[Read] ➵ Free to Serve Author Stephen V. Monsma – Motyourdrive.co.uk

Free to Serve summary Free to Serve , series Free to Serve , book Free to Serve , pdf Free to Serve , Free to Serve a7eb42be41 What Do Hobby Lobby, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Wheaton College, World Vision, The Little Sisters Of The Poor, And The University Of Notre Dame Have In Common All Are Faith Based Organizations That Have Faced Pressure To Act Contrary To Their Religious Beliefs In This Book, Two Policy Experts Show How Faith Based Groups Those Active In The Educational, Healthcare, International Aid And Development, And Social Service Fields Can Defend Their Ability To Follow Their Religiously Based Beliefs Without Having To Jettison The Very Faith And Faith Based Practices That Led Them To Provide Services To Those In Need They Present A Pluralist Vision For Religious Freedom For Faith Based Organizations Of All Religious Traditions The Book Includes Case Studies That Document The Challenges Faith Based Organizations Face To Freely Follow The Practices Of Their Religious Traditions And Analyzes These Threats As Originating In A Common, Yet Erroneous, Set Of Assumptions And Attitudes Prevalent In American Society Helpful Perspectives From Experts Representing Various Faith Traditions Are Also Interspersed Throughout The Book


10 thoughts on “Free to Serve

  1. says:

    A solid, introductory look at religious organizations both for and non profit within the United States and the increasing legal challenges they face I have spent the past three weeks obsessively reading religious freedom cases so I was looking for something a little specific and technical However, this was a good overview of the arguments for religious liberty and how recent rulings have hampered that liberty It is a tad repetitive at times I do not think the authors expected someone to sit down and read it cover to cover Four stars but I bumped it up to five for the interludes These essays, particularly the first one, were my favorite part of the book Solid read and recommendation No legal background needed to appreciate this one.


  2. says:

    Stephen V Monsma and Stanley W Carlson Thies, Free to Serve Protection the Religious Freedom of Faith Based Organizations Grand Rapids, MI Brazos Press, 2015 Paperback Kindle Author s Note This review originally appeared at InfluenceMagazine.com James 1 27 offers this memorable definition Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world For James, then, religion consists of a humanitarian and an integrity mandate Do good, we might say, and be good For Christians across the ages, the humanitarian mandate has produced charitable organizations of an enormous variety, from orphanages and schools to hospitals and relief agencies These organizations express the heart of God the Father for those in crisis, those in in need The integrity mandate has governed how Christians carried out the humanitarian mandate Christian theology and Christian ethics provided guidelines for what good should be done, to whom, and how.These two mandates need never come into conflict with one another In an era characterized by the increased government licensing, regulation, and funding of all manner of activities, they can and do, however This conflict is the subject of Free to Serve by evangelical Christian activists Stephen V Monsma and Stanley W Carlson Thies.The authors cite, for example, laws in Arizona and Alabama that prohibited people and organizations within those states including religious organizations from transporting or housing illegal immigrants Many churches and religious organizations had been doing precisely that, so they challenged the law in court.For another example, pursuant to a mandate in the Affordable Care Act aka, ObamaCare , the U.S Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule requiring employee health plans to cover 20 forms of contraception, four of which could have abortifacient effects Catholic organizations have objections to contraceptives generally, and evangelical Protestant organizations have objections to abortifacients specifically, so they challenged this rule in court.A final example Many campus religious organizations require members and leaders to affirm the doctrinal and ethical standards of their specific faith One cannot be an atheist and leader of a Christian student organization Unfortunately, in an attempt to promote nondiscrimination, some public colleges and university systems have ruled that, actually, you can be Every campus organization must be open to all except fraternities, sororities, and sports team, of course Campus religious organizations have challenged these rules in court.The United States has a variety of legal protections for religious individuals and organizations The First Amendment to the Constitution states Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof The Religious Freedom Restoration Act holds that a generally applicable law can infringe on a sincerely held religious belief only if doing so accomplishes a compelling governmental interest through the least restrictive means There are other statutory protections as well, both