All Articles For Church and State

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. Those of us who wrote Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act are . . . terminally ill people who believe it is our right—not the government’s—to decide when and how our lives should end. -Geoff Sugarman, Oregon Right to Die (1994) The Oregon Death with Dignity Act, a ballot initiative ostensibly enhancing the freedom of dying patients, is in fact a frightful license for physicians to prescribe death, free from outside scrutiny and immune from possible prosecution—all in the name of a humane and dignifies death. Relief...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. We cannot accept the view that Amendment 2’s prohibition on specific legal protection does no more than deprive homosexuals of special rights. To the contrary, the amendment imposes a special disability upon those persons alone. Homosexuals are forbidden the safeguards that others enjoy or may seek without constraint. Romer v. Evans, U.S. Supreme Court (1996) (Majority opinion). The Court’s majority opinion contains grim, disapproving hints that Coloradans have been guilty of “animus” or “animosity” toward homosexuality, as though that has been established as Unamerican. But I...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. We disagree with the claim that the distinction between refusing lifesaving medical treatment and assisted suicide is “arbitrary” and “irrational.” Granted, in some cases, the line between the two may not be clear, but certainty is not required, even if it were possible. By permitting everyone to refuse unwanted medical treatment while prohibiting anyone from assisting a suicide, New York law follows a long-standing and rational distinction. Vacco v. Quill, U.S. Supreme Court (June, 1997). In the last decade or so, the U.S., Canada, Britain, and...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) gains visibility In November of 1993 President Clinton signed into law an important law insuring a significant degree of religious freedom under the First Amendment. Although the law was supported by post religious organizations, it nevertheless took two years of debate and political maneuvering before it passed both houses of Congress. The RFRA was passed lay Congress in response to the notorious 1990 Supreme Court decision in the case of Employment Division v. Smith. In that case a bitterly divided court held...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. “Because they present issues of such profound spiritual importance and because they so deeply affect individuals’ right to determine their own destiny, the abortion and right-to-die cases have given rise to a highly emotional and divisive debate. In deciding right-to-die cases, we are guided by the Supreme Court’s approach to the abortion cases…which provide powerful precedent…” “Those who believe stronly that death must come without physician assistance are free to follow that creed; be they doctors or patients. They are not free, however, to force ther...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. “Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Act withholds from terminally ill citizens the same protections from suicide the majority enjoys. In the process, it has lowered standards and reduced protections to a degree that there is little assurance that only competent terminally ill persons will voluntarily die. The majority has not accepted this situation for themselves, and there is no rational basis for imposing it on the terminally ill.”  Lee v. State of Oregon, U.S. District Court,  Aug. 3, 1995. Oregon’s Suicide Law In November of 1994, Oregon voters...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. “Illinois closes its schools on twelve holidays. Nine are purely secular. Two are religious in origin but secularized: Christmas and Thanksgiving. Only one of the holidays is a purely religious holiday, Good Friday, the holiday celebrated only by believing Christians. School districts are free to close their schools on the major holidays of other religions, but all public schools throughout the state are forced to close on Good Friday regardless of the preference of local school districts and no matter how small the number of students...

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. “So when artificial nourishment provides no detectable benefits but does cause various sorts of hardships, one can argue that withdrawing it signals covenantal concern, not abandonment. We conclude, then, that withdrawing artificial feeding should sometimes be permitted and even recommended.” Christian Faith, Health, & Medical Practice, Bouma et al. (Eerdmans, 1989)

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Mr. Lanting, a member of South Holland Protestant Reformed Church, is a practicing attorney. Droz does not belong to any religious organization that provides for its dependent members. Thus, permitting him to get out of the Social Security system would not only threaten the integrity of the system, but would threaten Congress’s goal of ensuring that persons who opt out are provided for and will not burden the public welfare system. Droz v. Commissioner of I.R.S., 48 F.3d 1120, 1123 (9th Cir. 1995) Taxpayers who earn self-employment income must pay a self-employment tax into the Social Security system. The Internal...

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