7/1/2011 - July 2011 SLI Newsletter
Dear Friends and Supporters,
The first concern of the Southeast Law Institute is religious freedom. The constitutional guarantees in both the federal and Alabama constitutions, as well as the constitutions of the sister states, are a respect for freedom of religion. This includes not only what a person believes, but more importantly, how he puts his belief into action. It is not a dichotomy to say that belief is protected but action is not. There have been legal trends and positions by some legal commentators that belief must be respected, but the Constitution does not always respect actions. We basically disagree with that premise.
If we cannot carry our beliefs outside the four walls of our churches, then what good is our constitutional protection for those beliefs? If we cannot live out our beliefs in our daily lives, including engaging in ministry opportunities of various sorts in the public square, then of what real value is it to us? For Christians, we believe it is our obligation to promote the Gospel so that all men will have an opportunity to respond. At the same time, both Christianity and our constitutional provisions respect the right of others to believe in whatever way they feel led. Some actions have been declared unprotected, such as, polygamy, use of controlled substances or physical harm. Religions that promote violation of other constitutional rights or which promote theocracy are not valid under our form of government.
Our Educational Update this month is an initial response to what could be a significant legal problem for religious freedom in Alabama. It deals with the new immigration law. Many disagree with the law because they disagree with the state’s right to protect itself, when the federal government has failed to do so. We do not have a quarrel with the law, except that it may unconstitutionally burden religious ministry activities. Churches do not need to be in the uncertain position of how to minister to the hearts, souls and bodies of needy persons.
We write this month’s Educational Update to identify a potential problem and to invite response from persons who have an interest and from leaders who have a concern. We know those concerns exist and we suggest that a forum be created to address those concerns. If you are one with concerns, or if you know of those who have concerns, please contact us.
Thank you for your continuing support of our efforts. Please be in prayer for what we are suggesting this month. Thank you for your financial support and we request that you remember us during these summer months.
Yours very truly,
A. Eric Johnston
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