January 28, 2019
Just a few years ago the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling which preserved the rights of a “religious organization” to select those who minister through that organization. According to Chief Justice Roberts, the First Amendment gives “special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.” He rejected as “remarkable” the government’s argument “that the religion clauses in the First Amendment have nothing to say about a religious organization’s freedom to select its own ministers.” This past week the media attacked Second Lady Karen Pence, an avowed Christian, over her decision to teach art at Immanuel Christian School in Virginia, which dares to teach the biblical view of marriage and sexuality. One of the blessings of a Christian school is that we have the freedom to select those who minister to our students and assure our parents that they will reinforce the Christian principles so important to their family. Although that Supreme Court decision was a preservation of a right that we consider fundamental to how religious organizations operate, there are still many battles ahead, as demonstrated by this latest episode. Many battles will need to be fought to preserve this right.
The post-modern society that we live in, continues to demean the traditional function of Christian schools in many ways. For instance, the traditional rules and policies that we have here at FCS assume that everyone involved in the school process has a fundamental understanding of the order of authority and respect for those who hold positions of authority. What we are experiencing, almost daily here at FCS, is a shift in the view of justice, rights, and submission to authority. This world view, which has been shaped by a culture in which individual rights trump the chain of command and the lines of authority, has a direct effect on how an organization operates. As a result, our school, and every organization in which there are interpersonal relationships, has had to carefully analyze the process by which disputes are resolved. In our society today, any confrontation between an authority figure or institution, and an individual, requires a close assessment and accounting, not only of the rule breaker or the violator, but also of the authority itself, and those who administer that authority.
In this society, which seeks tolerance for all belief systems, all of this is theoretically done in the spirit of finding justice, but it raises the question, how do we find true justice in such a diverse culture? Justice is an ideal in any society. In our pledge of allegiance, we recite, “with liberty and justice for all,” but justice is by no means an American idea. God’s standard for justice certainly predates our country’s constitutional law which emphasizes liberty and justice. I believe our laws were originally configured based on God’s standard that everyone be treated fairly and with dignity, because the God of the Bible and our founding fathers is just. As believers we would agree that the roots of justice are found in God’s character and in His commands. God requires justice. Throughout the Bible, God is portrayed as the perfect judge. Deuteronomy 32:3-4, “I will proclaim the name of the Lord, Oh praise the greatness of our God. He is the rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just, a faithful God who is faithful and upright, and just is he.” Psalm 89:14, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” Solomon prayed for wisdom to administer justice, the prophet Amos preached against the perversion of justice.” In Micah 6:8 God tells his people what he requires of them, “…to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” In other words, God requires His people to act with the same kind of fairness which God acts with.
Our society and culture continues to redefine justice and institute law that will allow every person to independently determine their own definition of what justice and political correctness is for them. Our responsibility as believers, and as a Christian organization, is to model Biblical justice which is part of the character of God. Unfortunately, many Christians today are portrayed as the opposite of God’s character as it pertains to justice. A true test of how we really want justice is how we deal with people who are weak, poor, or undesirable. In our society these are the people who lack influence and who have been “disenfranchised.” In the New Testament, James stated that true religion was found in how we deal with this type of person.
Our challenge every day, right here on our campus is to behave justly by following God’s Word in everything we do. We must treat everyone with respect, we must seek to be fair in everything we do, and we must always, in the name of Jesus, champion the needs of those who don’t speak out for themselves or who can’t for some reason. At the same time, we do not compromise those Biblical principles regarding The truth is, that our society may continue to change and the definitions may continue to reflect society, but God’s people must remain true to our Biblical example, because it reflects the true author of justice, the God of the Bible.
Someone once said, “All that is necessary for evil and injustice to triumph is for good people to do and say nothing.” Thank God for Christian educational institutions like Immanuel Christian School and FCS, who are teaching and modeling true justice in a world which cannot seem to find justice anywhere. May God preserve our right to teach and proclaim the truths of His Word in this changing society in which we live, and may we embrace God’s Word as the true basis of “justice for all.”