way that God delegates power to civil authorities and how God will judge civil authorities based on the how they rule, and in the welfare of their people not just talking, particularly in our society about those who are of our politicians are leaders, but in some ways he's talking to us as well because we have a share in the power were government of the people by the people for the people. So you know our share of power through our voters through our you know voice in any way that we can influence it. We will be held accountable for that as well so I don't think there's an option for us to sort of not care about the laws that govern our communities and our country. So what specific biblical principles. Do you feel like regulate our involvement in the relationship between religion and government, you just mentioned. Romans 13 any other things you can think of that we could take into consideration want to get a basic level, the idea of human dignity that every person is created in the image of God in every person's dignity and worth.
And so, at the very basic level, we want to create societies that recognize that laws that protect vulnerable image bearers from being exploited or assaulted laws that see reflect the dignity of of image bear so I think that at the very basic level, something that we should care about the Bible is a very robust vision for humanity starting in Genesis quarter talks about how every person is made in the image of God all the way through King David describing in Psalm 139 that every human being is knit in the womb of their mothers created with the care and concern by by God and so you know laws that recognize that I think is something that Christians should work for justice so how do we see the Bible's call for us to to bring justice reflected in a way that would then influence how we look at public policy. Well, I think we should care about justice injustices really when you look to the scriptures. Justices mentioned quite a bit. I'm just as you know many ways equated with righteousness. This idea that you know what is right what is just what flex the glory of God in many ways. It uses a kind of a way to describe the inequity or imbalances in society making things right. Justices about setting things right. We have a God of justice. A Christian should care about about justice and I think in our specific application is it's it's merely you know where the areas in our civil society where the vulnerable are being exploited or assaulted, where there's gaps in terms of their ability to flourish.
I think we should we should care about that now. There's ways that the word justice can be loaded when when it when you talk about social justice and he'll sometimes hear that people hear that word and think automatically sort of Marxism and all that but I don't think we should let that term be hijacked by the left-leaning ideologies. I think justice is a very biblical term that we should we should care about. So if we care about it. As Christians, what we do when we are faced with unjust laws. Why think we should what we should do is try to work to change them. I mean, this is kind of part of the privilege we have at living in a representative republic that we have a an opportunity to make our voices heard. We can speak out on issues but we can also work to talk to our leaders and try to influence him to pass good legislation that rights those injustices that creates better laws and better legislation. We can use the ballot box and vote for people who vote based on the right you know principles that will commit to making better laws that are more just you princes you take one particular shoe like the abortion issue. You know that's that's an issue worked the current law of the land today as it stands is that the on all unborn people and in most states are more people from conception to birth really are unprotected from from death that they are not considered full human beings. This report is a concern for human beings. We believe that injustice and what the Scripture says every human beings.
Image got so we as citizens of this Republic of representative republic. We should work hard to create laws that recognize the dignity of the unborn. I don't think laws are all we need to do.
I don't think that speaks that's the full extent of our activism.
I think another peers in terms of changing hearts and minds in terms of spreading the gospel in terms of discipleship, making arguments in the public square, but I think laws are big part of that so I think we should work to change laws that are unjust listening to policy matters radio show and cast from the same family you can sign up to receive and to listen to the show online resources explains anyone sign family Martin so we hear people say quite often that religious liberty or religion is fine within the church walls.
But we don't have a right to bring a religion into government discussions, or perhaps in discussions about law and policy. What why is this a dangerous trap for believers to to allow that kind of language to be used, but also what we do in the face of that, you know, I think. Obviously laws can do everything right EE you could pass water used to live in just a few stop crimes but I think laws which reflect morality and they they help. I think rightly order a society, you know, I think the founders understood that you need both law you need the rule of law you need liberty, but you also need the kind of mediating institutions like the church and in other institutions that help form people in ways that laws can and can't really terrific book right now by Tim Carney called the elite elite in America and one of things he does as he watches some of the data that he know the whole whole range of social ills that follow. When civil society is disrupted in communities when you don't have important particular people attending church, but also other metrics like marriage and and and other things like that so I think all those things work to really help people.
For such a hearing you say that that the partnership between people of faith in their church and public policy is can be a really good partnership can be an enemy. So there's different callings right so you know not everyone, not every Christian is called to be a legislator, not every Christian is called to be an optimist, and in terms that interpret the let the level of making and creating public policy, but many are we. We need people at all levels of society. We need Christians in and in every sector really kind of applying the gospel to their calling we meet.
We do need good people in government when you need people in congressional staffs and in all these agencies to help create good policy and good law. We need people who are activists to we need people who are thinkers and scholars that say like thinking to really think deeply and long term about some really intractable problems and how we can solve them. So I think I think the relationship would come course, Christians and government Christian hope all is really important. The others there's visit the thought that you know because we want separation of church and state, which means we want the government to stay out of the church's business in terms of even infringing on the churches right to to practice religion freely. Sometimes we interpret that to mean the opposite, that the means Christian should not be involved in levels of government. Christian should not apply the faith of their work or to their to follow policy and I think really that's up you know number one I don't think it's even possible. Good everybody that comes to the table when it comes to government policy has a worldview. It has 1/2 a system and so I think the person that is at the site is really rocks.
I think it's really important for Christian to be involved. All levels of society. I do think that the most important thing that happens every week, though, is what happens when people gather in church so as Christians, even though were involved in all levels of society, even though what were doing Texas what were doing is more than what were doing on Sundays. Nevertheless's of gathering weekly as is the people of God is always the most important thing that's happening that we can write decent people that are involved in public policy understand, or maybe minimize the power of prayer that is brought to these issues and we were commanded specifically to pray for our government leaders.
Yeah I think so. I really think so and in and listen all of us who are involved in this public policy issues are involved on a day-to-day basis. Thinking about these things is very easy for us to to forget that were not all-powerful. That strategy and policy are vital and important, but ultimately our biggest and most important duty is to pray to to acknowledge our dependence on the Lord, that we cannot do our jobs. We cannot do what God has called us to do without being dependent on the Lord and I think you know I personally believe that our spiritual disciplines shape us for our life in the world so you can't have one without the other. I think you know God calls us to mission in the world, but he also calls us to maintain healthy spiritual disciplines of hearing the word prayer, reading our Bibles of walking with him and those things form us in powerful ways that that enable us to do the work is called us to do and do it in a healthy dependence on him even listening to family policy matters. This is been part one of a two-part show that originally aired in July 2019 with Dan Darling of the ethics and religious liberty commission. Be sure to tune in next week support to to listen to the show online information resources on how you can be a voice of persuasion in your community. Go to our website it into family.org that's NC family.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family