...

All Articles For VanEngen, Brian

Results 11 to 20 of 37

The Supreme Court recently decided a significant case addressing the separation of church and state. This case did not receive a lot of media attention, but is important for a couple of reasons. First, the case gives some indication of the current direction of Supreme Court jurisprudence related to church and state issues. Secondly, the case involved issues of separation of church and state in the context of a private school, and therefore has ramifications for our covenant schools as well as for our churches. The case is Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc., v. Comer,1 and began when the...

Continue reading

In the recent presidential election in the United States, many Christian voters were reluctant to vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump. Although the values of Christian voters on issues such as abortion and homosexual rights tend to align more with those of Republican candidates, many had concerns about Trump’s personal life, his incendiary comments, and his past positions on values issues. Despite these reservations, many conservative voters cast their ballots for Trump, not necessarily because of support for him personally, but because of the appointments he had indicated he will make to the Supreme Court as well as to other...

Continue reading

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Holy Scripture sets out the simple truth that God created humans as male and female right at the beginning of the Bible, at the conclusion of the creation history in Genesis 1:27. Yet as simple as this truth would seem, the world increasingly seeks to blur the lines between male and female. First homosexuality became legalized and even promoted by society and by our government institutions. More recently the conflict has focused on so-called “transgender” individuals, who act...

Continue reading

Previous article in this series: February 1, 2016, p. 212. In the last two articles in this series, we looked at the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which found a right to homosexual marriage. We also looked at the need for churches and schools to position themselves so that they are able to use the protections available under the First Amendment to the Constitution. In this installment, we will look at churches and schools and the specific measures they can take to assert their rights under the law. I would preface these comments by noting that these specific...

Continue reading

Previous article in this series: December 1, 2015, p. 140. In the last article, we examined the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which found that homosexuals are guaranteed a right to marry by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. We examined the way in which the Court reached this conclusion. In this and a future installment, we will look at the implications of that ruling for believers, as well as some measures that religious organizations such as churches and schools can implement to protect themselves. As mentioned previously, the Court in Obergefell did not create a...

Continue reading

Previous article in this series: February 1, 2015, p. 211. On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme court issued a decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges,1 which dealt with the matter of the issuance of licenses for homosexual marriages. The decision was recognized as a landmark decision by those on both sides of the issue. Due to the importance of this decision, we will examine the court’s ruling closely to see how the court reached its decision, the meaning of the Court’s ruling, and the implications that the Court’s ruling has for our churches and schools. In...

Continue reading

Previous article in this series: February 1, 2015, p. 211. In the last two installments in this series, we first looked at punishment of children and noted that corporal punishment such as spanking is still generally legal. We then looked at the juvenile court system and noted that, due to the different evidentiary standards in juvenile court and the reliance on reports of social workers and others, parents whose views differ from those prosecuting a case of alleged abuse may have a difficult time defending their actions. In this installment, we will look at the effect that changing views in...

Continue reading

Previous article in this series: December 15, 2014, p. 138. In the last article under this rubric, we looked at the status of the law as it pertains to corporal punishment, or spanking, of children. The general rule is that parents are allowed to use corporal punishment as long as it is not excessive. “Excessive” is defined differently by the various courts and states, but as we saw in the last article, godly correction of children would generally not (and ought not) be excessive. The fact that this is still the status of the law is encouraging to Christian parents....

Continue reading

Public debate over discipline of children and the use of corporal punishment erupted recently after newspapers were filled with stories covering allegations that a professional football star had abused his four-year-old-son. Adrian Peterson, a running back for the Minnesota Vikings, has stated he was disciplining the boy, and admittedly used a “switch” or small branch from a tree to spank his son. The state has charged Peterson with child abuse as a result of the incident. Some news reports have indicated that the boy was examined by a doctor after the incident and had multiple bruises and bleeding cuts, which...

Continue reading

The Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which involved a challenge to certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act based on religious grounds. This case provides insights into the future of religious freedom jurisprudence, as well as a look at the factors that aid in establishing a claim of impingement on religious freedom. Background To understand fully the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, one must look first at the history leading up to the decision. The First Amendment to the Constitution provides that...

Continue reading