at the federal and state levels.Despite these, state and federal courts have not always protected the religious freedom of individuals and organizations Federal Courts have upheld the constitutionality of so called all comers policies on college and university campuses, policies that prohibit campus religious organizations from requiring affirmation of a religion s doctrine and ethics State courts have ruled that the government can require faith based adoption and foster care agencies to place children in the homes of married homosexuals and cohabiting heterosexuals, despite those organization s longstanding, sincere, doctrinal commitment to marriage as a monogamous heterosexual institution On the bright side, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby, a closely held, for profit business owned by religious persons is exempt from the so called contraceptive mandate issued by HHS On the other hand, the same right of religious colleges and universities Notre Dame, Wheaton, etc is still being litigated Monsma and Carlson Thies argue that these conflicts have grown and become heated because of four interlocking assumptions on the part of government bureaucrats and secular ideologues The equation of religious freedom with freedom to worship The unthinking application of nondiscrimination standards to faith based organizations The belief that acceptance of government funds makes faith based organizations government actors The assumption of Christianity s dominant position in society To this list, I would add the increasing governmental involvement in aspects of life it had left alone previously In my opinion, the larger government grows, the larger its ability to interfere with the rights of the people including their religious rights grows The authors do not delve into this topic, however.Instead, they make a case for what they call principled pluralism or civic pluralism This pluralism, which they argue should not be confused with relativism, begins with the undisputed fact that our society is characterized by a diversity or plurality of religious and non religious points of view In light of this fact, it advocates four tenets All human beings are morally responsible, free individuals who possess human dignity and certain fundamental rights, the most basic of which is freedom of religion Although human beings are individuals, with individual rights and responsibilities, human beings are also social beings For a society to be truly free its government must not prevents its members from being able to create and sustain nongovernmental organizations that are based on and reflect their members deeply held beliefs Just as government should not attempt to dominate or control society s organizations and their members, neither should one organization seek to dominate or control other organizations or individuals Under principled pluralism, the government could partner with religious organizations to accomplish humanitarian ends without requiring those organizations to sacrifice their doctrinal or ethical integrity Religious organizations would be able to tailor health care plans to conform to longstanding doctrine Campus religious organizations would be able to require doctrinal and ethical affirmations of its leaders.Principled pluralism thus differs from Christian nationalism, which privileges the Christian faith socially and legally, and secularism, which seeks a public square devoid of religious language and ideas Indeed, it challenges both The challenge to secularism is obvious A public college or university, for example, must provide public resources to campus religious organizations despite their allegedly sectarian character, as long as it does so on equal footing with other religious and nonreligious organizations That second proviso highlights the challenge principled pluralism poses to Christian nationalism But Monsma and Carlson Thies argue that such an application of principled pluralism is a straightforward application of the Golden Rule to our civic relationships to do to others as we would have them do to us Luke 6 31 That is what makes principled pluralism such an attractive option for some America is a diverse country, and principled pluralism offers a way for diverse religious and nonreligious groups to access public resources on an equal footing.Still, I have my doubts Pluralism must give way to principle on some issues Monsma and Carlson Thies cite abortion as one of those exceptions It is a long settled principle of American jurisprudence that race is another No wonder, then, that LGBT groups analogize sexual orientation to race, and Christians resist the analogy Some principles admit of no exceptions In those cases, one can be principled or pluralist, but not both.Even with this criticism of the book, Free to Serve is an interesting, thought provoking book about an important topic You will learn from its diagnosis even if you disagree with its prescription in the end I myself am not wholly convinced, though I wholly support the book s ultimate goal of supporting an integral Christian humanitarianism P.S If you found my review helpful, please vote Yes on my .com review page.


