Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 139:554 (Apr 82) p. 177
“How Much Freedom of Speech Is Allowed to the Churches?” Dean M. Kelley, Christianity and Crisis, October 5, 1981, pp. 260-64.
The rise to public notice of the religious conservatives and their political clout demonstrated in the 1980 national elections has prompted frequent outcries from religious liberals that the traditional American doctrine of separation of church and state was being threatened. Not even a hint of such a threat was heard when the liberals held the reins of political influence during the Civil Rights and Vietnam War protest eras. This inconsistency is a classic case of “whose ox is being gored,” to state the matter somewhat inelegantly.
Few liberals publicly stated or even recognized that “what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” Kelley, however, is one who does. In this article he shows why “the contention that religious leaders have no business meddling in politics…is contrary to American law, history and Christian theology” (p. 260). He points out that the concept of the “separation of church and state” does not mean “that churches must refrain from intervening in governmental affairs” (p. 260). The Constitution simply protects against the governmental “establishment of religion” and “prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Religious individuals and groups of any persuasion are free to express their views on issues and to influence government, subject to the constitutional limits cited above.
Kelley insists, “I disagree strenuously with many of the objectives of the ‘moral majority’and will do my best to oppose them on those objectives” (pp. 263-64). But he affirms the rights of “electronic preachers” to demand “changes in the nation’s laws and even in its Constitution,” to support “candidates for President, the Senate and the House,” and to
BSac 139:554 (Apr 82) p. 178
hold tax-exempt status for their organizations while they do so. He points out, “It is the responsibility of those who disagree with the electronic preachers to refute their arguments in the democratic marketplace of ideas, not to try to silence them. That is the most rudimentary lesson of civil liberties, yet the first to be forgotten when we confront ideas we find abhorrent” (p. 263).
“Unity, Diversity, or Schism: The SBC at the Crossroads,” Bill J. Leonard, Baptist History and Heritage 16 (October 1981): 2-8.
This article speaks to the current situation in the Southern Baptist Convention in which biblical inerrantists are seeking to hold their denomination from slipping into liberalism. The article basically opposes the inerrantists and accuses them of contradict...
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