River of Life: Gaining the right to be heard

It is sad when a secular humanist tries to gag a believer in God by citing Section 116 of our Constitution. It has happened to me recently.  This is a denial of free speech, and hypocritical bullying.

We’ve learned a lot since the 1530s and the English Revolution, which placed a monarch as the “supreme head” of the state church. Monarchs manipulated the law to achieve personal agendas. In the 1890s, we formulated Section 116, which declares: “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion…”

When it comes to making laws, everyone brings their convictions and ideological viewpoint into their politics. All citizens, including Christians, should contribute to making and maintaining good laws. This is very different to Christians using the state to impose their particular religious thoughts and practices on others - an action that Section 116 prohibits.

Sometimes a faith institution may hold moral views that are not inherently religious views. Christians can lobby with such values because they are sensible for our country.

So how do we deal with separating church from state? Christian believers can draw the line between the fourth and fifth of the 10 commandments.  The first four laws pertain to man's relationship with God. No one has the right to enforce those moral laws, although Bible prophecy warns us that the state will one day be used to enforce worship in the end time.

The last six commandments have to do with human relationships. Inherently secular, these moral laws inform the Christian’s political views.  They reflect religious principles but don’t directly connect to religious practice: You might even keep these commands and not claim any religious faith. If you keep them, there is benefit both to you and to society.

Religion has often become the object of hatred in our modern world and many overlook open discrimination against it. To refuse to listen to a person's views because they have some association with a religious faith is a brand of persecution. It is violence in an embryonic stage, and warns us of what is to come.

James 1:19 counsels: “.. be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”  Let’s listen to each other respectfully, for we gain the right to be heard by first listening.

Adam Cinzio, Seventh-day Adventist Church