  3. says:

    In June of 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 4 decision that Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco did not violate the First Amendment when it de recognized the campus chapter of the Christian Legal Society for its policy of requiring leaders and voting members of the group to affirm orthodox Christian beliefs and practices, including a prohibition on sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman Since that ruling, Christian student groups across the country have faced increased scrutiny and, in a variety of cases, have been de recognized as well There are the cases of Tufts University, Rollins College, and Vanderbilt University, for starters Then, of course, there was California State University, which de recognized InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapters at each of its 23 campuses throughout the state in 2014 before reversing course the following year UNC Chapel Hill history professor Molly Worthen described these cases as examples of the contradictions and ambiguities of liberal ideology, for which the values of tolerance and diversity have some obvious if awkward limits.Now, before my liberal friends jump ship, let me show my cards I believe that nondiscrimination laws are essential to the flourishing of a pluralistic, diverse nation like ours Those who have historically been subject to discrimination, abuse, and various forms of injustice in our country should enjoy legal protection and their rights should be respected I also believe that the guarantees outlined in the First Amendment including the free exercise of religion as well as the freedoms of speech, press, and assembly are equally foundational, not just for Christians like me but for people of all faiths and none.What these cases of de recognition reveal along with related cases involving humanitarian organizations, healthcare providers, institutions of higher learning, and even some for profit businesses is that when it comes to respecting both nondiscrimination laws and the First Amendment, some nuanced thinking is in order.That s precisely what Stanley W Carlson Thies and the late Stephen V Monsma deliver in their urgent but refreshingly not alarmist book Free to Serve Protecting the Religious Freedom of Faith Based Organizations Faith based organizations are facing and will increasingly face threats to their ability to freely follow their deeply held religious convictions, they write in the book s opening pages The threats are real, but how we as a society finally resolve these threats is yet to be determined Monsma and Carlson Thies don t shy away from their Christian convictions, but they make clear that their goal is not to privilege our own tradition or its beliefs Rather, they advocate a vision for a society that acknowledges and respects the wide diversity of religious and nonreligious belief systems, perspectives, and organizations None is favored none is disfavored This is where we take our stand They are also quick to point out that despite the usual tenor of public debates about the role of religion in public life, this should not be seen as a zero sum game, since the goals of those who are advocating policies harmful to the religious freedom of faith based organizations can largely be met while also protecting the religious freedom of faith based organizations One important theme throughout the book is the idea that freedom of religion is about much than freedom of worship Being free to practice my Christian faith certainly includes my ability to drive to 5811 N 20th Street in Phoenix each Sunday morning to participate in a worship service But as Christians throughout time and space have attested by their stated convictions as well as their actions, gathering for worship isn t the sum total of what it means to follow Jesus We are also called, for example, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction James 1 27 , a vital expression of our faith that will rarely happen within the four walls or, for that matter, the formal legal structure of a church Yet such acts of mercy, on an individual basis and by organizations formed for that purpose, are just as authentically Christian as singing a hymn.The arguments for religious freedom throughout the book are rooted in the philosophy of principled pluralism, one of the central concerns of the Center for Public Justice, a DC based think tank with which both authors have been affiliated Principled pluralism rejects both government enforced secularism and any kind of theocracy, they write Principled pluralism simply asks us to agree to respect each other s convictions not only in private life but also in public life Just as we ask for freedom to live our lives according to our convictions, we believe others with different convictions should be free to live their lives according to their convictions A charitable organization founded by Muslims to provide care to the poor should be free, if it chooses, to only hire Muslims, and I shouldn t expect to sue on the basis of discrimination when I am not hired to lead its work An environmental organization should be free to require employees to share its core mission, while declining to hire those who believe climate change is a hoax And an LGBT group on a college campus should be free to restrict membership to those who are open and affirming, just as a College Democrats chapter should be free to decline leadership positions, as well as membership, to those who enthusiastically support the other party.If I m going to cry foul when my and our First Amendment rights are threatened, it is my responsibility to speak up when anyone else s rights are under threat as well.Despite these commonsense assertions, some limits do exist as they should on the religious freedom of organizations the authors identify three crucial ones First, a faith based organization cannot claim religious protection for acts of violence, or for planning or encouraging such acts Second, protections do not include the activities and beliefs of organizations, like the Ku Klux Klan, that are rooted in blind prejudice and demonstrate a clear intent to repress others Finally, to be protected, a faith based organization s religiously based beliefs and practices must be well grounded and sincerely held.The authors anticipate and address a number of objections to their proposal including questions about protections for nonprofits that receive federal funding but for the sake of brevity I won t rehash all of them here Instead, I d encourage you to read and consider their arguments for yourself This isn t a perfect book it s needlessly repetitive in places , but it s the best one I ve found on the topic, and I commend it to believers and skeptics alike.Clearly, we must find a way to uphold nondiscrimination laws without wiping away the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment On that point, when we find allies in unexpected places as we undoubtedly will we d do well to lock arms every chance we can get This is not the petty concern of a few religious nuts Rather, it s about protecting the rights of our neighbors and of future generations to enjoy a life free from religious and political coercion As Monsma and Carlson Thies remind us, our concern isn t narrowly self serving what is at stake is the very possibility of serving the common good.


  4. says:

    An Argument for Equality of Faith Based Social Groups and Service AgenciesThese two authors review the social and legal attitudes and rulings in recent years to compare student organizations on university campuses and non profit service agencies to contrast the treatment of religious and non religious, which has resulted in a growing discrimination against organizations with a faith based mission or foundation.They present campus and court decisions that have treated faith based organizations in a much repressive and restrictive pattern than non faith based The discussion and analyses are scholarly and logical, and very insightful about the two different standards of judgement used on a growing basis.Faith based organizations on campus, for instance, have been required to accept anyone as officers and leaders, whether or not they support their stated basis of organization Applied to political campus clubs, this would be equivalent to requiring a Republican club to accept a Democrat as member and president or group leader One or have actually taken it to that absurd length, effectively destroying the very basis for clubs and organizations to exist.The present a good logical, historical and legal basis for fairness, treating faith based service agencies with the same considerations for contract services as anyone, defending their right to be considered on an equal basis, not discriminated against on the basis of their religious charters and mission statements.


  5. says:

    This book helpfully introduces the current issues in religious freedom from a religious perspective It explains why, beyond the inflammatory headlines and chyrons of Fox and CNN, religious freedom matters to religious people of all faiths , and why the constitutional right truly does face opposition today One of the biggest problems today is that freedom of religion the freedom to live one s life according to the dictates of one s conscience gets conflated with freedom of worship assembly the right to gather as a religious body But these two are not merely redundant rights, and they can t be collapsed without infringing on individuals rights i.e., without discriminating against religious people living out their faith I m still not settled on what I think about religious freedom from a theological perspective, but this book nicely covers the legal side of that discussion with real, current cases.


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